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DELL LATITUDE E7470 REVIEW

THE PROS Sleek, attractive design; Crisp, 1080p display; Snappy, comfortable keyboard; Impressive battery life THE CONS Rear ports hard to reach; Weak speakers VERDICT The Dell Latitude 14 offers business users a crisp 1080p display, a comfy keyboard and long battery life in an attractive and durable design. The Dell Latitude 14 E7470 is proof […]

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THE PROS

Sleek, attractive design; Crisp, 1080p display; Snappy, comfortable keyboard; Impressive battery life

THE CONS

Rear ports hard to reach; Weak speakers

VERDICT

The Dell Latitude 14 offers business users a crisp 1080p display, a comfy keyboard and long battery life in an attractive and durable design.

The Dell Latitude 14 E7470 is proof that business notebooks don’t have to be boring. This 14-inch productivity laptop ($1,079 starting, $1,339 as reviewed) is one of the sleekest of its kind, with a slim and lightweight, 3.4-pound chassis that makes the device an excellent companion on the road. It’s also perfectly capable of handling your workload, with a zippy Intel Core i5 processor, a snappy keyboard and a 9-hour battery built for a full day of crunching away. Despite some hard-to-reach ports, the Latitude 14 E740 is the rare business notebook that offers equal parts style and speed.

DESIGN

Who said business can’t be sexy? The all-black Dell Latitude E7470 is strikingly sleek, sporting a slim, soft-touch, magnesium-alloy chassis that makes this PC a joy to hold. The notebook’s supersoft lid is just as pleasant to the touch, though it is fairly susceptible to fingerprints.

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At 13.19 x 9.13 x 0.74 inches and 3.4 pounds (with a four-cell battery), the E7470 is both small enough and light enough to fit into your bag without much of an issue. It’s not quite as svelte as HP’s EliteBook Folio G1 (11.5 x 8.23 x 0.47 inches, 2.14 pounds), but is roughly on par with Lenovo’s ThinkPad T460s(13 x 8.9 x 0.74 inches, 3 pounds).

PORTS AND WEBCAM

Unlike most notebooks, the Latitude 14 E7470 has the majority of its ports in the back. That means you’ll have to do some extra reaching around to access the PC’s power input, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, mini DisplayPort and Ethernet jack. The only ports you’ll find on the edges are a headphone/mic jack, an SD card slot, a SIM port and a single USB 3.0 input. It’s worth noting that the notebook doesn’t have a USB Type-C port for newer, fast-charging accessories; this may be a concern for those looking for a more future-proof machine.

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The Latitude’s rear-facing ports allow it to fit seamlessly into Dell’s E-Family of docks, and these make it easy to turn the laptop into a full workstation with monitors and desktop accessories. The ports also help keep the laptop’s edges slim and seamless. While that’s fine if you plan on keeping your Latitude in the office, it can be a bit of a pain having to reach in the back for ports when plugging things in while on the go.

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The laptop’s 720p webcam is clear enough for conference calls, but you won’t be stunned by your selfies. I noticed very obvious pixelation in my photos, with my stubbly beard becoming one big, dark blur.

SECURITY AND DURABILITY

The Latitude 14 is built from the ground up with security in mind, offering Trusted Platform Module (TPM) encryption to keep your files safe. Optional security add-ons include a fingerprint reader, a smart card reader and Dell’s Data Protection encryption software. If you configure it with a Core i5-6300U CPU or higher, the laptop also has Intel vPro manageability.

The Latitude 14 is built from the ground up with security in mind.

Dell’s business notebook is also well-protected on the outside, with a MIL-STD 810G-tested chassis that’s designed to endure shock, drops from up to 4 feet and extreme heat.

DISPLAY

Although you can opt for an even sharper, quad-HD panel, the Latitude 14’s standard 1080p display is crisp and clear enough for work, and colorful and vibrant enough for when you want to kick back with a movie. The notebook’s screen preserved every key detail of the Captain America: Civil War trailer, from Steve Rogers’ wrinkling forehead to the Avengers’ colorful superhero suits. If you want an even higher-res screen, you can configure the Latitude with a 2560 x 1440 touch screen for an extra $315.

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The panel on this Dell notched an impressive 338 nits of brightness on our light meter, outshining the ThinkPad T460s (240 nits), the 1080p version of the EliteBook (288), and our 249 thin-and-light average.

The Latitude’s richness and color accuracy were backed up by our lab tests, in which the notebook reproduced 118 percent of the sRGB color gamut and demonstrated a color-accuracy reading of 0.45 (closer to 0 is better). The ThinkPad was less colorful but similarly accurate (66 percent, 0.5), while the EliteBook offered a comparable gamut but with less accuracy (107 percent, 9.5).

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AUDIO

Dell’s business notebook offers decent volume for when you’re playing messages or video chatting, but don’t expect stellar music quality. Tracks like Fall Out Boy’s “Irresistible” and Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta” sounded impressively crisp on the vocal front, but each song’s normally thumping bass was virtually nonexistent.

You can customize the Latitude’s sound output via the Dell Audio app. The software features presets for music, movies, gaming and voice, and you can customize individual parameters such as treble and bass or dive into an EQ if you want to fine-tune every last detail.

KEYBOARD, TOUCHPAD AND POINTING STICK

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The Latitude is well-equipped for crunch time, with a comfortable and satisfyingly snappy keyboard that makes it easy to chop away at reports. Offering a generous 1.94mm of travel with a just-right actuation (required pressure) of 57 grams, the notebook’s spacious island keys allowed me to hammer away at the Key Hero Typing Test at a swift 118 words per minute with near-perfect accuracy, and no hand cramps in sight.

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The notebook’s 3.8 x 2.1-inch touchpad was just as reliable. Its smooth surface made switching among tabs a breeze, and gestures such as pinching to zoom and swiping three fingers right to change apps felt immediate and natural.

Dell’s laptop also features a small, blue-bordered pointing stick for those who prefer to navigate without having to leave the keyboard. Despite not being a major nub user, I had no problem navigating around with the Latitude’s soft pointing stick, and had an easy time reaching the left- and right-click buttons under the spacebar using my thumb and pinky, respectively.

PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS

Packing an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM, the Latitude is more than ready to handle your workload, though it’s not as fast as its closest competitors. On the plus side, I never experienced a significant slowdown, even as I crunched away in Google Docs, jumped among 12 Chrome tabs, watched four separate Twitch streams and ran a full system scan all at once.

Dell’s notebook scored 6,059 on the Geekbench 3 general performance test, slightly trailing the Core i5-6300U-powered ThinkPad T460s (6,796), the Core m7-6Y75-powered EliteBook Folio (6,706) and our 6,403 category average for thin-and-light notebooks.

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The Latitude matched 20,000 names to addresses in 4 minutes and 30 seconds on our spreadsheet test, just barely behind the EliteBook (4:21) and ThinkPad (4:10) but faster than the 6-minute category average.

Our Latitude’s 128GB M.2 SATA SSD copied 4.97GB worth of mixed media at a fairly quick 132.32 megabytes per second. That’s not quite as fast as the ThinkPad (152.3 MBps) or EliteBook (162.2 MBps), both of which pack 256GB SATA SSDs.

The Latitude 14 E7470 packs just about everything you could want in a business notebook: a bright and crisp display, solid overall performance,  battery life to get through the day.

Packing Intel HD 520 graphics, the Latitude is better suited to basic video playback than it is to gaming or graphic design. The notebook scored 59,801 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark, which is a bit behind the EliteBook (65,639) and ThinkPad (68,448) but higher than the category average.

BATTERY LIFE AND HEAT

If you work long days on the go, the Latitude’s impressive battery life should satisfy. Dell’s notebook lasted 9 hours and 16 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), trumping the ThinkPad T460s (7:21), the EliteBook Folio G1 (7:02) and the 8:02 category average. We tested the Latitude with a four-cell, 55W battery, which costs an extra $34.30; the notebook packs a three-cell, 37W battery by default. Fortunately, opting for the better battery doesn’t add any noticeable bulk.

The Latitude managed to stay just cool enough for comfort in our testing. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video, the notebook’s touchpad, keyboard and underside reached 79, 85 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, all of which are under our 95-degree comfort threshold.

SOFTWARE AND WARRANTY

The Latitude 14 is fairly light on extra software, with just a handful of Dell apps complementing the stock Windows 10 programs. Dell’s Command Update helps keep your drivers, firmware and BIOS up to date, while Command Power Manager lets you optimize battery life and manage the PC’s heat threshold.

Dell’s notebook includes a three-year hardware-service warranty, which includes on-site service after remote diagnosis. See how Dell fared in our Best and Worst Brand report and Tech Support Showdown.

CONFIGURATIONS

The Latitude E7470 starts at $1,079, which gets you a 6th-Gen Intel Core i3-6100U processor, 4GB of RAM a 128GB SSD and a 1366 x 768 display. The $1,169 config features a more powerful Core i5-6200U CPU, while opting for the highest-end $1,619 model gets you a Core i7-6600U processor, 8GB of RAM and WiGig capabilities for use with Dell’s wireless docks. If you want faster storage, you can add up to a 512GB NVMe SSD for an extra $385.

All configurations ship with Windows 7 professional, but also include a Windows 10 Pro license.

We reviewed a customized $1,339 configuration, which packs a Core i5-6200U processor, a 1080p display, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and Windows 10 out of the box.

BOTTOM LINE

The Latitude 14 E7470 packs just about everything you could want in a business notebook: a bright and crisp display, solid overall performance, a comfy keyboard, and more than enough battery life to get through the day. The fact that it’s both durable and incredibly sleek is just the icing on top.

My only real quibble with Dell’s notebook is with its hard-to-reach ports, which might not be a big issue if you plan on keeping the laptop on your desk. HP’s EliteBook Folio is even thinner and lighter (and has a 4K display option), but the Latitude 14 offers a better mix of style, ports and endurance.

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Erwin Smith

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