Dell Latitude 10 review
The Latitude 10 is Dell's first Windows 8 tablet - with the full version installed so you can run any program. It's primarily aimed at business users, but this 10.1in slate has several key features that give it a much broader appeal.
From the outside, it looks very similar to Dell's XPS 10 tablet. It's hardly the most streamlined model we've seen, but the black soft-touch rubber that extends all the way round the back and sides gives a good amount of grip and makes the tablet comfortable to hold. At 16mm, though, it's almost twice as thick as the XPS 10, and a little heavier too, at 660g. This might seem quite heavy compared to other tablets, but it's almost the same as an iPad and the extra heft makes it feel much sturdier and less likely to break than its lighter counterparts. The build quality of the chassis has also been improved since the XPS 10, as we found there was very little flex in the rear of the unit.
It's certainly one of the chunkier tablets we've tested, but the extra thickness means there's more room for ports and connections. There's a Mini HDMI video output, a full-sized USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right hand side as well as a volume rocker and Kensington lock lug on the left. An SD card reader sits on the top of the tablet next to the power button, and there's a Micro USB port for charging the device next to a docking connector on the bottom. Our review sample even had a SIM card slot hidden away underneath the battery so you can get online away from Wi-Fi; the 3G version of the tablet is a huge £631 inc VAT.
This makes the Latitude 10 much more versatile than your average tablet, but its most impressive feature is its outstanding battery life. There are two types of battery available for the Latitude 10 and both can be swapped in and out of the tablet's back. The standard two-cell battery lasted 9 hours and 3 minutes in our laptop light use test, which simulates web browsing with the screen set to half brightness. This puts it on a par with some of the best laptops. In our video playback test, we saw an above-average 8 hours and 59 minutes.
With the optional four-cell battery (an extra £28 inc VAT), we saw a huge 18 hours and 34 minutes from the light web browsing test, and an amazing 19 hours and 7 minutes when playing back video. The four-cell battery protrudes slightly from the rear of the tablet, but it seems churlish to complain when it promises all day battery life.
Unfortunately, the Latitude 10 suffers when it comes to performance. It's powered by a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor and has 2GB of RAM. This is fast enough to run the Windows 8 operating system smoothly, but its ability to tackle more demanding tasks pales in comparison to other Windows 8 tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro. It scored just 10 overall in our Windows multimedia benchmarks, which is one of the slowest scores we've seen and four times slower than the Surface Pro. Video playback almost stopped when we were encoding a video at the same time, and even converting images from one format to another was a struggle.
Graphics are provided by the processor's integrated Intel graphics. We weren't surprised when it failed our laptop Dirt Showdown test. You should still be able to play 2D Flash games from the Windows 8 Store, though, as we were able to run games like Jetpack Joyride and Radiant Defense without any trouble or slowdown in frame rate.
CAMERAS AND DISPLAY
On the rear of the tablet is an 8-megapixel camera. Initially, we were reasonably pleased with the quality of our outdoor photos as they had plenty of detail and reasonably accurate colours, but each one had a nasty green tinge on the right hand side. The outer edges were also blurred in each picture and both of these flaws were present in our indoor shots as well. The centre of the image was very detailed as long as there was enough light, but colours wavered toward the right and there was a lot of noise present when we turned the lights off.
Shooting video was even worse. The green tinge returned and there were constant bands of flicker going up and down the screen. The camera also hunted for focus in low light.
Creating media may not be the Latitude 10's strong suit, then, but the tablet's gorgeous 10.1in IPS display at least makes consuming media an absolute joy. It may only have a 1,366x768 resolution, but its wide viewing angles meant we could see the screen clearly no matter what angle we held it at. The screen can suffer from reflections from overhead light sources, but its glossy finish really makes colours stand out. Blacks were very slightly grey compared to the deep black of its chunky bezel, but whites were bright and uniformly lit across the screen while reds, greens and blues were all very rich and vibrant. Our high-contrast images looked great, too. We were able to see a good level of detail in both the light and dark areas of each photo and colours were very accurate.
The touchscreen can sense up to five fingers simultaneously and we found it was very responsive during everyday use. We were able to navigate the desktop and browse through our files with a high degree of accuracy and we rarely tapped the wrong icon or opened another file accidentally. There's also the option of buying a Wacom stylus pen. This will set you back another £29 inc VAT, but we found it quite difficult to use. We either had to tap links multiple times or jab them very hard to open them and quite often the virtual pen was in a different place onscreen than the one in our hand.
The Dell Latitude 10 isn't the most capable Windows 8 tablet we've seen, but if you’re after Windows, its wide range of ports and outstanding battery life make it a much better buy than the similarly-priced Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2.
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