The Dell Precision 3490 is a lightweight workstation with impressive power — but a design that peaked in 2005

Dell Precision 3490
(Image credit: Future)

Dell has unveiled plans for a fully updated line of Precision workstations, including the ultra-portable Precision 3490 which packs workstation-level performance specs into a lightweight 14-inch chassis.

Unfortunately, all the updates to the Precision line are entirely based on hardware advances and not design. The boring, ugly rounded edges of the Precision series return this year, and it's beyond old.

Stale, tired design

Dell Precision 3490

(Image credit: Dell)

Lenovo's ThinkPads are usually the laptops that get the most of my ire on this point because the ThinkPad aesthetic has been set since the IBM days. However, Dell is also guilty of keeping to the same tired design choices, particularly on the Latitude business and Precision workstation lines. 

Workstation laptops aren't exactly a sexy project for a designer to work on, but dated round edges on a thick silver chassis are beyond stale at this point. Business and professional laptops generally stick to the same format in an attempt to be an unobtrusive part of the workday and general office environment. But unlike the ThinkPad design, Dell's Precision laptops are ugly as well as boring.

That said, the Precision 3490 is a pretty powerful machine based on its specs, and with a starting weight of only 3.09 pounds, it's a pretty portable 14-inch workstation laptop.

Powerful specs for a compelling workstation

Dell Precision 3490

(Image credit: Dell)

The Precision 3490 will feature an Intel Ultra chipset, from the Ultra 5 125 vPro up to the Intel Ultra 7 165H vPro with Intel Arc integrated graphics and a discrete Nvidia RTX 500 Ada Generation GPU. You can slot up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM and up to 2TB of Gen 4 PCIe NVMe SSD storage into the workstation to further customize your build.

As for the display, with a 14-inch FHD IPS panel you have a few customization options. From a 60Hz non-touch, anti-glare 250 nit, 100% sRGB panel option; a 60Hz touchsceen, anti-glare, 300-nit, 100% sRGB panel; or a 60Hz anti-reflect/anti-smudge, non-touch, 400-nit, 100% sRGB, Low blue light, super low power panel.

Sure, you can find more powerful workstations out there, but few are as small and light as the Precision 3490 is slated to be. And if you need a mobile workstation, it's likely you don't want to haul around an absolute monster machine regularly, so having a 14-inch laptop that weighs just over 3 pounds is a very persuasive selling point especially when the specs are as good as this.

If only it looked a bit less like a laptop from 2005.

Additional Precision workstations are also inbound

Dell Precision 3490

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell is also launching the Precision 3590, Precision 3591, Precision 5490, and Precision 5690 laptops.

The Precision 3590 which is a slightly larger laptop, with a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display. It can house an Intel Ultra processor up to the Ultra 7 165H vPro, an Nvidia RTX 500 Ada Generation GPU, up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and up to 2TB of Gen 4 PCIe NVMe SSD storage. The 15.6-inch display of the 3590 comes as a 60Hz, non-touch, anti-glare, 250-nit panel; a 60Hz, anti-glare 250 nit touchscreen; or a 60Hz, non-touch, anti-glare, 400-nit, 100% SRGB, low blue light display.

The Precision 3591 is a suped-up version of the 3590, with an Intel Ultra processor up to the Ultra 9 185H vPro, a discrete graphics processor up to the Nvidia RTX 2000 Ada Generation GPU, up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and up to 2TB of Gen 4 PCIe NVMe SSD storage. Display options for the 3591 are the same as the 3590.

Dell's Precision 5490 is a more powerful 14-inch laptop for those with a bit more cash and a higher weight tolerance. With an Intel Ultra CPU up to the Ultra 9 185H vPro, discrete graphics up to the Nvidia RTX 3000 Ada Generation GPU, up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and up to 4TB of PCIe NVMe Gen 4 SSD storage. The Precision 5490 comes with either a 14-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200), 60Hz, anti-glare, non-touch, 100% sRGB, 500-nit display or a 14-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600), 60Hz, anti-reflection, touch, 100% sRGB, 500-nit display.

Rounding out Dell's upcoming workstation laptop lineup is the Precision 5690. This 16-inch mobile workstation features an Intel Ultra CPU up to the Ultra 9 185H vPro, discrete graphics up to the Nvidia RTX 5000 Ada Generation GPU, up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM, and up to 4TB of PCIe NVMe Gen 4 SSD storage. The 5690 comes with two display options; a 16-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200), 60Hz, 500-nit, 100% DCI-P3 IPS non-touch panel or a 16-inch 4K (3840 x 2400), 60Hz, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3 OLED touchscreen.

More from Laptop Mag

Category
Arrow
Arrow
Back to Laptops
Brand
Arrow
Processor
Arrow
RAM
Arrow
Storage Size
Arrow
Screen Size
Arrow
Colour
Arrow
Screen Type
Arrow
Condition
Arrow
Price
Arrow
Any Price
Showing 10 of 136 deals
Filters
Arrow
Load more deals
Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.