This 2-in-1 device is Dell's answer to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
It is a hybrid computer which works as a tablet or laptop. Its screen can be detached from its keyboard dock to turn it from a clamshell laptop to a tablet.
While the Surface Pro 3 probably appeals equally to consumers and business users, the Dell is built for the enterprise crowd. It carries Dell's Latitude branding for business computers and has enterprise features, such as optional LTE connectivity (unavailable on the Surface Pro 3), and management tools which should be well-received by IT administrators.
Unlike the Surface Pro 3, the Dell does not have a kickstand. But it has a keyboard dock that feels more solid and useful than the flimsy keyboard of the Surface Pro 3.
Besides having good key travel, the Dell keyboard is backlit, spillproof and has an internal battery. The dock has two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader and a mini-DisplayPort. Unfortunately, the tablet itself has no connectors aside from the audio jack and power connector.
As a tablet, the Dell Latitude (895g) is only slightly heavier than the Surface Pro 3 (800g). The increase seems reasonable as the Dell has a 13-inch screen compared with the Surface Pro 3's 12-inch display.
However, the Dell weighs twice as much as the latest 10-inch tablet running Android or iOS. Its widescreen form factor also makes it awkward to hold with one hand. Add the keyboard dock (770g) and the Dell 2-in-1 ends up heavier (1.66kg) than some ultrabooks.
As a laptop, it felt top heavy when placed on an unstable surface such as my lap. It always seemed to be on the verge of falling backwards. To compensate for this, I kept my fingers on the keyboard. But when placed on a desk, the Dell's balance is impeccable.
Like the Surface Pro 3, the Dell supports a stylus that can be used to navigate the interface and take notes. However, this is an optional feature, much like Dell's other accessories, which include a USB to Ethernet, HDMI and VGA adaptor.
The 13-inch touchscreen has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution and looks great. Viewing angles are good and the screen, though glossy, is not as reflective as might be expected.
Powering the Dell is Intel's new Core M chip. Digital Life's first encounter with this low-power chip was in the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, where it felt sluggish and unresponsive. Not so with the Dell, which could be a result of better optimisation.
The Dell has great battery stamina, due to the secondary battery in the keyboard dock. The device lasted 8hr 15min in our battery test, which is comparable with the best ultrabooks and tablets.
Battery life and enterprise features are the highlights of this hybrid computer.
Processor: Intel Core M-5Y10 (800MHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300
Screen: 13 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, Mini-DisplayPort, SD card slot, headphone jack
Battery: 30 watt-hour (tablet), 20 watt-hour (dock)
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 5/5
This article was first published on Jan 07, 2015.
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