Even if your work schedule can't be flexible, your computer should be. Dell's newest business laptop, the Latitude 5289 2-in-1, takes that mantra literally with the ability to flip into a tablet. Its 10-hour battery life means it can last all day, and, if you're security-conscious, there are several optional features available to protect your data. The display isn't terribly vivid, and it can run on the hot side, but its performance and port selection will help you power through your day.
Dell isn't exactly re-inventing the wheel here. The Latitude looks like every business notebook the company has released in recent memory, with a soft-touch black lid and a silver Dell logo. Under the lid is the 12.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 touch display surrounded by a thick bezel, especially on top (likely to make room for the infrared camera). There's also a backlit, island-style keyboard, soft-touch deck and two 360-degree hinges. The hinges allow for the Latitude to be used in four modes: laptop, tablet, tent or stand (with the keyboard face down and the display pointing up).
At 12 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches and 3 pounds, it's comparable in size to competitors. The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 is 2.9 pounds and 12.2 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches, while the HP EliteBook x360 G2 is 2.8 pounds and 12.6 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches.
For such a small machine, it has a strong, varied selection of ports. The left side is where you'll find a pair of USB Type-C ports with DisplayPort capability (one of which will be taken up while charging), an HDMI output and a USB 3.0 port. On the right are a headphone jack, microSD card slot, another USB 3.0 port and a Noble lock slot.
Security and Durability
Dell sells the Latitude with a number of optional security features to keep your workplace data safe. For $21, you can get a model with a Smart Card reader, while $35 gets you that, a fingerprint reader and NFC capability. Models with Intel's Core i5-7300U and Core i7-7600U CPUs include vPro for remote management. All of them include TPM to securely store biometric data.
Additionally, the Latitude is MIL-STD 810G-tested to protect against dust, extreme temperatures, shocks, dust and more.
The 12.5-inch, FHD display on the Latitude is serviceable for text, but it's not exactly colorful. When I watched a 1080p trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk's skin wasn't as viridescent as I expected and the red in Thor's cape was a bit too dark. It's sharp, though, and I could see small pieces of rubble flying in slow-mo as Hela attacked Asgard.
Dell's panel covers just 71 percent of the sRGB color gamut, falling short of the ultraportable average (a much more vivid 96 percent) and the EliteBook (a superb 109 percent). The ThinkPad Yoga's screen was less colorful at 69 percent.
The colors you can see are accurate, however, as the Latitude's display has a Delta-E score of 0.2 (0 is ideal). That's better than the average (2.5), the ThinkPad Yoga (2.7) and the EliteBook (0.6).
The screen measures 280 nits of brightness, slightly less than the average (288 nits). The ThinkPad Yoga is far more luminous (328 nits), but the EliteBook is dimmer (238 nits).
Keyboard, Touchpad and Stylus
I had a mixed experience with the Latitude's keyboard. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I reached 106 words per minute with a 3 percent error rate (just under my 107-wpm average and slightly less accurate than my usual 2 percent error rate). It's not uncomfortable, but it's springier than the clicky keys I tend to prefer. There's also a bit of a dip from the palm rest to get used to, but nothing crazy.
The 3.5 x 2-inch touchpad is accurate, though I found it had a bit too much friction for my taste. It handled Windows gestures with aplomb, however, including tapping four-fingers to open the Action Center and a two-finger pinch to zoom in.
The Latitude 5289 comes with a stylus, Dell's Active Pen, which feels nice in the hand and is responsive on the screen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Rather than having two buttons for alternate functions, though, it uses a rocker, which made it a little harder to tell which one I was pressing. The laptop did a good job of distinguishing between the pen tip and the heel of my hand as it correctly rejected any imprints from my palm.
The Latitude's speakers are decent for a business laptop, and perhaps enough for a cubicle dance break. When I listened to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," the song immediately filled the room with sound. The vocals, lead guitar and drum were all crystal clear, but I couldn't make out the bass. In Dell's Waves MaxxAudio, I turned the bass dial way up and could just hear it, at the cost of making the rest of the instruments sound slightly quieter.
Armed with a 3.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7600U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, our review configuration of the Latitude 5189 2-in-1 can handle your everyday office multitasking with ease. I had more than 30 tabs open in Chrome, including one streaming a 1080p episode of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," and there was no lag at all.
On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Latitude notched a score of 8,985. That surpasses the ultraportable average (6,944) and the EliteBook (Core i7-7600, 8,873).
It took the Latitude 25 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed-media files; a rate of 203.6 megabytes per second. That's speedier than the average (184.9MBps) and the ThinkPad Yoga (130.5MBps), but the EliteBook was even faster at 299.4MBps.
The Latitude completed our OpenOffice spreadsheet macro in 3 minutes and 54 seconds, in which it paired 20,000 names and addresses faster than the average (5:47). It was also faster than the ThinkPad Yoga (4:42) but was bested again by the EliteBook (3:16)
When you're done with work, don't expect to use the Latitude to play intensive games like Mass Effect Andromeda or Injustice 2. With its integrated Intel HD Graphics 620, it earned a score of 74,640 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, handily beating the average (54,494) and the EliteBook x360 G2 (Intel HD Graphics 620, 54,800). These scores are high enough for the most basic of photo editing, but anything serious will need a laptop with a bump up in power.
This 2-in-1 has the endurance to last all day and the commute home; running for 10 straight hours on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi. That bests the ultraportable average (8:20), the ThinkPad Yoga (7:46) and the EliteBook (9:17).
The 720p webcam takes decent shots that are good enough for the occasional Skype conference. It's sharp, and it caught my dimple and even some individual hairs in a photo in our office. The colors depend heavily on the light. In direct light from a nearby window, it captured the blue of my eyes and the navy in my shirt, but everything was a bit dark when I sat under fluorescent lights.
The camera includes IR technology that works with Windows Hello, so you can log in with facial recognition, even in the dark.
The Latitude felt the heat in our testing. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, it reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom and 98 degrees on the touchpad, both of which are above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The touchpad measured a more comfortable 86 degrees.
Software and Warranty
Dell tends to go pretty light on software on its business laptops, and the Latitude is no exception. The company's main app on the device is SupportAssist, which makes it easy to run checkups, download new drivers and register for warranty upgrades. Additionally, Dell preinstalled Bamboo Paper for drawing and taking notes. The rest is the regular junk you find baked into Windows 10, including Candy Crush: Soda Saga, Sling, Facebook, Twitter and Royal Revolt 2.
The Latitude I reviewed cost $1,729.50 and comes with an Intel Core i7-7600U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.
I'd recommend skipping the $899 base model, with its Core i3-7100U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SATA drive. Every component is slower and it may not hold up to multitasking with just 4GB of RAM. Other options include models with Core i5-7200U and Core i5-7300U CPUs. Every model can be configured with higher storage and options for mobile broadband from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.
The Dell Latitude 5289 2-in-1 is a competent business 2-in-1 that will last you all day and then some. Between its powerful, optional Core i7 CPU and 10 straight hours of battery life, this will handle everything you need for office work and more. Keep it on your desk, though, as it can get pretty toasty on the bottom, and consider investing in an external display to offset the Latitude's bland panel. The HP EliteBook x360 G2 (starting at $1,319) offers similar (or, in the case of the hard drive, faster) performance with a vivid display. It's also a tad smaller and thinner. If you're going for style and a colorful screen, that's the way to go. However, the x360 lasted almost 45 minutes less on our battery test. Overall, the Latitude is a strong performer and will serve as a strong, reliable business partner.
Image Credit: Laptop Mag