Reviews: PC

This Dell convertible means business

The Dell Latitude 5289 comes bundled with the Active Pen, which is a battery-powered stylus with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The Dell Latitude 5289 comes bundled with the Active Pen, which is a battery-powered stylus with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.PHOTO: DELL

The Dell Latitude 5289 is a 2-in-1 business convertible that moonlights as a tablet when you need to scribble something with its bundled stylus.

Most of the time, you'd probably be using the Latitude in its clamshell laptop mode. This is because this 12.5-inch device is, at around 1.3kg, hefty for a slate.

The bundled Active Pen is a battery-powered stylus with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. It is decent enough for taking notes, once you get used to the slight lag between your pen strokes and the resulting scrawl appearing on the screen. Best of all, the pen attaches securely to the left side of the Latitude via magnets.

I like its professional black exterior with a plain Dell logo on the lid. The entire device is coated with a soft-touch material that seems resistant to fingerprints and other smudges. It feels solid when held in the hand. The lid is rigid and the hinges feel sturdy.

The backlit keyboard is slightly recessed. It feels snappy to type on, and key travel is good.

The keys themselves seem slightly smaller than those of a standard laptop keyboard.

The touchpad is at the smaller end of the scale, with barely enough space for two-fingered scrolling. There is a hint of friction while gliding my fingers on it.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $2,299

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5-7200U (2.5GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 620

    RAM: 8GB DDR3

    SCREEN SIZE: 12.5 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, microSD card slot, audio jack

    BATTERY: 45 watt-hour

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

With an in-plane switching (IPS) panel, the touchscreen offers excellent viewing angles. However, its colours are not as vibrant as they could be, while the screen could also be brighter.

My review set is a mid-range model without any optional security features. These add-ons include a fingerprint reader, Smart Card reader and an infrared Windows Hello facial-recognition camera. You can also configure the Latitude with a micro-SIM card tray for Internet connectivity on the go.

As expected of a business machine, the Latitude comes with an impressive complement of ports. It has USB Type-C and the standard USB Type-A ports, as well as HDMI for display output and a microSD slot. These ports are evenly distributed on both sides of the device. The only omission is probably the Ethernet LAN port.

The Latitude is charged via one of its two USB Type-C ports. These ports can also output the display to a compatible external monitor.

When streaming a video, the bottom of the Latitude becomes warm. I would not recommend placing it on your lap for prolonged periods.

It scored 3,079 in PCMark 10, the latest version of the benchmarking suite that puts the computer through a variety of workloads ranging from Web browsing to video conferencing.

This result is understandably lower than scores of around 3,400 achieved by ultrabooks like the LG Gram, which sports an Intel Core i7 processor, compared with the Latitude's lower-tier Core i5 chip.

Battery life is good - the Latitude clocked 6hr 30min in our video-loop battery test. This is slightly longer than Dell's consumer XPS 2-in-1 convertible (6hr 12min).

• Verdict: A good business laptop with the bonus of converting into a tablet with a stylus.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'This Dell convertible means business'. Print Edition | Subscribe