Dell Latitude XT  (Source: Dell)

Lenovo X61 Tablet

ThinkPad X61 Tablet configured on Lenovo's website
Dell says "no fair" when it comes to mocking the Latitude XT's base price

When Dell launched its Latitude XT Tablet PC last week, the announcement was far overshadowed by the device's price tag: $2,499.

The web let out a collective gasp and more than few eyes rolled at the fact that $2,499 was just the base price of the device and not a fully decked out system. Direct2Dell's posting on the new Latitude XT garnered 120 comments -- most of them were of people laughing at the price tag and Dell's audacity to price the device so high.

Dell heard all of the complaints and posted a new entry on the Direct2Dell blog site to tackle the issue head on. Glenn Keels, Dell's Senior Manager for the Commercial Products Team, made light of the Latitude XT's mockery around the web and jokingly referred to Crunchgear's "Dell tablet is officially announced, officially expensive" news posting on the Tablet PC.

Keels, however, quickly got down to business and defended the Capacitive Touch-capable Latitude XT.

"So here's what I have to say on the issue. Probably the most important thing to note about tablet PCs is that we are talking about cutting-edge technology here," said Keels. "If we just released the exact same technology as our competitors, we would be missing opportunities to drive this market to the next level - and this is an opportunity we did not want to miss. The result is that our product does carry a slight premium to our competition (emphasis on the word 'slight')."

Keels then posted a quick comparison table comparing the Latitude XT to the HP 2710p and Lenovo X61t. The table shows where the Latitude XT shines over its competition: higher screen brightness, ATI graphics adapter, slight thinner dimensions and slightly lighter weight. The table, however, leaves out the processor, memory, HDD and choice of operating system among the systems.

Keels went on to say, "I found was that when you adjust for non-standard features such as Dell's standard 3 year standard warranty, the overall price delta was between 8-13%."

$2,499 gets you a Latitude XT with a 1.06GHz Core 2 Solo ULV U2100 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 40GB 4200 RPM HDD, a 4-cell battery and 3-year on-site warranty.

Going to Lenovo's website, the X61 Tablet's base price is $1,518. That price gets you a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo L7500 LV processor, 1GB of RAM, 80GB 5400 RPM HDD, a 4-cell battery and Windows Vista Business. Springing for a MultiView + MultiTouch monitor, Bluetooth, 802.11n and a 3-year on-site warranty brought the price to $1,848.75 -- so much for the 8-13% price difference between the systems.

Keels counters though with this tidbit; "Like I mentioned before, capacitive touch is key. While both Dell and Lenovo offer touch capabilities, it's all about the technology. Dell outperforms Lenovo in customer preference testing, response times and outshines the X61t with our responsive digitizer providing a more accurate experience with fewer false touches and greater durability."

Only time will tell how consumers respond to Dell's Latitude XT in comparison to its competitors.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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Dell Announces $2,499 Latitude XT Tablet PC
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