Dell introduces the Latitude 13, a semi-rugged laptop for education

The education space is a battle arena for business notebooks that want to prove they are durable enough to serve use by hundreds of kids and cheap enough to fit into the local school budget. While Dell and Lenovo are both shooting for first place, Dell still has the advantage of having more government contracts already signed off. To improve their existing lineup of machines, the company has announced the new “classroom-ready” Latitude 13 laptop.

Dell quotes the machine as an “education series laptop that is built to meet the needs of any student computing program”, which is quite a high statement considering many high school students are already playing around with Photoshop and AutoCAD.

So what has dell done to ensure the laptop is truly “classroom-ready”? They began by surrounding both the LCD and base unit in a rubberized trim and created a “sealed” keyboard and touchpad to prevent liquid from entering the machine. Because I briefly used to work for a local school district in their IT department, I can vouch that these features are an excellent addition that should attract the attention of any school network administrator.

In addition to the table drops and chocolate milk spills that the unit can withstand, the unit also includes Corning Gorilla Glass’s latest NBT Glass; this should prevent some of the screens breaking issues that arise when students smash down the lids of their work machines.

The units also include the “network activity light” that we first saw on Dell’s Latitude Netbooks back in the day. The light included on the back of the screen can light up when students begin to access the internet, instead of paying attention to their lectures.

Dell has not yet released any words on technical specifications, but the unit will start at $539 and non-touch models of the unit will be available in red, blue and black – touch models will only be available in black.

How have laptops evolved since you used them in school?

Source: Microsoft

  • Great!
  • Dell is the best pc.
  • What?
  • VAIO :'(
  • At first I do love VAIO but looking at it's price and spec it doesn't worth it compared to any other manufacturers :/
  • Vaio is poort battery life
  • To answer the question at the end of your article, we had the Mac Plus in our computer lab. I enjoyed being able to type documents for homework instead of hand writing them, and playing "C in C" on the network if I finished early.
  • To stress test the network we used to play Doom. What could be better? ;)
  • Forget classrooms, I'm gonna get one to give to one of our auto shop techs....
  • The last question in the article says, "HOW HAVE LAPTOPS EVOLVED SINCE YOU'VE USED THEM IN SCHOOL? Holy cow. What's the average age of folks here on WPCentral? I'm feeling a little old! WE DIDN'T USE LAPTOPS IN SCHOOL! I think that comprehensive survey you WPCentral guys put out not too long ago asked some demographic info. Has it been aggregated? Curious what the average age is here. I'm no old fogie but, the internet hadn't even hit its stride when I graduated high school. Now you youngins' no smart comments. Respect your elders now. Lol :-)
  • Totally agree!
  • We had a single TRS-80. That would make me about 50.
  • I got my first mobile and pc when i got in college!And now school kids have the same!
  • Laptop in high school? I don't think so.
    My family had a PC in the late 80s, and I remember playing the first version of Oregon Trail in elementary school.
    It wasn't until early high school in '95 when the internet hit our library. I remember the first thing we all learned was how to delete browser history. There were no adult filters on those PCs! We didn't really do much else with it.
    Times have changed. Well, maybe not that much.
  • I'm a school IT admin, we've used various models from HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, Samsung and Dell - it doesn't matter, most students don't care for machines they don't pay for themselves and manage to find the weak spots in any so-called ruggedised design. Students also dont like the look of these things, we've actually found they take better care of machines that look 'cooler' such as the Lenovo t430u ultrabook...
  • Sad, all schools around here are Mac and Google