Latitude 12 7000 Tablet: Dell’s Take on a Surface for Business

Microsoft’s Surface line created a 2-in-1 revolution, and since then, all the big computer makers have been chasing the Windows maker's tail trying to grab a piece of that hybrid pie. But even the recently released Surface Pro 4 lacks a few features that people in the enterprise world are yearning for. That’s where Dell’s Latitude 12 7000 series tablets come in. 

Due out January 26 and starting at just $1,049, the Latitude 12 7000s are the thinnest 12-inch tablets Dell has ever created. Measurements start at just 0.32-inches thick and a weight of only 1.61 pounds. Then, like Surface, you can add on a detachable keyboard. The difference is that Dell offers multiple keyboards to suit your style: one is a folding Type Cover-like option that flips around to protect the screen when the system is not in use, while the other offers a rigid stand and a solid keyboard that keeps the Latitude 12 firmly propped up when you’re working at a desk.

MORE: Why Your Next Laptop Should Be a 2-in-1

Inside, Latitude 12 7000s are ripe for configuration with options including Intel m3, m5, and m7 CPUs (with vPro models available for the latter two), two display choices consisting of a full HD touchscreen or a brilliant 3840 x 2160 UHD option, and up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB of speedy NVMe solid state storage. And since this is a business machine, Latitude 12 7000s can also be equipped with Intel Trusted Platform Modules, although due to design limitations, there’s no smart card reader option like you get on a Dell’s new Latitude 13 7000 laptops.

Other specs include a 5-MP camera in front and a 8-MP in back, two USB Type-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3 (for both data and video output), an SD card reader, microSIM slot for use over WWAN, and of course a USB Type-A to Type-C dongle so the tablet will play nice with all your legacy USB devices. There's even support for Active Pen input complete with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

While even the slimmer of the Latitude 12 7000s two keyboards pushes the thickness to 0.67-inches, versus 0.44-inches for a Surface Pro 4 with Type Cover, the 7275 exudes a sense of strength that you don't get from Microsoft's hybrid. The gray cloth back on the outside of the folding keyboard not only provides a nice visual contrast to the 7375's black chassis, but also serves to help keep the system in place while typing.

Typing on the folding keyboard is about the same experience as you get on Microsoft's latest Type Cover, while the feeling you get from the rigid desk-centric keyboard surpasses it. I'm not sure I'd want spend $150 or more (official price TBA) on the latter for a keyboard that's not very portable and made specifically for a single machine. 

Dell's decision to put a USB Type-C port on both sides of the device is a nice touch, and means you won't have to pull a cable around the back of a unit when you want to recharge or connect to an external display. 

So while the Latitude 12 7000 tablets may be overkill for most, they offer an extra level of features for those who need it without too much of a hike in price. 

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