PC

Stylish business laptop with terrific battery life

The Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series Ultrabook 7370 has inherited the InfinityEdge Display from its predecessor, the XPS 13.
The Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series Ultrabook 7370 has inherited the InfinityEdge Display from its predecessor, the XPS 13.PHOTO: DELL

Dell shook up the ultra-portable category last year by shrinking the bezel on its XPS 13 ultrabook to a sliver.

This almost bezel-free display, dubbed InfinityEdge Display, has now made its way into Dell's Latitude 13 7000 Series business laptop.

Because of the slim bezel, the Latitude's Webcam is at the lower left corner instead of above the screen. Unless you do not mind the person at the other end of a video chat staring at your chin and neck, you should adjust to the camera placement by looking downwards.

But the benefits of the slim bezel arguably trumps this minor flaw. For one thing, this design ups the "wow" factor of the excellent full-HD screen - an in-plane switching (IPS) matte display with very wide viewing angles.

It also reduces the footprint of the laptop, making it as handy as a 12-inch model.

The Latitude 13 weighs around 1.2kg, thanks to a lightweight carbon fibre chassis. Black with a soft-touch finish, the laptop has a stealthy appearance. My review set comes with a grey aluminium lid, though Dell also offers a carbon- fibre version.

The laptop is charged via one of its two Thunderbolt 3 ports. These ports support both USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2 interfaces and are physically identical to the compact and reversible USB Type-C connector.

Since devices with Type-C connectors are not widely adopted yet, Dell has also included a full-size USB Type-A port on the Latitude.

The island-style keyboard has greater key travel than those found in standard ultrabooks. It feels comparable to the keyboard found on Lenovo's ThinkPad models. But fans of the pointing stick will be disappointed, as the Latitude does not have this input device in the middle of the keyboard.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $2,399

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core m5-6Y57 (1.1GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 515

    RAM: 8GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 13.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt ports, 1 x USB 3.0, micro-HDMI, micro-SIM, microSD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 43 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The touchpad comes with two physical buttons. Although it does not appear to be certified as a Microsoft Precision Touchpad, it supports Windows 10 gestures such as swiping with three fingers to minimise existing windows and show the desktop.

While not present on my review set, a fingerprint reader is an option for the Latitude.

Dell also offers a contactless smart card reader as an option.

Insert a 4G LTE SIM card into the slot at the side of the Latitude for Internet connectivity on the go.

Performance-wise, the Latitude is not as fast as a standard ultrabook. This is because it uses a low-power Intel Core M chip that is optimised for battery stamina. While I found its performance adequate for Web browsing and editing documents, the Latitude may not be powerful enough for those working on large databases and spreadsheets.

On the other hand, the Latitude clocked an impressive 7hr 45mins at maximum brightness and volume in our video-loop test.

Vincent Chang

•Verdict: Business laptops have never looked as good as the Latitude 13. More importantly, its battery life is outstanding.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'Stylish business laptop with terrific battery life'. Print Edition | Subscribe