We don't check many laptops aimed at commercial buyers, but this one from Dell is special. We got to know the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 at CES this year, where it was the first PC in the world to receive Intel's context sensing technology. This means that sensors in the screen frame can detect when you are not on the laptop or in front of it, so that it locks itself or wakes up automatically. It's a cool trick that worked well when we tried it out at CES.
As the name suggests, it is a convertible that can be used as a tablet. It also has an optional 4G SIM slot for LTE connectivity and numerous enterprise-level functions for security and remote management thanks to the vPro-capable Intel CPU. All in all, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 looks like a good package and it's time to see how it works.
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 design
The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a first-class business notebook that is immediately noticeable after unpacking. It does not have a very large footprint and is therefore easy to transport. The weight of approximately 1.36 kg means that it is not too heavy either. Most of the case and cover are made of machined aluminum, which feels very high quality and well assembled. The edges and corners are also rounded so that it is not uncomfortable in the hand.
Dell has developed a drop hinge in which the bottom of the display stays close to the surface of the lower half and part of the lower bezel remains hidden. Together with the narrow bezels on the other three sides, this looks like a larger screen. The 14-inch full HD display (1920 x 1080) has an aspect ratio of 16: 9 and a maximum brightness of 300nits. It is also touch-enabled as it is a convertible notebook and there is Gorilla Glass 5 to protect it from scratches. The hinge allows the display to be turned all the way back so that this laptop can be used as a tablet. There is also support for Dell's Active Pen, which is an Rs. Optional accessories: 6,500 (plus VAT).
The lid provides excellent reinforcement for the display with little to no flex and absolutely no pixel deformation, even when pressure is applied. The base of the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is quite narrow and houses all the connections. You get two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, one on each side of the laptop. two Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left that allow the laptop to be charged; a full-size HDMI 1.4 connector; a microSD card slot; a micro-SIM compartment for LTE connectivity; a Noble Wedge Lock slot; Smart card reader; and a headphone / microphone combo port. We would have preferred a full-size SD card slot instead of a microSD slot. There is also no Ethernet connection, which is worth mentioning for a commercial laptop.
The keyboard area is slightly depressed so that the keys are at the same height as the palm rest area. This prevents the buttons from making much contact with other surfaces when using the laptop in tent or tablet mode. The keys themselves are a bit smaller than usual, which takes some getting used to. However, the trip is good and they are not loud even when typing hard. The on / off switch is located separately on the right and in our test device a fingerprint sensor was integrated, which is optionally available. The glass trackpad is large and works very well thanks to Microsoft's Precision drivers.
The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 has cutouts for air circulation and two separate cutouts for the stereo speakers. The base is held together by standard Philips screws on the periphery, so access to the inner parts should not be too difficult.
Our test device was delivered with a 65 W USB Type-C charging stone. The adapter is quite compact, so carrying it around is not a big problem.
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 specs and software
Because it is a commercial laptop, an IT manager or a single buyer usually needs to send Dell the exact configuration they need to get a price quote. However, Dell does sell some predefined configurations of the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 as retail units on its website, and buyers can customize them to some extent or just buy them as they are. Unfortunately, LTE connectivity isn't even available as an option for the pre-configured units, so you'll need a special order if you need the SIM slot.
The configuration sent in by Dell for review includes an Intel Core i7-8665U quad-core CPU based on the 8th generation Whiskey Lake architecture. This includes Intel's vPro enhancements that enable IT administrators to provide the tools needed to perform remote push updates, diagnostics, and security management. This CPU is a 15 W part with a base clock of 1.9 GHz and a maximum turbo frequency of 4.8 GHz. Our unit was configured with 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM soldered on; integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620; and a 256 GB M.2 PCIe SSD. There is also dual-band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5 and a Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE modem.
Our version of the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 came with Microsoft Windows 10 Pro and Microsoft Office Professional 2019. Again, the included software is configurable, so you don't have to choose an office suite or add a McAfee Small Business Security subscription based on your business needs. You also get a three-year on-site warranty as part of the package, or you can opt for a longer-term, next-business-day warranty by paying more.
The laptop also comes with a number of Dell utilities like Power Manager, Support Assist, and Command Center that we've seen on some other laptops. Express registration is a new tool. As soon as you have set up face recognition for Windows Hello in the Settings menu, you can simply press a toggle switch to activate express registration. You can set a timer (up to 3 minutes), after which the laptop should be locked. The laptop will wake up when it detects the presence of people in front of it, but will only be unlocked with your face. It works pretty seamlessly and doesn't require manual intervention, which adds a little convenience.
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 performance and battery life
The Core i7 version of the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 that we tested went very well. The start times were quick thanks to the fast SSD. The fingerprint sensor and face recognition worked very well. and Windows in general ran smoothly. We also didn't find the laptop too warm when we did basic tasks. The touch response of the screen was also good, although this device is not particularly comfortable to use as a tablet.
You can access some pen-friendly apps in the Windows Ink workspace. More apps can be downloaded from the Windows Store. Dell sent us the optional pen to try it out. It is powered by a single AAAA battery and has a flattened side that snaps into place on both sides of the laptop using magnets. The pressure sensitive tip is ideal for sketching and the latency is very low, so you feel like you are using a real pen.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is great for productivity. The keyboard is very convenient for simultaneous typing over long distances as soon as you get used to the somewhat smaller keys. There are two levels of backlighting. The glass trackpad is very suitable for using the mouse pointer and gestures. The brightness of the display is more than sufficient and the colors are vivid and lively.
In addition to work, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 also does a good job playing media. High-definition videos looked good, the pictures seemed to be sharp and the colors were mostly right. There is WavesAudio Pro software for tone tuning. The stereo speakers get really loud and sound fine for personal listening.
In our experience, cellular connectivity worked very well. We inserted an Airtel 4G SIM card that Windows automatically recognized and configured. You can manage the connection with a small "cellular" toggle switch in the Windows notification area. Regarding data protection functions, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 does not have a shutter that physically covers the webcam or the SafeScreen data protection function for the display, which considerably limits the viewing angle. Some other models from Dell offer these features, and Dell has informed Gadgets 360 that they should be added as an option to the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 in the near future.
Speaking of webcam: The camera also produces high quality videos indoors. It is Skype for Business certified and is accompanied by two microphones for better audio quality.
We ran a number of benchmarks on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 that delivered good results. Starting with CPU testing, Cinebench R20 delivered single and multi-core scores of 419 and 1,336, respectively, while the POVRay benchmark took 3 minutes and 29 seconds to render a raytrace scene. In benchmarks that test the system as a whole, we achieved 3,889 points in PCMark 10 and 5,802 points in the 3DMark Night Raid test for integrated graphics. Practical tests also showed promising results. It took about 4 minutes and 4 seconds to finish compressing a 3.2 GB folder with different files. 1 minute, 44 seconds to encode a 1080p AVI file in 720p H.265; and 14 minutes, 22 seconds to finish the BMW test render in Blender.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 offers more than a day's battery life. However, this claim applies to the Core i5 version with a 78 Wh battery, as highlighted by Dell itself. All preconfigured models in India are shipped with 52WHr batteries. Our test device with its Core i7 processor did not come close to Dell's claim. With activated Wi-Fi, a brightness setting of 50 percent with lower backlighting of the keyboard and the Windows energy saving mode "Better battery", we were able to achieve an almost uninterrupted service life of 10 to 11 hours. This usually involved working in Chrome and watching videos on YouTube.
If you don't use sophisticated apps, you should be able to survive a whole workday or even a long flight without having to charge this laptop. When using cell phone connections for similar work, we noticed a slight reduction in battery life. The Battery Eater Pro benchmark ran for 2 hours and 8 minutes, which is slightly less than expected.
Noteworthy here is the Dell Power Manager utility, which offers some useful functions for charging the battery. In addition to being able to set different energy profiles, there is a function called "Peak Shift", with which you can set time windows in which the laptop is charged, the battery or simply the electricity from the mains is used without charging the battery. This can be set for each day of the week depending on your work schedule.
The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 isn't cheap. At the time of this review, prices start at around Rs. 1.35,000 (with taxes) for the Core i5 model and increase to approximately Rs. 1.63,000 for the preconfigured top-end model. If you order one of these products according to customer requirements, the price depends on the configuration and services you choose.
Dell tells us that the model we received should cost around Rs. 1.45,000 (plus GST), but this exact configuration with the 4G SIM slot is not one of the preconfigured models available for sale on the Dell website. You must place an order, after which you will receive an offer for the final price. The number of units ordered can also affect the final price.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a well-built notebook that looks and feels very high quality. It offers good battery life, even with a Core i7 CPU. It has a vivid display and a very comfortable keyboard, and it performs well overall. The proximity detection function is pretty cool too.
There are a few things we would have liked to do differently. A full-size SD card slot instead of a microSD slot would have been more useful, and a volume rocker and even an on / off switch on the side would have made for a more comfortable tablet experience. The HP Specter x360 13 (review) we recently tested had similar flaws, but offered data protection functions for the webcam and the display, which are not yet available with the Latitude 7400 2-in-1.