Blog Post:  by Archie, SSV Digital Learning Leader

Archie, Digital Learning Leader. The DLLs are a group of students who are reviewing a number of portable devices at Senior School this term.

This week: The Dell Latitude E5550

As it is my duty as a digital learning leader to inform the BSN of potential changes being made to the iPad 1:1 programme and developments in prototypes for the new programme, I will be making weekly blog posts about the device that I have had the privilege to test for that week.

I will be rating this device on multiple criteria:

  • Cooling (This takes both temperature and noise into account)
  • Physical Size
  • Weight
  • Storage capacity
  • Battery life
  • Processing power

Having established a score out of ten for all categories, I will take a mean and use that as my final verdict.

Cooling

Whilst the device is remarkably silent for its processing capability, it tragically falls short of expectations when it comes to maintaining a cool temperature, with the first device failing to turn on unless it was plugged directly into a power supply due to overheating issues.

Within a few hours use, the device transforms from a pleasantly cool device to essentially a hotplate. You will feel the heat it radiates from perhaps half a metre away, and this overheating results in such heavy lag, that a simple flash animation will take minutes to load, and will run very, very slowly.

Verdict: 3/10. The heating issues bring this rating way down. Disappointing.

Physical Size

For better or for worse, this is certainly no iPad. It won’t fit comfortably between your hands, boasting a width of 378mm and a depth of 255mm. This can be a problem, as it will usually require its own bag to be transported in if it can’t fit into your backpack. This would certainly be an annoyance. There is a plus side, however. Compared to the iPad 2’s meagre 9.7 inch display with a pitiful resolution of 1024×768 pixels, the E5550 can be proud of its 15.6 inch display, with a resolution of 1920×1080.

Verdict: 6/10. A very nice display and resolution, but this is not without its very unfortunate dimensions.

Weight

It certainly isn’t light. At least compared to the iPad it isn’t. Boasting 2.4 kilogrammes of laptop, it stands at a whopping four times the weight of an iPad 2. FOUR.

Verdict: 5/10. Certainly do-able for the older years, but we do have to take into account the needs of the smaller year sevens.

Storage

This is (one of) the clear advantage(s) the E5550 has over the iPad: Storage. Offering a very workable 465GB of long term storage, it leaves the iPad in the dust with only 16GB of storage.

Verdict: 9/10. An astronomical amount of storage, considering the average file size of say, a word document.

Battery life

This is probably where the E5550 is on par with the iPad. The battery will last a modest 3-6 hours from full charge, depending on things like number of processes and screen brightness. It is by no means exceptional, but it should last a school day and some.

Verdict: 6/10. By no means great, but it is no cause for complaint either.

Processing Power

This is another strong suit for the E5550. It contains inside it an i5 processor, and with 2.3GHz of processing power and 8GB of RAM, this laptop is more than capable of processing anything you’d need to on a school day relatively quickly.

Verdict: 8/10. Very nice.

Overall Verdict: 6.2/10

Whilst it definitely has its ups and downs, I can’t quickly see this device taking over the iPad any time in the near future.