Dell Latitude 13 7000
The Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 (7350) ($1,549 as tested) is tailor made for business use. This detachable-hybrid tablet makes it easier to carry just one device if you need a laptop computer most of the time, and a tablet you can carry around part of the time. We think it’s an ideal choice if you’re a corporate user who spends a significant time away from your desk. Its almost-10-hour battery life, corporate-friendly features—like IT manageability—and versatility help it earn our first Editors’ Choice award for business-focused detachable-hybrid tablets.
Design and Features
The Latitude 7350 comes with a keyboard dock, which differentiates it from slate tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which ships sans keyboard. The system with the keyboard attached measures 0.79 by 12.6 by 9 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.59 pounds. It’s smaller, but exactly the same weight as the Dell Latitude 14 7000 series (E7450), our Editors’ Choice business ultrabook.
Docked with its keyboard base, the system resembles a standard black, corporate laptop. Slide the latch on the keyboard dock’s hinge, and you can then detach the 1.92-pound tablet from the keyboard base, and easily carry the tablet around the office. The keyboard dock has a mini DisplayPort, a Noble security lock port, an SD card reader, and two USB 3.0 ports, so you won’t miss the E-series dock that the Dell Latitude E7450 uses for semi-permanently attached wired connections at your desk.
The sliding-latch release is easy to use, though you will need two hands to remove the tablet. That’s old school and more reliable than more innovative latching mechanisms like the push-to-click catch on theToshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro P35W-B3226. Magnetic latches like the one on the Acer Aspire Switch 11 (SW5-171-325N) and the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi are the easiest by far and the most convenient, but your IT manager will probably want the tried-and-tested sturdiness of the physically-locking latch. When the tablet is docked, the system is a little top heavy, but doesn’t tip over after leaning back too far, like the Acer Aspire Switch 11 does.
Once undocked, the tablet has a dearth of I/O ports. There are only a headset jack, a port for a Noble security cable, and the AC power adapter port. The edge on the top-right corner of the tablet has a Power button, volume controls, and a Windows key. You’ll need to carry the keyboard dock on business trips so you can interface with wired displays and the ubiquitous USB flash memory keys you’ll be handed at conferences and meetings. That said, you’re still carrying less weight around than an ultrabook and a separate tablet combined.
The 13.3-inch, full HD (1,920-by-1,080) display is an In-Plane Switching (IPS) touch screen that is clear and pleasant to look at, and it has good touch sensitivity. The backlighting on the keyboard is pretty standard for Dell Latitude laptops, but somewhat rare for most detachable tablets. This is great if you need to work in darkened rooms during keynote speeches or presentations. The multitouch touchpad built into the keyboard base is wide and responsive.
There’s 8GB of memory and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) for storage, which is the sweet spot we currently recommend for business ultrabooks and laptops. That’s enough memory to keep a bunch of programs open, and enough room to keep all of the average business user’s current files stored locally in case their mobile hotspot runs out of juice. Like most corporate systems, the Latitude 7350’s Windows 8.1 Pro build is free of bloatware. The 3-year standard warranty includes in-home/onsite service after a remote diagnostic.
The Latitude 7350 comes with an Intel Core M-5Y71 processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300. Its score of 2,426 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test is good for a Core M processor. It beat the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (2,094) and the HP EliteBook Folio 1020(1,464), and it was barely lower than Intel-Core-i5 and i7-powered systems like the Dell Latitude E7450 (2,681), the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (2,704), and the Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro (2,939). Its test results on Handbrake (3 minutes 50 seconds) and Adobe Photoshop CS6 (5:52) are a bit slower than its rivals with standard Core i5 and i7 CPUs, but most graphics users will be better served by a traditional clamshell laptop in any case. The 3D performance is predictably slow, but you’d expect that in a business laptop that won’t see heavy 3D use.
Battery life is a strength for the Latitude 7350. It lasted 7 hours 29 minutes for the tablet alone, and almost ten hours (9:51) with the keyboard dock attached. That’s just shy of the Dell E7450 (10:12) and an hour behind the Apple MacBook 13-Inch, Retina Display (11:10), our Editors’ Choice ultraportable. That’s still many hours longer than Intel-Core-M-equipped systems, like the Acer Transformer Book T300 Chi (5:54), the HP EliteBook 1020 (7:20), and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (8:19). Full Core i5- and i7-equipped laptops and tablets, like the Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro (6:48), didn’t last as long, but the presence of a higher-powered processor isn’t indicative of a short battery life like it was in the past. For instance, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch (2015), which has a Core i5 CPU, lasted almost nine hours (8:57) in testing.
Tablets are excellent for portability and touch-screen use. Laptops are better for productivity, particularly when you need to type more than a few words at a time. The Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 (7350) is the best of both worlds, giving you the flexibility of a tablet or clamshell laptop at a moment’s notice. It has a lot going for it, like battery life, flexibility, and power for getting your job done. There are very few drawbacks, like the scarcity of ports on the tablet portion, but then again, you’re likely to use this most often with the keyboard dock (and its ports) attached. It’s a fully capable detachable-hybrid tablet that will help you do your job on the go, with minimal compromises. As such, we have no qualms giving it our first Editors’ Choice for business detachable-hybrid tablets.