A modern 2-in-1 should be slim, portable, fast and flexible. A business 2-in-1 has even more demands: It should have an awesome keyboard, all-day battery life and a ton of security options. The Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 ($1,149 to start, $2,153 as tested) has the security and durability that businesses require, as well as more than 10 hours of battery life and a beautiful screen. But this machine's design is uninspiring, and the laptop's small keys and touchpad may hamper productivity workers. .
Dell hasn't done anything in 2018 to make its Latitudes stand out. The 7390 is still a black slab with Dell's silver logo stamped on the lid, like all the others that came before it. I will, however, say that I appreciate Dell's continued use of soft-touch plastic on top. Lifting the lid reveals a 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 touch screen; an island-style keyboard; and a fingerprint reader, but the plastic here is much harder to the touch.
What Dell has changed since the prior model is the port selection, which has been modernized. The left side features a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports (one of which you'll use for charging), an HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port and a Smart Card reader.
On the right side are a headphone jack, microSD card slot, USB 3.0 port and lock slot.
At 12 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches and 3.2 pounds, the 7390 is smaller than its competitors, but others are lighter. The 2nd-gen Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3.2 pounds, 13.1 x 8 x 9.7 inches) is the same weight but larger, while the HP EliteBook x360 G2 is just 2.8 pounds and only slightly larger, at 1.4 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches.
Security and Durability
Dell has updated the security features on the Latitude to fully take advantage of Windows Hello. Besides a fingerprint reader on the deck, which is included on several Latitude models, the 7390 comes with an infrared camera for facial recognition. Enterprises that use NFC or Smart Card readers also have those options for employees to log in. There's also vPro on board for remote management.
The machine is MIL-SPEC 810G-tested to survive extreme temperatures, dust, shocks and vibrations, so it should have no issues getting through a bumpy ride in a carry-on.
No more squinting at dark screens to see your spreadsheets. The Latitude 7390 2-in-1's 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display is both brighter and more vibrant than competitors' screens. When I watched a trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange's crimson cape popped against his dark blue outfit and the darkness of the Sanctum Sanctorum. And when Thanos, the Mad Titan, laid out Iron Man, I could see the dust as he hit the ground.
The Latitude's panel covers 119 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is more than the premium laptop average (108 percent) and the scores of the EliteBook and X1 Yoga (109 percent each).
This Dell's screen is also brighter than the competition, measuring 309 nits on our light meter. The average is 285 nits, and the EliteBook (239 nits) and X1 Yoga (274 nits) fell below that.
Keyboard and Touchpad
With 1.8 millimeters of key travel and 68 grams of required actuation, the keys on the Latitude have a nice click. But the keyboard is cramped, with small keys, and I tripped over my own fingers on the 10fastfingers.com typing test. It wasn't just me knocking my knuckles together. I measured the keys and found them to be at least a millimeter smaller than those on other notebooks of the same size, with less space in between. While I reached 115 words per minute, which is in my average range, my error rate tripled to 6 percent.
The 3.6 x 2-inch touchpad on the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is on the small side. While it's responsive to gestures like swiping up with three fingers to show open apps and scrolling with two fingers, I found myself hitting the edges a lot during simple web browsing. The X1 Yoga, for example, has a 3.9 x 2.4-inch touchpad, though it also has a larger, 14-inch screen. The 13-inch EliteBook x360 has a 4.3 x 2.6-inch touchpad. I'd strongly consider getting a good mouse instead.
The bottom-firing speakers on the Latitude get loud, but they make for echoing sound, especially in laptop mode. When I listened to Bruno Mars and Cardi B's "Finesse," the vocals bounced around our small conference room (except in tablet mode, when the speakers pointed right at me), but at least the drums were snappy.
MORE: Best Chromebooks 2018
Synthesizers and bass were hard to make out in the mix. Dell includes Waves MaxxAudio Pro audio software, and while I was able to bring out the synths a bit more, I wouldn't suggest that anyone go through the trouble for such little gain.
With an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, our review configuration of the Latitude is a speedy little workhorse. I had 25 Google Chrome tabs open, including one streaming a 1080p video from YouTube, all without any hiccups.
On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Latitude notched a score of 12,811, beating the premium laptop average of 9,217. The EliteBook x360 (8.873) and second-generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga (8,514) use 7th Gen Intel Core CPUs.
The Latitude took 14 seconds to copy 4.97GB of files, for a rate of 363MBps. That's quicker than the average (259.7MBps), and the times from the EliteBook (299.4MBps) and X1 Yoga (169.6MBps).
On our Excel spreadsheet macro, the Latitude paired 65,000 names and addresses in 2 minutes and 9 seconds, falling slightly behind the average of 2 minutes flat. When it came to video editing, the Latitude transcoded a video from 4K to 1080p in 21 minutes, slightly ahead of the 23:47 average.
Business trip? No problem. The Latitude 7390 ran for 10 hours and 13 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuously browsing a set of web pages at 150 nits of brightness. That's longer than our premium notebook average of 8:13.
The 720p webcam on the 7390 is good enough for the occasional conference call. It's sharp enough that I could make out individual hairs on my head in a shot that I took at my desk, but the camera is not color-accurate.
A purple stripe on my black sweater was barely visible, and a teal desk toy on a colleague's work space looked more of a sickly mint color.
Be sure to keep your Latitude on your desk, because the laptop gets hot on the bottom. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the laptop measured a cool 86 degrees Fahrenheit on the touchpad, 93 degrees at the center of the keyboard and a steamy 101 degrees on the underside. That last measurement is beyond our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and Warranty
Dell went light on the included software with the Latitude, which I always appreciate on a business laptop. There's some remote desktop software and SupportAssist for updates and easy warranty registration. Otherwise, you'll just find some bloat that comes with every copy of Windows 10, like Candy Crush Soda Saga, Disney Magic Kingdom, March of Empires: War of Lords, Bubble Witch 3 Saga and Spotify.
The Latitude that we tested costs $2,153 and comes with an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM. That's a lot of money for a minimal amount of storage. But it starts at 128GB at the base model, and stepping up to 256GB of storage costs another $110. By contrast, the HP EliteBook x360 G2, which is still using an Intel 7th Gen processor, costs $1,846 with similar specs (Core i7, 16GB of RAM) but a 512GB SSD. Lenovo's ThinkPad X380 Yoga starts at $1,549, coming with a Core i5-8250U CPU and 8GB of RAM, but it also comes standard with a 512GB SSD.
The $1,149 base model of the Latitude uses an Intel Core i3-7130U (that's a last-gen CPU) with a 128GB SSD and just 4GB RAM. For this price, we can't recommend this version. It's too underpowered, and anything that costs over $1,000 should have at least a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There are several models in-between with Core i5 CPUs and a variety of storage options, though you'll have to pay extra to go above 128GB of storage on any of them.
The Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is an attempt to modernize high-end business notebooks. Dell hasn't changed the design much (and it needs an overhaul), but you get the latest CPU, an infrared camera for Windows Hello and a vibrant display that's worthy of movies as well as spreadsheets. Ten hours of battery life is nothing to sneeze at either; you can work overtime with that.
But the keyboard and touchpad are cramped, and this thing is costly for what you actually get, especially on lower-end configurations.
We're just starting to see other 8th Gen Core business laptops come out, so you may want to wait and see how 8th Gen competitors from Lenovo and HP fare. If you're willing to get a computer that's better, but with an older processor, the HP EliteBook x360 G2 (starting at $1,149) has a gorgeous design and an awesome keyboard. However, its display, while good, isn't as impressive as the one on the Latitude. But if you want a fast business 2-in-1 with a vibrant display and long battery life, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is a solid choice.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag
Editor's Note, 2/21: This review was updated due to an error suggesting we received a 128GB SSD model in the Configuration section. We received a 512GB version, as was correctly stated in the Performance section.