I NEEDED A laptop to effectively manage three fourth year students and after a two year wait, I finally got a Dell Latitude 5480 that should serve me well for my final 900 days as a third level lecturer. This is the first machine I've used without having admin rights and that's a bit awkward. Here are a few first impressions.
Better integration with Class OneNote.
Although I still have a corrupt recycle bin in my most active OneNote collection, the Latitude has more space and that means I get can sync student work faster. My OneNote collections take up nearly four gigabytes of space on the laptop. They use that much space on my Android phone as well.
Bluetooth works with many more items.
I'm delighted to know my Logitech mouse is detected by both the Latitude and by the Surface Pro 2 in the same room. And the Latitude allows my Jabra Bluetooth headset to work but with exceptionally low microphone levels.
USB Charging and Android File Management is as slow as ever.
Although I will continue to move files back and forth via the Android phone's micro SD card and the Latitude's SD card adapter slot, I can see and move files from the handset but Windows File Explorer takes ages to read the file structure on the connected Android phone. However, it's handy knowing I have two USB ports for charging small devices.
Skype for business works seamlessly.
The Latitude connects directly to Skype and after two Skype calls, I'm happy knowing the laptop can manage a coherent call without any connected mic or headset. I expect the on-board Skype recording to work well too because it's integrated to the Windows 10 Enterprise edition on the laptop.
Creative's USB Soundcard works well.
Windows 10 has Creative's drivers installed and that means a small pocket-sized USB device connects the Latitude to my 3.5 mm headsets and my 3.5 mm condenser microphones. This dramatically improves the sound recording capability of the laptop.
Missing Pen and Hello Features.
I wish I had earned rights to use a touchscreen laptop because I use on-screen pen and touch commands but I understand the economy of purpose. Getting a touchscreen laptop for my reduces opportunities for other colleagues to upgrade their workstations or to get laptops. I'm used to getting a new machine every four years and missed the last four year cycle in my current position. This current laptop replaces one purchased by the Department of Education in 2010. That Dell laptop lasted almost four years before overheating damaged its video driver firmware. I reckon I can easily extend the life of the Latitude 5480 beyond the number of days remaining in my teaching career. Before I return it to the asset manager, I'd like to engage Windows Hello as a sign-in option. That service works well and it is part of the standard log-on service inside Windows 10.
Now Stress Testing 34 Windows Applications
Because I was not granted Admin rights to the Latitude, hard-working tech services staffers will use at least a half of a day downloading and installing 34 different Windows programs and W10 applications I use on a weekly basis. I plan to create another blog post outlining what I'm using, hoping some regular readers offer suggestions that improve my workflow. When I become more efficient, I pass along the techniques to the dedicated fourth year creatives who I supervise in project work. After all, the laptop is a force extender and I'm keenly aware of getting the highest degree of productivity from every keyboard session.
Previously on InsideView.ie:
"Dell Laptop Power," October 10, 2011.
"Serious Constraints with iPad Only Books", August 23, 2011. Acknowledges the longest thread in Ireland on Google Plus.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business in the Limerick Institute of Technology. The photo in this blog post was the first snap taken of the Dell Latitude 5480 on its opening day in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland.]