February 13, 2019 06:04 am
Dell has expanded its business offerings in recent years, and now sells everything from detachable tablets to powerful (and expensive) rugged workstations. Every business user has their own individual needs, so in an effort to help you fulfill those needs, we’ve rounded up our favorite Dell business laptops by category.
Comfortable keyboards, durable chassis and a wide range of security features are some of the things you can expect from these recommended enterprise notebooks. Here are the best Dell Precision and Latitude laptops you can buy today.
News and Updates (February 2019)
- We reviewed the Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged and Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme, then put them through a rigorous durability test.
Best Overall: Dell Precision 3530
The Precision 3530 may look like a traditional business laptop on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that will grab your attention. Armed with a Xeon E-2176M processor, 32GB of RAM and a discrete Quadro P600 GPU, the Precision 3530 offers outstanding performance whether you’re crunching data sheets or playing video games after work. Typically, more power means shorter endurance, but that’s not the case with the Precision 3530, which lasts for nearly 9 hours on a charge. Enterprise users will also appreciate the 3530’s comfy, chiclet-style keyboard and durable, military-grade chassis.
Pros: Durable chassis; Comfortable keyboard; Fast performance; Long battery life; Loud speakers
Cons: Bland design; Mediocre display
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Xeon Processor E-2176M | GPU: Nvidia Quadro P600 (4GB of VRAM) | RAM/Storage: 32GB/512GB PCIe NVMe Class 50 | Display Size/Resolution: 15.6-inch/1080p| Size/Weight: 14.8 x 9.9 x 1 inches/5.1 pounds
Dell Precision 3530 Review »
Best Budget: Dell Latitude 5490
If you’re running a startup or small business and don’t have the funds to buy every employee a workstation, then go with the Latitude 5490. Starting at $799, this relatively affordable business laptop gives you a lot for your money, including strong performance, nearly 9 hours of battery life and a comfortable keyboard. Most important, the Latitude 5490 has a bunch of security features — including a fingerprint sensor and IR camera — to ensure your company’s sensitive data is protected. Yes, the 5490’s display is disappointing, but it’ll work just fine as a secondary screen when the laptop is connected to a monitor via USB-C.
Pros: Strong performance; All-day endurance; Comfortable keyboard; Tons of security options
Cons: Dull display; Poor speaker quality; Runs warm
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7-8650U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM/Storage: 8GB/256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD | Display Size/Resolution: 14-inch, 1080p | Size/Weight: 13.1 x 9 x 0.8 inches/3.8 pounds
Dell Latitude 5490 Review »
Best Workstation: Dell Precision 7730
Want the biggest, baddest laptop in Dell’s arsenal? Then start saving up for the Precision 7730, a 17-inch workstation with insanely powerful components and a one of the most beautiful 4K displays we’ve ever tested. The goods don’t end there. The Precision 7730’s sophisticated carbon-fiber chassis is rated to military-grade durability, which means it can survive a drop as well as extreme environments. If you want to relax after work, you can use the Precision 7730’s comfortable keyboard and discrete GPU to play video games on high settings.
Pros: Superb 4K display; Blazing-fast performance; Comfortable keyboard; Durable chassis
Cons: Below-average battery life; Runs warm; Expensive
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i9-8950HK | GPU: Nvidia Quadro P5200 with 16GB of RAM | RAM/Storage: 32GB/Two 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD | Display Size/Resolution: 17.3-inch/4K | Size/Weight: 16.3 x 10.8 x 1.2 inches/7.5 pounds
Dell Precision 7730 Review »
Best 2-in-1: Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1
The Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is a rare breed of business PC that can transform from a laptop into a tablet. While it’s not outright successful at modernizing the enterprise machine by introducing the functionality of a 2-in-1, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 does the important things very well. For example, the laptop’s Core i7-8650U CPU offers strong performance and its 13.3-inch, touch-screen display is vivid and bright. Despite those power-sapping advantages, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 lasts for more than a day on a single charge. While the 7390 2-in-1’s keyboard isn’t the most comfortable, this hybrid is still a great choice for designers and engineers who want the flexibility of a convertible laptop.
Pros: Good performance; Bright, vibrant display; Long battery life
Cons: Boring design; Cramped keyboard
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7-8650U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM/Storage: 16GB/512GB SSD | Display Size/Resolution: 13.3-inch/1080p | Size/Weight: 12 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches/3.2 pounds
Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 Review »
Best Tablet: Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1
Tablets are great for getting work done on the road or in the air because of their compact size and responsive touch screens, but they’re not always convenient to use. Dell’s answer to the Microsoft Surface Pro, the Latitude 5290 2-in-1 fixes our biggest gripes with detachables by using an auto-deploying kickstand. Just press the bottom edge of the laptop down on a desk and out pops an adjustable kickstand. The ingenious mechanism combined with the 5290 2-in-1’s long battery life make it the perfect travel companion.
Pros: Clever auto-deploying kickstand; Long battery life; Clear webcam
Cons: Weak speakers; Low storage capacity
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i5-8350U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM/Storage: 8GB/256GB NVMe SSD | Display Size/Resolution: 12.3/1920 x 1280 | Size/Weight: 11.5 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches/2.8 pounds
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 Review »
Best Rugged: Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged
The Latitude 5420 Rugged didn’t flinch when we dropped it from 3 feet, then doused it in water. This practically indestructible beast passed a range of military-grade durability tests, from repeated drops to exposure to sand and dust. Further proving that the Latitude 5420 Rugged belongs outdoors are its excellent battery life and superbright touch-screen display, which is clearly visible on the sunniest of days. For gaming or running graphics-intensive programs, the Latitude 5420 Rugged has a discrete AMD RX540 GPU and a comfortable RGB keyboard.
Pros: Extremely bright display; Survives 3-foot drops; Fast performance; All-day battery life; Comfortable RGB keyboard
Cons: Pricey; No Thunderbolt 3
Key Specs — CPU: Intel Core i7-8650U | GPU: AMD Radeon RX540 | RAM/Storage: 16GB/512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 SSD | Display Size/Resolution: 14-inch, 1080p | Size/Weight: 13.7 x 9.6 x 1.3 inches/6.2 pounds
Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged Review »
How We Test Laptops
When we bring a laptop into our lab, our goal is to see how it would work if you brought it into your home or office. While we use a number of industry-standard benchmarks, such as Geekbench and 3DMark, we focus heavily on real-world tests that we have developed in-house.
To test endurance, the Laptop Mag Battery Test surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness until the system runs out of juice. To judge pure processing power, we use a giant spreadsheet macro that matches 65,000 names with their addresses, a video transcoder that converts a 4K video to 1080p and the Geekbench 4 synthetic test. We measure graphics prowess with both 3DMark Ice Storm / Fire Strike and a series of actual game titles.
We use a colorimeter to measure screen brightness and color gamut while other instruments help us determine a laptop’s key travel and ambient heat. See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.
Specs: 1080p / Core i5 / 8GB Are Best Bets
You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about when buying a 17-inch laptop. If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1080p screen.
- Screen Resolution: Unfortunately, 66 percent of consumer laptops and 51 percent of business systems have low-res screens. If possible, get a display with a 1920 x 1080 (aka 1080p, or Full HD) or higher resolution.
- CPU: An Intel Core i5 provides good mainstream performance. Some budget systems will come with Core i3, Celeron or Pentium CPUs, which are good for basic tasks but not heavy multitasking. Get a Core i7 or a quad-core processor (serial number ends in HQ or HK) for gaming or high-end productivity tasks such as video editing and 3D modeling.
- RAM: 8GB is ideal for most users, but power users will want 12 or 16GB. 4GB is acceptable for budget systems. Secondary laptops and Chromebooks may have less.
- Storage: Unless you’re a gamer or a power user, 256GB of internal storage is probably enough. If possible, get an SSD (solid-state drive) rather than a hard drive, because it’s going to make your computer a lot faster.
- Graphics Chip: Gamers and creative professionals need to do some research and figure out which discrete GPU from Nvidia or AMD is good enough to run their favorite software. Everyone else will be happy with the built-in Intel HD Graphics that come with the CPU.
If you want to learn more about buying a laptop, check out our full Laptop Buying Guide. Gamers should read our Gaming Laptop Buying Guide and list of Best Gaming Laptops.
Credit: Laptop Mag