Wednesday 18 September 2019

Tech review: Dell Latitude 7400

Price: €1,799

Dell Latitude 7400
Dell Latitude 7400
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Dell's new Latitude 7400 two-in-one touchscreen laptop is one of the better hybrid work laptops you can buy right now.

I've had it for a few weeks and it has two highlights: its battery life and its 14-inch 'wide' touchscreen.

I never got less than 10 full hours' use, no matter what I used it for. It usually lasted almost two full days of use (between 12 and 15 hours between home and work, as I also use a desktop when in the office).

The slightly shorter but wider (it's about the same height as a 12-inch model, while being almost as wide as a 15-inch laptop) display brings two size advantages and one operational benefit.

The first is portability. Because its overall form factor makes it narrower than most other laptops, it fits more easily into some kinds of bags.

It's also a more natural screen to watch videos on. Most movies - and the majority of new TV shows - are now made in a wider screen format than 15 to 20 years ago.

And because this is a two-in-one model, you can flip the screen over and stand the entire unit up as a makeshift touchscreen display.

This is useful in a few scenarios, from on-the-hoof demonstrations with work colleagues to aforementioned video consumption in tight spots, such as the food tray on a Ryanair flight.

As for this screen's quality, the model I tested had a bright, full HD 1920 x 1080 display. The keyboard feels good too. In an era when keyboards are contentious - just look at the controversy around Apple's 'Butterfly' keyboards in the past three years - this one has just the right amount of space between keys and moderate 'clickiness' for fast, tactile, unimpeded typing.

It has two USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt USB-C ports (both of which can either power the unit or power something else from the unit), an HDMI port and a MicroSD slot.

Oh, and there's also a headphone port. (Thank you, Dell.)

Under the hood is enough muscle to power anything a typical business user will need over the next three to four years.

The engine on the base model I was testing consisted of an eighth generation Intel Core i5 chip and 8GB of Ram, easily enough for the web, video, photo-editing and writing activities I threw at it.

The storage on the model was 256GB, which is adequate for the kind of purpose you'll use a laptop like this for.

If I needed something more pointedly focused on video or photo-editing, I would definitely need more storage space.

Another nice feature is the fingerprint reader on the power button. Why can't all laptops come with this security technology? Almost all phones now do, no matter how cheap.

In terms of portability, the Latitude 7400 comes in just shy of 1.4kg. That's a middle-of-the-road weight.

For this kind of money, you'll definitely get lighter models, even largely including the same specifications.

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