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Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review: Sleek, stunning and sturdy

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1919

A stunning and versatile convertible that combines business features with a sleek design


  • Slim but sturdy design
  • Great battery
  • Impressive image quality


  • It’s on the pricey side
  • Screen brightness could be better

The latest Dell Latitude doesn’t look like a Dell Latitude. Hewn from aluminium, with a dark, brushed design and slim screen bezels, the 7400 2-in-1 stands toe to toe with the best-looking laptops around. And build quality is superb: there’s barely any give in the metal around the keyboard, while the 14in screen rotates with a smooth action.

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review: Features

While most ultraportable hybrids don’t allow full internal access, the Latitude does. Ten standard Phillips screws secure the base and handy indents behind each hinge allow the panel to ease free. Most components can be accessed, but the memory is soldered down.

Dell further flexes its business credentials with good connectivity. On the left side, two Thunderbolt 3 ports handle DisplayPort and charging, alongside a USB-A 3.1 socket and HDMI output. The right-hand side offers another full-size USB-A port, a microSD slot, a SIM card tray, an audio jack and a Kensington slot.

Security features don’t stop there, with the webcam using Dell’s Express Sign-In feature. This combines the webcam’s facial recognition abilities with the machine’s proximity sensors to automatically lock the laptop when you walk away and unlock it on your return. It worked well in our tests. But if you want a fingerprint reader, you’ll need to pay £22 exc VAT, and note the lack of a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The Dell’s keyboard and trackpad are both fine rather than excellent. The keyboard has no number pad, but its layout is sensible: you get a double-height Return key, sizeable cursor keys and sensible options on the Function row. The buttons are fast and comfortable, with a nice snap to them, and there’s no need to push down with huge force. They’re also quiet despite the firm base.

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People with larger fingers may moan about the size of the keys, though. They aren’t the largest and seem even smaller thanks to curved edges. The backlight isn’t great, either, with only two brightness levels and uneven lighting visible around the keys.

The glass touchpad is large and smooth, with good precision and a satisfying clicking action, but traditionalists should note that it doesn’t have discrete buttons – they’re built into the bottom of the pad.

Dell crams a 14in IPS screen into what many would consider a 13in chassis. That design decision, and the inclusion of a drop hinge, means that the panel has four impressively slim bezels. It’s a ten-point multitouch screen with Gorilla Glass 5 that works with Dell’s active stylus pens – although they’re sold separately.

The panel has a 1080p resolution, which means a density level of 157ppi. That’s fine for day-to-day work but means it can’t match the sharpness of the MacBook Pro’s 2,560 x 1,600 display. Dell doesn’t offer a 4K screen option but that makes sense here: it would add cost, reduce battery life and give few discernible benefits.

More importantly, this panel delivers fantastic colour quality. An average Delta E of 0.8 is a match for professional displays and, at 2.44, the maximum Delta E is barely beyond the point where human eyes can detect deviation. In short, colours on this panel have near-perfect accuracy.

The colour temperature of 6,196K is a fraction warm, but not far enough from 6,500K to make the screen look inaccurate. The Dell rendered a stonking 99.5% of the sRGB colour gamut and 70.6% of the Adobe RGB gamut. That’s fine for a laptop that isn’t designed for photo and design work, and it means that the Latitude’s panel will display any shade you will conceivably need.

The contrast level of 1,775:1 is fantastic, too – one of the best results we’ve seen from an IPS panel. The Dell delivers incredibly deep black shades, vibrancy with every colour, clear and bright shades at the top of the range and subtle variations in between. More impressively, the Latitude has better Delta E and sRGB levels than even the Dell XPS 13, and better contrast than the MacBook.

That’s all great, but the Dell does have one major flaw: brightness. The panel’s peak of 213cd/m2 is dim. It’s not a problem in an office, where that’s enough backlight strength to keep the screen visible, but try to use the Dell outdoors and it isn’t strong enough – especially when combined with the panel’s glossy finish.

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Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review: Performance

Our test Latitude is powered by a Core i5-8265U processor, a popular chip from Intel’s new Whiskey Lake-U range. Despite having four cores with Hyper-Threading, it’s a low-power CPU, which means a modest base clock speed of 1.6GHz and all-core and single-core Turbo peaks of 3.7GHz and 3.9GHz. The huge disparity between those speeds is due to a new Intel feature called Thermal Velocity Boost, which is designed to make the processor more reactive and laptops more responsive.

The CPU is paired with 8GB of LPDDR3 memory. That’s the bare minimum for day-to-day workloads, but I’m glad it’s installed in a dual-channel configuration. Elsewhere, there’s a 256GB Toshiba PCIe SSD and Intel’s integrated GPU, with no room for discrete graphics. You also get TPM 2.0 as standard, but if you want vPro protection, you’ll need to pay an extra £20 for a vPro processor.

It’s a fine specification for general work, but can’t quite square up to either the Dell XPS 13 or the MacBook thanks to an overall benchmark score of 89. Both machines included last-generation, low-power Core i7 chips that are little different from the Latitude’s CPU, with the same core count and only marginally better speeds. Despite that, the XPS 13 and MacBook scored 96 and 150 respectively. The XPS has also now been updated with its own Whiskey Lake-U CPUs.

The Latitude’s lower score is caused by thermal issues. We ran the tricky Cinebench benchmark and the processor quickly throttled, with all of its cores dropping to around 2.5GHz – and sometimes lower. That’s a long way short of the chip’s all-core Turbo peak of 3.7GHz, and will have a significant impact on performance in sustained CPU-intensive tasks.

In a CPU stress test, with all cores running at 100% load and the machine in its default Optimised mode, the CPU throttled to 2.2GHz while the temperature rocketed to 93°C. The machine automatically switched to its Cool mode, which dropped the clock speed to around 1.9GHz and reduced the temperature to 89°C. Manually activating Dell’s Ultra Performance mode saw the speed recover to 2.1GHz. In the CPU stress test, the Latitude was usually silent and only produced a tiny bit of fan noise in Ultra Performance mode – all easily manageable. The base became warm, but it was never too hot.

Running a full-system stress test caused more problems. In the Latitude’s Optimised mode, the temperature returned to 93°C and the CPU ran at around 1.7GHz, with that speed maintained in Ultra Performance mode – although fan speed increases saw the temperature drop to a more manageable 84°C. While fan noise remained modest, that heat has to go somewhere and that proved to be the left-hand side of the keyboard and base. Don’t use it on your lap in this mode…

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Dell fits the Latitude with a 52Wh battery – the same size as the XPS 13 and a little behind the MacBook. But the 1080p screen and the new CPU’s more aggressive power management helped the Latitude last longer than either rival. In our video rundown test the Dell lasted for 16hrs 9mins – way beyond the ten hours of the XPS and eight-hour lifespan of the MacBook.

The Latitude also scores well for portability. It weighs 1.3kg and is 14.9mm thick, which is especially impressive for a convertible: the Dell XPS 13 is 11.6mm thick and weighs 1.23kg, while the MacBook Pro arrives at 14.9mm and 1.37kg.

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review: Price

There’s no escaping the price of the Latitude: we tested the cheapest model and its £1,599 excl. VAT price is – according to Dell’s website – discounted from £2,460. If you want to upgrade to a Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, you’ll be paying £1,899 excl. VAT.

And, as mentioned, Dell charges extra if you want a fingerprint reader (£22 excl. VAT). However, if you want to upgrade to NFC, a smart card reader and a fingerprint reader, the combined extra fee is a reasonable £29 excl. VAT. You can also add mobile broadband for £138 excl. VAT.

Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 review: Verdict

So is it worth this money? Certainly, Dell deserves praise for bringing its Latitude series right up to date. This machine looks great and is both slim and sturdy, with a good convertible mechanism.

It’s also more practical than the XPS 13 and MacBook. It has that convertible operation, and it has better connectivity alongside easy internal access. The battery is superb, too – better than either rival. On the inside, the screen has fantastic colours and contrast, even if it’s not bright enough for outdoor use. And the components are good enough for mainstream work.

For intense CPU performance, the XPS 13 and MacBook Pro are better choices. But, if you want a daily driver with a great touchscreen, loads of versatility and convertible operation, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is an excellent option.

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