The Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook is not for a "fancy pants" laptop user who prefers superfluous bells and whistles. This business-oriented Chromebook, reviewed at $1,936 (currently on sale for a sweet $1,259), targets down-to-earth worker bees seeking a practical, no-frills machine with easy access to their favorite Google applications.
Last December, we received the Dell Latitude 5400 (equipped with Windows) and we praised its durable chassis and decent battery life. This time around, we experimented with the Dell Latitude 5400 as a Chromebook. The clamshell is perfect for users yearning for a bare-bones, powerful laptop with Chrome OS, but if you are looking for a device with sweet-on-the-ears audio speakers and a bright display, this device is not for you.
Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook price and configuration options
The Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook base model starts at $1,259 with a 14-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display along with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8365U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD and an Intel UHD 620 graphics card. The base model also includes ProSupport, a tech support service for small businesses and global enterprises.
If you level up to the $1,429 configuration, Dell will add in G Suite and Workspace One (an app-management program). For $1,469, the device will come equipped with Workspace One, Pro Support Plus and Drive Enterprise (a business cloud storage solution).
The Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook may be a dark slate gray, but it is also "green" in terms of sustainability. The chassis is made with post-industrial carbon fiber, which, according to Dell, includes up to 17% of recycled material.
Visually, this environmentally friendly clamshell screams — or better yet, whispers — "I'm a quiet introvert who means business." There's no "wow" factor with this Chromebook's aesthetic, but this seems to be by design (pun intended). The Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook's austere presence conveys an aura of "business seriousness." On the notebook's lid, you'll find the familiar Dell logo stamped on the center. It's also worth noting that the lid is susceptible to fingerprint marks.
Open the laptop and you'll find a chrome-colored Dell logo on the bottom bezel, which is a lot chunkier than the laptop's superslim, vertical bezels. The top bezel, which is equally as thick as the bottom bezel, houses a webcam.
The Latitude 5400 Chromebook is 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches and 3.4 pounds. If you've got noodle arms like me, you may find this notebook to be a little too heavy, especially if you're holding it with one hand. The Latitude 5400 Chromebook's competitors — the Lenovo Yoga C630 (12.1 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches, 2.6 pounds) and the Google Pixelbook (11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches, 2.43 pounds) — are much easier to lug around.
Durability and security
The Chromebook passed 17 MIL-STD 810G tests, which means this laptop can endure shocks, drops and extreme temperatures. Wiggling the lid yields very little flex, which is good. There is no fingerprint scanner for that extra layer of safety and security, but on the plus side, Chrome OS has a stellar reputation for being well guarded against the evil internet maladies that surreptitiously plague our computers. Security-minded folks will be pleased to find a tiny knob on the top bezel that slides to conceal the webcam from nosy hackers.
This bad boy is stacked with ports that should fulfill all your business needs when it comes to transferring files, charging devices and connecting to monitors.
On the left side of the Latitude 5400 Chromebook, you'll find a power connector, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB Type-C) port with a DisplayPort/Thunderbolt (optional) and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port.
On the right side of the laptop, there are two additional USB 3.1 Type-A ports, plus a wedge-shaped lock slot, a network port, an HDMI port, a headset/microphone port, a micro-SIM card slot and a microSD card reader.
Watching the Season 2 trailer of Netflix's Altered Carbon on the notebook's 14-inch, 2400 x 1600 display, I spotted Anthony Mackie's suave hair waves and the faint lines forming from his furrowed eyebrows. The blood smeared across Renée Elise Goldsberry's face was a rich burgundy. In one scene, the right side of Dina Shihabi's face is illuminated, and I could see her pores, laugh lines and even a chin whisker; but on the unilluminated side of her face, Shihabi's facial features are imperceptible.
The actors' complexions skew toward an orange-y tint, which may be a symptom of oversaturation, but it's negligible and did not sour my viewing experience.
According to our colorimeter, the Latitude 5400 Chromebook's display covers only 70% of the sRGB color gamut, making it far less visually vibrant than the screens on the Google Pixelbook (117%), the Lenovo Yoga C630 (107%) and the category average (78%).
Peaking at 252 nits, the Latitude 5400's screen is duller than the Lenovo Yoga C630 (260 nits) and the category average (259 nits). The Google Pixelbook knocks it out of the park with a brightness score of 421 nits.
Listening to Sofi Tukker’s “Feeling Good” song from The Birds of Prey album, I was not impressed with the bottom-blaring speakers on the Latitude 5400 Chromebook. As Tukker sang her heart out, the tune radiating from the speakers lacked that resonant roundness that immerses our ears into sweet musical heaven. To be clear, the sound isn’t dreadful, but I wouldn’t call the music pouring out of this Chromebook “sweet sounding” either. The upbeat track sounded a little bit hollow as the sound tried to escape the bottom of the notebook.
The Latitude 5400 Chromebook's speakers are less than stellar, but they're tolerable for a personal media experience in a quiet room.
Keyboard and touchpad
When it comes to experimenting with new laptops, there's typically a small adjustment period to get accustomed to the "feel" of the keys. But with the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook, I jumped right into a flowy typing session as if I had had the system for years. I never bottomed out; the backlit keyboard is clicky and snappy with bouncy keys and decent travel, which made writing this review a total breeze.
I typed at 82 words per minute with a 97% accuracy rate on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, which is slightly faster than my typical 80 wpm with the same accuracy rate.
The Latitude 5400 Chromebook's 3.9 x 2.1-inch touchpad has speedy responsiveness. It does have left and right clickers, but I rarely used them; I was partial to using the touchpad's double-tap gesture for clicking on targets.
Outfitted with an Intel Core i5-8365U processor and 8GB of RAM, the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook impressed performance-wise as I swamped the device with 20 Google Chrome tabs, which included four 1080p YouTube videos. The bare-bones laptop showed no signs of slowing down, so if you're looking for a device that can handle heavy multitasking, this workhorse will handle anything you throw at it without lagging.
My real-world experience with the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook was validated by our Geekbench 4.3 overall performance benchmark: the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook scored a remarkable 11,842, which whizzes past such competitors as the Google Pixelbook's Core i5-7Y57 (7,927) and the Lenovo Yoga C630's Core i5-8250U (9,021).
After continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, our battery test discovered that the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook can survive for an impressive 11 hours and 29 minutes, which is better than its competitor, the Google Pixelbook (7:43) and the Yoga C630 (6:53). It also outlasted the 10-hour Chromebook average.
The Lenovo Yoga C630, on the other hand, blows the Latitude 5400 Chromebook and the Pixelbook Go out of the water with an extra hour of battery life (12 hours and 14 minutes).
The HD webcam (equipped with a privacy shutter), as they say, "does the job. While experimenting with the camera, there was some visual noise on the picture, but it wasn't too distracting. On the plus side, the shooter seemed to have well-saturated, accurate colors — the rose-colored stripe on my peacoat was a proper pink-ish hue.
To heighten image quality for your video conferencing needs, we often recommend an external webcam, which gives you better options.
If you frequently rest your device on your lap while running heavy workloads, you'll want to take the laptop's temperature into consideration. Thankfully, the Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook won't burn your jeans off. After playing a 15-minute 1080p video, the touchpad (91.5 degrees Fahrenheit), keyboard’s center (85 F) and bottom panel (94 F) hovered below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and warranty
The Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook comes with the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade operating system, which taps into the built-in business capabilities of Chrome OS to power the cloud workforce. The laptop's home toolbar features easy access to Google Chrome, Google Docs, YouTube, Gmail, Spotify and the Google Play Store for downloading your favorite apps.
The Latitude 5400 Chromebook also comes with one year of ProSupport with Next Business Day on-site service. See how Dell fared on our Best and Worst Laptop Brands and Tech Support Showdown annual special reports.