I'm not using the form since it's not really needed for my question:
I will replace my D430 with something similar, that is:
Displayport or dual-link DVI on the docking station
No optical drive
A high-res (1600*900?) IPS display would be great as well but I guess it's hard to combine with my other wishes.
I know about the Lenovo X-series, Dell Latitude and the HP Elitebook. Is it any other series from other manufacturers that I should have a look at. We obviously have the Vaio Z-series bringing both power and a low weight but they lack a pointing stick.
I guess I should do a follow-up to my previous question to let you know how it went.
At the end I bought a Latitude E6410 (i5, 1440x900, NVS 3100m, 128 GB SSD + 250 GB HDD) which spend most of its time in its docking station. The E6420 was available back then but I still settled for an E6410 because of the substantial saving, the smaller width (16:10 vs 16:9 format), lower weight and Displayport onboard. In many ways I actually found the E6420 a worse laptop than its predecessor.
But I also picked up a used E4200 in great condition for a great price as my on-the-go companion. Core 2 Duo 1.6 GHz, 5 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD and 6-cell battery for only $200. And still under next-business-day warranty for another 18 months when I bought it last autumn. That's a genuine steal. And it's also using the same docking connector as the E6410 which is a major advantage to me.
This is a few quick thoughts concerning the E4200.
It may not be as thin as most ultrabooks, but with a thickness of 22-25 mm, same size as an A4 sheet of paper and a weight of only 1.2 kg it's very portable. It also doesn't skimp on connectors like most ultrabooks.
From a quality point of view it does come up short against say a Thinkpad X60 or X201, and I do miss the trackpoint even if I'm slowly getting used to the touchpad. Of course, those machines are both thicker and heavier than the E4200.
The screen is utter crap. It's bright for sure, but the viewing angles are horrible, and even if viewing it spot on it's fairly muted. It is matte although which is very nice. The screen works fine for me although since I always use an external screen if doing any kind of colour-critical job.
But this brings us to our second issue, it doesn't support a 2560x1600 resolution screen (Dell 30", Cinema Display 30" etc), max resolution is 1920x1200. And it's not a limitation of the chipset (Intel GMA), it's Dell which for one reason or another have gimped it.
The keyboard is fine, better than 90 percent of what can be found on consumer laptops at least. But still not as good as any Thinkpad. I like the layout although, even if it's missing the context key (the one to the left of the space key).
Considering the age I guess the battery life was ok, roughly 5 hours if mostly idle and with low brightness, i.e. working in Word etc. Dropped fairly quickly if doing anything cpu-intensive though. But same as with the external monitor, if doing anything cpu-intensive I would most likely be plugged in anyway.
It's very nice with integrated broadband, but truth to be told it wasn't working very well. The highest connection speed I got was 384 kbit/s when my tablet using the same cellular network could hit 6-7 Mbit/second and the integrated 3G modem should be able to hit 7.2 Mbit/s. The connection wasn't very stable either. As mentioned, integrated 3G is very nice, but it didn't work very well with E4200 and my provider. As always, YMMV.
=update= tried another subscription but same operator today and was able to hit ~1Mbit up/down. Slow slower than what to expect considering I have the 3G tower *literally* 10 meter away.
I wish I had either a backlit keyboard or a "thinklight", since often using it in odd places where lightning can be a problem.
Unfortunately the battery went from working fine to completely dead a few days ago. Most likely a broken cell. Dell was asking ~$200 for a new one which IMHO is highway robbery. I ordered a new one from www.delllaptopbattery.co.uk for less than half the price Dell was asking, hoping for the best. They can be found for even less if ordering from China but I couldn't wait a month for the battery to show up.
For the price I paid I'm happy with the laptop, but had I not decided to aim for a common docking connector I think it would have been a better idea to spend the extra money on a Thinkpad X-series. But I must say I'm very impressed with how far a low voltage Core 2 Duo running at only 1.6 GHz can take us. It can't hold a stick against the i5 in the E6410 but it's more than enough for most things when paired with a fair amount of RAM and a SSD.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask.
Last edited by Hakro807; 30th April 2013 at 11:33 AM.