The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown forced students to quickly shift from in-school classes to online learning. But to take advantage of this virtual form of teaching, students need reliable and accessible Wi-Fi access at home, and that’s not necessarily the case for many.
SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)
At CES 2021 on Tuesday, Dell announced two new portable computers targeted toward students and others who may lack the necessary means for fast or dependable Internet access at home.
The new Latitude 3210 notebook comes with Intel Wi-Fi 6, the latest flavor of wireless connectivity, while the new Chromebook 3100 is Dell’s first Chromebook for education to offer LTE for owners who have poor, limited, or no Wi-Fi access.
The Latitude 3210 is an 11.6-inch 2-in-1 notebook that can function as a tablet. Powered by an Intel Pentium Silver or Celeron processor, the Pentium Latitude 3210 offers Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) as the fastest available Wi-Fi technology to better stream video and audio conferencing as well as educational apps.
Offering a choice of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro edition, the new Latitude supports up to 8GB of RAM for the Celeron version and up to 16GB for the Pentium flavor. For storage, buyers of the Celeron edition get a 64GB eMMC, while those who opt for the Pentium version can choose between a 128GB SSD and a 256GB SSD.
To last as long as possible, the new Latitude offers extended battery life and will charge up to 80% in about an hour with its ExpressCharge feature, Dell said. The Pentium version comes with USB-C ports for quicker charging and data transfers. The system also offers an optional “world-facing” camera, which provides dual camera support for flipped viewing and recording angles.
Though you may use it mostly at home for now, the latest Latitude is designed for on-the-go activity, Dell said. A textured design gives you a better grip as you carry it around. But should the notebook fall out of your hands, it can better withstand drops due to its rubberized edges and rounded corners. The unit can survive 48-inch drops on plywood, according to Dell’s testing. Plus, it’s more scratch resistant thanks to the Dragontrail Pro glass screen option.
As with all of Dell’s educational devices, the Latitude 3210’s keyboard is built to endure even with spills as much as 12 ounces. And with the Dell Active Pen or a pencil, students can take notes or draw diagrams from any angle.
Available for sale on January 19, the Latitude 3210 will start at $429.
To provide connectivity for those without available Wi-Fi, the 11.6-inch Dell Chromebook 3100 comes with LTE WWAN (CAT 9). As mobile carriers, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are supported in the US, while a No Carrier option is available in other countries, allowing buyers to choose their own carrier.
With its rounded corners and rubberized edges on the palm rest, the new Chromebook is built with better protection against drops, according to Dell. Plus, the keyboard is designed to be spill-resistant. To put the Chromebook 3100 through rigorous testing, Dell said it subjected it to survive 30-inch drops onto steel, tens of thousands of hinge cycles, and thousands of 4-inch micro-drops from multiple angles.
The new Chromebook promises up to 14 hours and 3 minutes of battery life and comes with two USB-C ports so you can charge your system while also connecting any supported peripheral. Powered by an Intel Dual Core Celeron processor, the unit comes with 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics and offers a choice in storage between a 16GB eMMC and a 32GB eMMC.
Dell said it will announce pricing and availability for the Chromebook 3100 in the spring of 2021.