Newfangled hybrids and tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 may make up the next wave of business productivity tools, but this does not spell the end of the business laptop.
A well-made one, such as the Dell Latitude E7450 still holds some advantages.
Firstly, this Dell business ultrabook is built to survive extreme conditions. It has passed the military standard 810G test that involves extreme variations in temperatures and humidity. Its magnesium alloy body feels sturdy while the carbon-fibre lid is stiff with little flex. The keyboard, too, will be fine if you accidentally spill water on it.
Battery life is outstanding at around 9hr 23min. More importantly, the battery is removable, which means you can pack a spare on a long trip.
With support for 4G LTE, this laptop can stay connected nearly everywhere. It also supports the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology. And if the Wi-Fi fails, the laptop can fall back on its Ethernet port.
Most of this laptop's ports are located at the rear, so you may fumble in the beginning while trying to connect your peripherals. The good news is that this laptop works with Dell's existing docking station, so current owners can reuse their docks.
Users may also appreciate the presence of the pointing stick nestled in the middle of the keyboard. This input tool is a mainstay of many business laptops with its own legion of loyal users.
The keyboard has good key travel and comes with a backlight. The touchpad is relatively large for a business laptop and responsive to multitouch gestures.
The Dell has a 14-inch anti-glare screen. It is not a touchscreen, despite running the touch-friendly Windows 10. Viewing angles are mediocre while the 1,366 x 768-pixel screen resolution is merely passable for its size. In other words, this display, like many business laptops, is not great for entertainment or gaming. If you are willing to pay, Dell offers a number of upgrade options, including up to a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel touchscreen.
With a speedy Samsung solid- state drive, this laptop is quick at booting up and shutting down. But its storage capacity is limited at 128GB, so you probably need an external storage drive.
It could also do with more memory than the paltry 4GB installed.
The laptop scored 2,399 in the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, slightly lower than Lenovo's premium X1 Carbon business ultrabook's 2,408.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5-5300U (2.3GHz)
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 5500
SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,366 x 768 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, 3 x USB 3.0, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, audio jack
BATTERY: 54 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
BATTERY LIFE: 5/5
Verdict: A capable and sturdy business laptop with outstanding battery life.
This article was first published on October 21, 2015.
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