Dell's Latitude CS fits somewhere between a notebook and a subnotebook

Dell's Latitude CS fits somewhere between a notebook and a subnotebook

By Michael Cheek

GCN Staff

Think of the Latitude CS as a bridge between Dell Computer Corp.'s full-featured Latitude CPx and the newly introduced Latitude LS subnotebook.

Dell took the S from slender and the C from compatibility with the CPx.

But bridging the gap isn't really necessary, and the CS with a 400-MHz Pentium II processor doesn't excel.

Like the LS, the CS notebook has only a hard drive'no bays for a CD-ROM or floppy drive.

The Latitude CS is light in weight but short on functions to make it stand out. It lacks an integrated comm device, for example.

A cable can attach the same bay devices as those that fit the CPx.

At 4 pounds, 6 ounces, the CS weighs about 2 pounds less than the CPx and almost a pound more than the LS.

On display

Box Score ''''''''''

Latitude CS

Half notebook, half subnotebook

Dell Computer Corp.; Austin, Texas;

tel. 800-694-3355

Price: $2,724 GSA

+ Weighs a little more than 4 pounds

' Mediocre features

Features and ConfigurationB
Benchmark PerformanceA-
ZD's Business Windstone 9916.6
About 66 percent better than a desktop 233-MHz Pentium MMX

The overall grade comprises scores for three factors: usability (60 percent), features and configuration (20 percent), and performance (20 percent). The lab used ZD's Winstone 99 Version 1.1. The baseline for 10.0 Winstone units is a desktop 233-MHz Pentium MMX. For benchmark information, go to

The CS' 13.3-inch display falls in between the 14.1-inch display of the CPx and the LS' 12.1-inch display.

Like the LS case, the magnesium-alloy CS case is a bit more rugged than that of the CPx.

The CS' graphics accelerator has 4M of memory; the CPx has 8M and the LS 2.5M.

The CS touchpad's two buttons are tucked into an impression. They ought to be elevated about two millimeters for easier clicking.

Can't talk

The Latitude CS lacks any integrated communications device. Although it uses the same bay devices as its cousin, it does not share a common battery with either of the other Latitudes.

On the GCN Lab's maximum-drain test, the CS survived about 90 minutes'a short life, but about 8.5 minutes per battery ounce.

That's pretty good, although to keep working on a cross-country flight you'd probably have to carry two more batteries.

It's good to see Dell start branching out and offer different versions of the Latitude. The CS, however, lacks any clear advantage over the other two models.

If I were looking for thin and light in a unit, I would go with the LS'which I'll review soon'but for full functionality, I would take the CPx.

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