Dell Refreshes Latitude Line Of PCs At Dell Technologies World 2019

By Patrick Moorhead - May 2, 2019
Dell Technologies Rahul Tikoo and John Roese discuss the new Latitudes on-stage in Las Vegas

Yesterday I began my coverage of Dell Technologies World 2019 with my take on the company’s newly announced Dell Technologies Unified Workspace offering. Today I wanted to focus on another  announcement from Dell’s premier annual tech conference—the 10th generation refresh of Dell’s Latitude mobile PC line. We got a preview of what was to come earlier this year at CES, where Dell launched its Latitude 7400 2-in-1 (see my coverage here). While I have seen a lot of ho-hum 2-in-1s, the Latitude 7400 stood out with its industrial design, impressive stated battery life, and new features such as ExpressSign-In and ExpressCharge. Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg—let’s take a closer look at the other new Latitude devices.

“Designed for the modern workplace”

The new Latitude notebooks are broken into three tiers—the premium 7000 series (including the aforementioned 7400 2-in-1), the 5000 series (called the world’s smallest mainstream business notebooks), and the entry-level (but still impressive) 3000 series. Dell says these devices have been “reimagined to address the needs of the evolving workforce”, but I will characterize as raising the bar a few notches for business computing. The new line is supported by Dell’s newly announced Unified Workspace offering, which I believe can simplify an enterprise’s deployment, management, and support, and if using a service like ProDeploy service, will likely get the new Latitudes in the hands of more enterprises, more quickly.

Dell Latitude 3000,5000 and 7000 Series

The new Latitudes feature a sleeker, more compact design than previous generations. Just when you think you saw every variation of CNC, Dell raised it a notch with a multi-level and colored “deck.” The CNC edges don't cut your fingers like I have experienced on my MacBook evaluation units. One of Dell’s stated design goals of these laptops was to give users a device that will get them up-and-running and productive faster and allow them to be productive for longer periods of time. This is evident in the various “Express” features in the new Latitude line, such as Express Sign-In (low-power, near-field detector to know to login or lock), ExpressCharge (capable of charging the battery up to 80% in one hour), ExpressCharge Boost (up to 35% in 20 minutes), and ExpressConnect (quickly connects to the strongest WiFi network available). Dell boasts that the Latitude portfolio features “the world’s most powerful charging docks.” I will, of course, have to test this out for myself, but these certainly look like impressive numbers. My hope is that users can get a real, full day of Microsoft 365 work done and feel confident leaving the charger at work or in the hotel room. 

Today’s increasingly mobile workforce needs the ability to work from anywhere without compromising security. Nation-states are funding hacks and even “hacking as a service” has emerged bringing client device risk to epidemic levels. To this end, the new Latitudes include options for many built-in security features. These include Dell’s SafeScreen privacy shutters (say optimized for battery life), fingerprint readers, and Windows Hello-equipped IR cameras, as well as Dell’s new SafeBOIS utility, which the company says will provide better visibility into firmware integrity by doing an online check. While there is a lot of debate whether off-site BIOS validation is safer or creates a new security issue, I can see both sides of the argument and am not prepared to make a black and white recommendation at this time.

Enterprises can also equip the Latitudes with Intel’s 8th Gen vPro processors, as well as Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 Gig+ solutions, for maximum performance and connectivity. This, combined with the three tiers of Latitude offerings, ensures that a full range of enterprise notebook needs (and budgets) can be provided for by a Latitude device. Let’s take a closer look at three different tiers and what differentiates them.

Breaking down the tiers

The premium 7000 series comes in both 13 and 14-inch options, encased in either machined aluminum or carbon fiber. Some may consider the ID options superfluous, but I see it as a requirement by younger employees who will factor in which company to work for based on the quality of the equipment. I saw my 21-year-old daughter do it and this is real.

Dell Latitude 7000 Series

The display features a narrow bezel, anti-glare technology, and Dell’s SafeScreen privacy feature. Its drop-hinge allows the devices to be opened by one-finger which I thought was cool and demonstrates attention to the details which I am familiar with on the XPS line. The 7000 series also includes the 7200 2-in-1, a thinner, lighter 12-inch detachable device than the 7400 option. The 7000 series boasts up to a stated 20 hours of battery life, with certain configurations, and can be outfitted with as much as 32GB of memory. These are premium offerings, and are priced as such—the laptops start at $1,299.

Where the 5000 series really shines is in the array of options and configurability available. Designed for mainstream business use, the 5000 series comes in 13, 14, and 15-inch options, and is equipped with 8th Gen Intel Core processors. As for the display, customers can choose between narrow-border HD, Full HD or even a touchscreen. The 5000 series also boasts a 2-in-1, the 13-inch 5300, which Dell touts as the "world’s smallest business-class 13-inch 2-in-1." The 5300 features a Full HD, edge-to-edge, anti-glare touchscreen, and can be outfitted with up to 1TB of storage and 32GB of memory.

Dell 5000 Series

The 3000 series is geared towards entry-level business use and comes in 13, 14, and 15-inch models. Perhaps the most notable is the new 13-inch, which Dell hails as “the world’s smallest and lightest 13-inch essential business notebook.” The 3000 series represents the lowest tier of the new Latitude offerings, and start at an affordable $599. They still look to be impressive little machines though, and I think they will appeal to small businesses who desire Dell’s productivity features and battery life but can’t afford to shell out for the higher tier offerings.

Dell 3000 Series

Wrapping up

All in all, I’m impressed by the looks of the 10th generation Latitude portfolio. Dell has made these notebooks more portable and loaded them with meaningful security and productivity features, not superfluous features no one will use. I think the Latitude refresh is a great compliment to Dell’s Unified Workspace and ProDeploy services offering, and I think they could be very popular with enterprises who choose to employ the new service. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article. 

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.