Laptop Mag Verdict
If your pockets are deep enough, this enterprise-ready 2-in-1 laptop is one of the best convertibles money can buy, though you might want a docking station to fully utilize the vPro power inside.
Gorgeous InfinityEdge touchscreen with wide viewing angles
Comfy keyboard with good travel
Wide, responsive touchpad
Outstanding battery life
Includes HDMI port
Paltry port selection
Kind of clunky in tablet mode
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Price: $2,729 (as configured)
CPU: 12th-Gen Intel Core i7-1265U
Display: 14 inches, 2560 x 1600
Size: 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 3.2 pounds
There’s nothing spooky about the new Dell Latitude 9430, though this premium 2-in-1 laptop is plenty powerful enough to play your favorite Halloween specials in tablet or tent mode.
What makes the Latitude 9430 so special? Let’s start with that bright-and-shiny InfinityEdge screen. According to Dell, this is “the world’s smallest 14-inch 16:10 business PC,” and with a super-slim chassis that tapers from 0.54 inches in the back to 0.32 inches in the front, I’m inclined to believe it.
I recently reviewed the Latitude 9430’s similarly sized cousin, the Dell Precision 5470, which is loaded with the same useful Dell Optimizer software and enterprise-level security. Whereas the latter laptop is obviously aimed at the business crowd, the less-powerful Latitude 9430 feels more casual — though their price tags (and general capabilities) are similar.
Is this one of the best 2-in-1 laptops or best 14-inch laptops to cross our paths this year? Read on to see if this curvy convertible can take your productivity levels to a whole ‘nother stratosphere.
Dell Latitude 9430 pricing and configuration options
The Dell Latitude 9430 is available in two flavors: touchscreen and non-touchscreen. Starting at $2,169, the non-touch base configuration comes with perfectly competent specs under the hood: a 12th-Gen Intel Core i5-1245U CPU (10 Core, 12MB Cache, 12 threads, up to 4.4 GHz, vPro Enterprise), 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and Intel Iris Xe graphics, paired with a 14-inch 1920 x 1200-pixel display.
The review unit I tested, which costs $2,729 as configured on Dell’s website, was loaded with a more powerful 12th-Gen Intel Core i7-1265U CPU (10 Core, 12MB Cache, 12 threads, up to 4.8 GHz, vPro Enterprise), a 512GB SSD, and a slick 2560 x 1600-pixel touchscreen. (For another $270, you can upgrade the RAM to a zippy 32GB.)
Dell Latitude 9430 design
From the CNC aluminum and diamond cut edges on the outside to the 14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel touchscreen on the inside, this is one elegant machine. The 0.54-thin chassis tapers down to 0.32 inches in front, with aesthetics that are every bit as streamlined as the Dell Precision 5470 and HP Spectre x360 14, yet not quite as futuristic-chic (read: sexy) as the Dell XPS 13 (OLED).
In fact, in a side-by-side comparison with lids closed, you can barely tell the difference between the 12.2 x 8.3 x 0.7-inch Precision 5470 and the 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.5-inch Latitude 9430. Both 14-inch laptops feature eye-catching Dell logo designs on the fingerprint-resistant lid; InfinityEdge touchscreens (complete with super-skinny bezels); Chiclet-style keyboards; and spacious touchpads.
The Latitude 9430’s shiny hinge, however, as with the Spectre x360 14, denotes its 2-in-1 convertibility. The Precision 5470 might have an equally snazzy touchscreen, but it can’t be flipped into tent mode. Turn the laptop upside down, and you’ll find two long, rubberized feet, one air vent (along with three others built into the chassis’ side/back), and two bottom-firing speakers to complement the top-firing ones that flank the keyboard.
At 3.2 pounds and 0.29 inches at its thinnest point, the Latitude 9430 is slightly skinnier and lighter than the 3.26-pound, 0.33-inch-thin Precision 5470 — but only by the slimmest of margins. Up top, you’ll find an FHD IR camera lens sandwiched between dual-array mics that feature neural noise cancellation tech to drown out background buzz (on both ends).The webcam also comes with an industry-first automatic SafeShutter that knows when to open and close your webcam lens for added privacy.
Note: all Latitude 9000 series laptops are EPEAT Gold registered, which earns Dell an extra gold star in my book.
Dell Latitude 9430 security
As with the Precision 5470, the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader, which worked just fine in my testing. (You can also sign in using Windows Hello or ExpressSign-in, which uses proximity detection to lock the system if you wander away.) Dell packs in a few other intelligent privacy features. Onlooker Protection, for example, lets you texturize or turn on Safe Screen when an intruder is detected, and Look Away Detect darkens the screen based on user behavior.
But that’s not all. Dell packs this machine inside-and-out with enterprise-level security, which includes Dell SafeID, SafeBIOS, TPM 2.0 FIPS-140-2 certification, a contactless smart card reader, and a wedge-style lock slot. And in terms of durability, the chassis handily conforms to MIL-STD 810H standards, which should give you additional peace of mind in the case of accidental drops or coffee spills.
Dell Latitude 9430 ports
On the left side of the laptop, you’ll find a universal 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card slot, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a wedge-shaped lock slot. And unlike the Precision 5470, there’s an HDMI port to remind you this productivity powerhouse is also ideal for jet-setting multimedia mavens, and perfectly capable of streaming high-res video to a larger monitor.
Save for one USB-A port (with PowerShare) and a cooling vent, the right side is refreshingly bare. One thing’s for sure: to maximize the full functionality of this 2-in-1 laptop, as with the Precision 5470, you’ll want a dedicated laptop docking station.
Dell Latitude 9430 display
I was downright dazzled by Dell’s distinctive InfinityEdge display on the Precision 5470, and you’ll find similarly super-sleek bezels on the Latitude 9430’s 14-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel touchscreen — not to mention extra-wide 88-degree viewing angles. In a feast for the eyes, I browsed 4K aerial footage of Norway on YouTube, where the details of snow-capped mountains and rippling ocean tides practically popped off the screen. Colors came to life as I used the Latitude for work-based internet research — and also some procrastination from my deadlines.
As with the Precision 5470, the wide viewing angles made for a more immersive experience than I’d normally expect from a notebook this size. Dell claims this is the world’s smallest 14-inch business machine with a 16:10 viewing ratio: the perfect ratio for some John Wick badassery, by the way.
Back in the Laptop Mag testing lab, the Latitude 9430 reached 92.4% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, exceeding the category average of 88.5%. This is just a hair behind the Dell Precision 5470 (92.7%), but a few steps ahead of the Dell XPS 13 (OLED), which scored 83.1% on the same test. The HP Spectre x360 14's 3K2K OLED panel, however, covers an impressive 140%.
In terms of brightness, the Latitude 9430 averaged 498 nits, which is neck-and-neck with the Precision 5470 (499 nits), but well ahead of the XPS 13 (361 nits), Spectre x360 14 (399 nits), and premium laptop average of 426 nits. Shine on!
As with the Precision 5470, multimedia multitasking was a breeze in my testing; whether I was in tent, tablet, or laptop mode, bouncing between touchscreen and touchpad really did take my usual multitasking to another level.
Dell Latitude 9430 audio
When I fired up “Michigan” by Autumn Andersen on Spotify, the top- and bottom-firing speakers did an excellent job of filling my living room with balanced vocals and blended acoustic melodies. The thumping bass and wailing guitar riffs of “Everybody Breaks” by Ivan & Alyosha created a comprehensive soundscape of robust highs and more-than-acceptable lows as the music bounced off my eight-foot ceilings.
Next, I flipped on the latest episode of Rings of Power on Amazon. Boy oh boy. The last two minutes of episode six was an action-packed session for both the eyes and ears. (I won’t give away any spoilers, but it was pretty awesome.) The string-and-horn-laden melodies — paired with dramatic choral music and gritty sound effects — literally brought goosebumps to my forearms as I typed this sentence while rewatching it. Touche, Dell.
In a decibel-by-decibel, side-by-side comparison, the Precision 5470’s bottom-firing subwoofers delivered a more complete bass response (albeit with somewhat muddled vocals), but the Latitude 9430 was undeniably louder, with crisper audio overall. If I had to choose between these two laptops based on speaker quality alone, I’d probably choose the latter. Long-story-short: it’s one of the best sound systems you’ll find on a laptop this small.
Dell Latitude 9430 keyboard and touchpad
As another reminder that this 2-in-1 laptop was meant for creators and content consumers alike, the Latitude 9430 has a large 4.5 x 2.9-inch touchpad that looks like it was laser-etched into the surprisingly fingerprint-resistant deck, and it’s just a smidge bigger than the Precision 5470 (4.2 x 2.7 inches).
Whether I was editing a review in Google Drive, scrolling through product manual PDFs on Chrome, or taking a break to watch IT Crowd reruns on Netflix, mouse movements were always silky smooth, akin to the Dell XPS 13 (OLED), whose touchpad is slightly smaller at 4.4 x 2.5 inches.
The Chiclet-style keys don’t have the same clickiness as traditional mechanical keyboards, but there’s acceptable travel that adds up to a smooth typing experience in my testing. In fact, I found the rounded edges on the Latitude 9430’s keys to be marginally more comfortable than the Precision 5470’s. During the 10FastFingers.com test, my dodgy digits achieved 64 words per minute with a 96% accuracy, which is right on par with my normal 65-to-70 wpm with 90% accuracy.
Dell Latitude 9430 performance
At this particular price point, your convertible better have a little “oomph” under the hood, and the Latitude 9430 delivers exactly what we’d expect from a 12th-Gen Intel Core i7-1265U CPU (and 16GB of RAM) being paired with Intel Iris Xe graphics. Anecdotally, with 50 Google Chrome tabs open (10 playing 4K YouTube videos); music streaming over Spotify; and the laptop connected to an external display, the Latitude 9430 didn’t have a problem with multimedia multitasking.
But I’ll let our benchmarks tell the rest of the story. Clocking in at 7,730 on our Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the Latitude 9430 scored much higher than the category average of 6,124, not to mention the HP Spectre x360 14 (5,004) and Dell XPS 13 (5,345). This was well behind the Precision 5470’s impressive score of 11,040, which pairs a 12th-Gen Intel Core i9-12900H CPU with Nvidia RTX A1000 graphics (complete with 4GB of VRAM) and 32GB of RAM.
On the Handbrake video transcoding test, it took 12 minutes and 59 seconds to convert our 4K video to 1080p, which is markedly slower than the category average (9:45). It also failed to beat the Precision 5470 (6:28).
The Dell Latitude 9430 earned decent marks in our file-transfer test, duplicating a 25GB multimedia file in 40.6 seconds at a rate of 661 megabytes per second, which is slower than the category average of 1,200.9 MBps, the HP Spectre x360 (764 MBps), and Dell XPS 13 (814 MBps).
Dell Latitude 9430 graphics
Thanks to an Intel Core i7-1265U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, you can expect decent performance from the Dell Latitude 9430. It achieved 4,317 on the 3DMark Fire Strike test, which falters behind the 7,629 average. (Keep in mind, though, that laptops with discrete graphics are skewing this mean figure.) Nevertheless, the Dell laptop managed to surpass the HP Spectre x360 (4,229) and the Dell XPS 13 (3,756).
We tried running Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p), but the Latitude 9430 only managed 18.9 frames per second in 1080p and 15.6 fps in 4K, which isn’t even close to the category average of 48 fps, and well under our playable 30-fps threshold. Meanwhile, the better-equipped Dell Precision 5470 reached 76.3 frames per second in 1080p and 59.8 fps on the same tests, but that laptop is loaded with discrete Nvidia RTX A1000 graphics (with 4GB of VRAM) and 32GB of RAM. The HP Spectre x360 14 and Dell XPS 13 achieved similarly disappointing frame rates, averaging 20 fps and 15 fps, respectively. None of these 2-in-1 laptops, however, were designed for gaming.
Dell Latitude 9430 battery life
The Latitude 9430 excels in the endurance department, thanks in part to Dell Optimizer for Precision, which gives power users a performance tweak when it comes to resource-heavy apps. Another useful feature, ExpressCharge, analyzes your power usage habits to extend run times and charge the laptop faster when you need a boost (80% charge within 40 minutes).
This would explain why the Latitude 9430 lasted an impressive 12 hours and 39 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. That’s markedly more juice than the Dell XPS 13 OLED (7:48), Precision 5470 (11:39), and even the HP Spectre x360 (12:11), let alone the premium laptop average of 10:29.
Dell Latitude 9430 heat
A good 2-in-1 laptop should be comfortable in your lap, even at full throttle, so we took some temperature measurements while stressing out the ventilation system. Good news: the Latitude 9430 shouldn’t lower your sperm count too much. The touchpad only reached 78.1 degrees Fahrenheit during testing; the middle of the keyboard hit 89.4 degrees, and both temps are well below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The hottest area — directly by the vents underneath — climbed all the way up to 104.9 degrees as we watched a 15-minute, 1080p video.
Dell Latitude 9430 webcam
Paired with that same Dell Optimizer software you’ll find in the Precision 5470, the Latitude 9430’s dual microphone array performed very well during video calls; you can adjust mic sensitivity in the desktop app, which uses AI-powered neural noise cancellation to differentiate between human speech and background noise.
In a test call over Google Meet, Laptop Mag’s audiophile-in-chief said I came through loud and clear on her end, as she did on mine. When I turned on some bass-thumping tunes in the background (about eight feet to my right), she could barely hear the music at all — even though it was so loud at my desk I could barely hear her. That noise cancellation is no joke.
In a back-to-back comparison to the Dell Precision 5470, she noted similar performance from both webcams, though the 5470 exhibited better color saturation and less visual noise overall.
Dell Latitude 9430 software
Like the Precision 5470, the Latitude 9430 comes preloaded with Windows 11 Pro. The system is mostly free of bloatware; there’s nary an antivirus or Microsoft Office trial to be found. The laptop’s highly useful Dell Optimizer software, however, learns from your work habits to automatically improve application performance, battery life, audio oomph, and privacy settings. You also get a suite of productivity apps, including Dell Support Assist, Dell Encryption Enterprise, VMware Workspace One, Dell Supply Chain Defense, and more.
The Dell Latitude 9430 ships with a one-year premium service warranty. (See how Dell fared during our annual Tech Support Showdown.)
If you’re looking for a premium 2-in-1 laptop that can handle all of your multimedia multitasking (whether you’re on or off the clock) and much more, the Dell Latitude 9430 might well be worth the investment. From an aesthetic standpoint, it shares several similarities with the similarly priced Dell Precision 9430, and similar specs as the HP Spectre x360 14 and Dell XPS 13 (OLED). When it comes to battery life, however, the Latitude 9430 puts most 14-inch convertibles to shame.
There are plenty of cheaper 2-in-1 laptops and less-powerful Chromebooks on the market that’ll give you all-day endurance, but you get what you pay for, and Dell sweetens the deal with enterprise-level security features and a surprisingly capable sound system to boot. At the end of the day, the Dell Latitude 9430 is ideal for work and play, all the way.
Dell Latitude 9430 Specs
|Size||12.2 x 8.5 x 0.5 inches|
|Display||14 inches, 2560 x 1600|
|CPU||12th-Gen Intel Core i7-1265U|
As a freelance journalist, TJ has over a decade of multi-medium storytelling under his belt. Leveraging a quarter century of collective coddiwompling amid the ever-evolving landscape of wireless gadgetry, his unique editorial background allows him to explore a variety of tech-centric subsectors on this fascinating planet. When he's not field testing new gear in the Catskills, Adirondacks, or an actual field, he can be found sipping Negronis in his living room and crafting Dr. Seussian poetry inside a tattered moleskin.