Laptop Mag Verdict
With a modern design and phenomenal battery life, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is Dell's best business laptop yet.
Sleek, modern design
13+ hours of battery life
Proximity sign-in feature works well
Display could be brighter
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The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 (starting at $1,599, $2,802 as tested) feels like the debut of a new class of Dell business laptops. That said, it's probably best you forget everything you associate with the name Latitude and, instead, think about the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 as an XPS-turned business laptop.
There's a lot to love about the Latitude 7400 2-in-1; the convertible has a sleek chassis, ridiculously long battery life and strong performance. The keyboard and touchpad are both first rate, and a unique proximity sign-in feature will secure your laptop when you're away. However, there are a few low points, including the laptop's average display and weak speakers. Despite those quibbles, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is Dell's best business laptop yet and a warning shot to the ThinkPads and EliteBooks of the world. It's also one of the laptops with best battery life.
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 price and configuration options
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 starts at $1,599 for a base model with an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Doubling the storage to 256GB costs another $200, and from there you can bump up the CPU to a Core i5-8365U for $1,909.
Our review unit costs $2,802 and packs a Core i7-8665U CPU with vPro, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Our unit was also outfitted with a 6-cell 78 Whr battery, a worthwhile upgrade that improves battery life.
If you're not on a budget, a decked-out Latitude 7400 2-in-1 costs a whopping $3,619 when configured with a Core i7-8665U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD along with some extras, like LTE connectivity, a 78 Whr battery, a bigger 90W power adapter and security features, including a fingerprint sensor and smart card reader.
I can't believe this is a business laptop. Where is the thick black chassis with hard plastics and chunky bezels? Not that I miss them, I'm just astounded by the transformation. The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 looks nothing like the Latitude laptops that came before it.
Smartly incorporating design elements from Dell's widely acclaimed XPS notebooks, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 has a sleek machined-aluminum chassis with gorgeous detailing that will help it stand out in an office flooded with MacBooks.
You might mistake the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 for the XPS 13 the first time you see it, but there are some notable design deviations. While both notebooks flaunt a centered chrome Dell logo, the Latitude's lid has a medium dark gray brushed-metal finish, whereas the XPS is a lighter, solid tone.
The first thing you'll notice when you open the Latitude 7400 2-in-1's lid is an edge-to-edge InfinityEdge display, a now-ubiquitous feature first championed by Dell. This will hopefully appear on every Latitude laptop from now on. Gone are the thicker plastic bezels, replaced by a narrow glass frame that's just wide enough to accommodate a webcam; and don't worry, the lens is above the display.
Along with these welcome improvements are a bunch of little things that help elevate the Latitude 7400 2-in-1's chassis. For example, a delicately curved lip that outlines the laptop's keyboard gives the brushed-aluminum deck a stylish shape.
Then there's all the reflective chrome. The touchpad is outlined in chrome, the hinges are chrome and the diamond-cut edges around the chassis glimmer against the light. This effectively distinguishes the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 from budget laptops that trick you with faux brushed-aluminum materials. I also love that you can open the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 with one hand.
As a 2-in-1 laptop, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 can flip into tablet mode for drawing with the optional Active Pen stylus or into tent mode when you want to view content. The Latitude is still cumbersome to use as a tablet, but the drop hinge Dell engineered for this model feels sturdy, and the lid didn't budge when I lazily tapped on the touch screen.
At 12.6 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches and 3 pounds, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is slimmer and lighter than even the most portable 14-inch business laptops, including the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches, 3 pounds) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (13.1 x 9 x 0.7 inches, 3.1 pounds).
The re-envisioned Latitude 7400 2-in-1 may have done away with the business-like aesthetic, but it still offers most of the features you'd expect from an enterprise notebook.
To start, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 passed 13 military-grade tests, earning it MIL-STD 810G certification. All that jargon means the Latitude can withstand extreme conditions, like low temperatures, high altitude and long exposure to shock and vibration.
ExpressSign-in and Security
Debuting on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a neat security feature called Dell ExpressSign-in. Baked right into the Windows 10 Power & Sleep settings, ExpressSign-in will awaken or put to sleep the Latitude 7400 2-in-1, depending on your proximity to the system.
The feature worked as advertised once I set up Windows Hello with facial recognition. The laptop went to sleep exactly 1 minute after I stepped away and woke and unlocked a second or two after I sat back at my desk. The IR camera was quick to recognize my face and denied my colleagues entry to my system. Unfortunately, there's no way to manually lock the PC, so the Latitude remains vulnerable for at least a minute after you move out of range of the IR camera.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 supports other security hardware, though most are optional. Our review unit wasn't configured with a fingerprint sensor or smart-card reader, but you can pay extra for these conveniences. On the software front, Dell offers the Endpoint Security Enterprise program for protecting against cybersecurity threats, among other encryption and anti-malware software.
The removal of legacy ports is an unavoidable compromise when you trim down a laptop's chassis. But in this case, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 compensates for that loss by offering a wide range of modern connections. On the left side of the laptop are a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, alongside an HDMI and a USB 3.1 (always-on) input. On the opposite side, you'll find a second USB 3.1 port, a headphone/mic jack and a Noble lock slot. An optional SIM card slot is located just below the microSD card slot.
If you need additional ports, Dell suggests the new Thunderbolt Dock (WD19TB). At $330, this is one pricey add-on. However, Dell's claims that the dock can recharge your system to 80% in 1 hour is pretty impressive. I'm also a fan of the dock's two-tone matte and glossy black design.
Regarding ports, the dock has a Thunderbolt 3 input, a USB-C 3.1 port, a USB-C Multifunction DisplayPort, three USB-A 3.1 ports, a combo headphone/mic jack, an audio out input, dual DisplayPorts, an HDMI 2.0 and an RJ45 Ethernet input.
The 14-inch, 1080p touch screen on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is relatively vivid but dimmer than what we've seen from other systems.
When I watched a trailer for The Peanut Butter Falcon, the display was sharp enough that I could clearly make out the tattoos on Shia Lebouf's arms and the floral pattern on Dakota Johnson's skirt. Lebouf's faded red cap stood out against the natural greens and browns of the rural film locale, and in one scene, a campfire made Zack Gottsagen's skin glow a fierce orange. I do wish the display were brighter, as I had to squint to see some details in darker shots.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1's display covers 113.4% of the sRGB color gamut, which makes it less vivid than the panels on the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (120%), the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (201 percent) and the premium laptop category average (124%).
And at 280 nits, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1's peak display brightness is somewhat disappointing. The displays on the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (340 nits), the Thinkpad X1 Yoga (477 nits) and the category average (328 nits) are all significantly brighter.
On a positive note, I had no problems using the Latitude 7400 2-in-1's responsive touch screen to flick through websites and type URLs using the on-screen keyboard.
Keyboard, touchpad and stylus
Finally, a thin laptop with a keyboard that isn't frustratingly shallow (yes, I'm looking at you Apple). The Latitude 7400 2-in-1's island-style backlit keyboard is snappy, and the keys' fairly deep travel of 1.4 millimeters (just short of our 1.5mm preference) prevented me from bottoming out.
Still, there are a few things I'd change to get the keyboard to my liking. The keys on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1, like those on the XPS 15, are on the small side and more spaced out than I'd prefer. I also think their 71 grams of actuation force made my fingers feel sluggish, although I'm sure some people will appreciate the weightiness this gives them.
I typed at 111 words per minute with an accuracy rate of 94 percent on the 10FastFingers.com typing test. I typically type a bit faster and more accurately, but I was pretty close to my 119 wpm, 95-percent averages.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1's 4.1 x 2.3-inch glass touchpad feels great and is very responsive, thanks to the included Precision drivers. My fingers comfortably glided across the surface as I scrolled through websites and executed Windows 10 gestures, like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swiping to change windows.
The optional Dell Premium Active Pen (PN579) stylus Dell sent us works very well on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1's touch screen. I flipped the laptop into tablet mode and used my awful drawing abilities to sketch a hideous still life of a yogurt cup on my desk. My artistic deficiencies are no fault of the stylus -- the Active Pen felt smooth and responsive as I dragged it across the glass screen. There is no integrated stylus garage on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1, but you can secure the magnetic pen on either edge of the laptop when you're not using it.
The Active Pen connects to the Latitude 7300 2-in-1 via Bluetooth 4.2, which enables a customizable quick-launch button on the endcap so you can open your favorite drawing apps.
The bottom-firing speakers on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 are disappointing, to say the least. While they filled a large conference room at max volume, the sound was distorted and shrill. When I listened to City and Colour's song "Strangers," Dallas Green's soulful vocals were lifeless, sounding both muffled and hollow.
Worse still, the drums lacked weight and the cymbals were piercing. I then listened to Julien Baker's vocally driven cover of Frightened Rabbit's "Modern Leper" but had to press pause when the congested instruments began to obscure Baker's emotive voice.
Packing an Intel Core i7-8665U CPU and 16GB of RAM, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 didn't stutter once during my real-world obstacle course, which involved loading 20 Google Chrome tabs, three of which played 1080p YouTube video while another trio streamed Overwatch and Fortnite in Full HD on Twitch. Even with all that running in the background, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 didn't bat an eye when I pulled up an ESPN+ stream of women's Wimbledon 2019 qualifying.
I wasn't surprised when the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 clocked some excellent scores on our benchmark tests. The notebook notched a 17,087 on the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, beating the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (14,331, Intel Core i7-8650U), the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (14,517, Core i7-8650U) and the category average (13,089).
The 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 SSD inside the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is so fast that it transferred 4.97GB of mixed-media files in just 6 seconds for a rate of 848 megabytes per second. Other leading laptops, like the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (512GB SSD, 727 MBps) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (1TB NVMe SSD, 508.9 MBps) came close, but couldn't match that pace. The average premium laptop transfer rate is 622.3 MBps.
The Latitude didn't do quite as well on our video-editing test, needing 19 minutes and 9 seconds to transcode a 4K video into 1080p resolution using the HandBrake app. That's quicker than the premium laptop average (22:30) but not quite as fast as the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (19:01) or the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (18:38).
With an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 isn't meant for gaming or graphics-intensive programs. Regardless, you should be able to comfortably run most casual games and productivity apps.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 scored a 93,335 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark, which is considerably higher than what the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (88,501, UHD 620), the Thinkpad X1 Yoga (85,477, UHD 620) and the category average netted (86,125).
Despite those integrated graphics, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 played the racing game Dirt 3 at a steady 60 frames per second. That's above our 30 fps playability threshold, but the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (62 fps) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (64 fps) did slightly better. The category average (68 fps) is also smoother.
While it doesn't reach Dell's ambitious 26-hour battery life claims, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 fared very well in our lab. The Latitude lasted for 13 hours and 8 minutes on our battery life test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. Even some of the longest-lasting business laptops -- including the EliteBook x360 1040 G5 (8:59) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (9:07) -- don't come close to that mark.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 can't break the mold -- at least not when it comes to webcams. Like the vast majority of laptop webcams we've tested, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1's 720p lens captures dark and grainy images. A selfie I snapped in our dimly lit office exhibited accurate colors, but the smeared details in my face reminded me of Georges Seurat's impressionist painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The camera will work in a pinch, but we recommend buying an external webcam if you frequently dial into video conferences.
The bottom panel, near the hinge, is the only area on the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 that you should avoid touching when the laptop is doing some heavy lifting. That location reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a tad toasty. Otherwise, the laptop stays fairly temperate, with the touchpad (81 degrees), the center of the keyboard (83 degrees) and the center of the bottom panel (88 degrees) all staying within our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and warranty
Latitude 7400 2-in-1 owners will appreciate how little bloatware comes installed on the laptop. Dell's Command software makes it easy to scan and update your laptop with the latest BIOS, drivers and firmware. That's pretty crucial because Dell's SupportAssist app was recently updated with a patch for a critical security vulnerability. Other Dell apps include a power management tool and a MaxxAudioPro audio app with EQ controls.
The Candy Crush games, once again, make an unwelcome return to Windows 10 Pro, along with other Microsoft apps like Groove Music, Xbox Game Bar, Solitaire Collection and Your Phone, an app that lets you connect your phone to your laptop.
The Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a successful attempt by Dell to craft a modern business laptop that can go toe-to-toe with the best of its competitors.
Borrowing some of the best qualities of the acclaimed XPS series, this sleek convertible has an attractive chassis that is both thin and lightweight. Despite its portable size, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 offers exceptional battery life, a good selection of ports and a comfortable keyboard.
If I could change anything about the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 it would be the laptop's poor speakers and average 1080p display, which is not as bright or vivid as competing panels. That leaves the door open for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5, two excellent convertible business laptops that share many of the same qualities as the Latitude 7400 2-in-1.
But overall, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is a highly recommended convertible for those who value portability -- and what will hopefully be the new standard for Dell business laptops.
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8665U|
|Graphics Card||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Hard Drive Size||512GB|
|Hard Drive Type||M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 SSD|
|Highest Available Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Thunderbolt 3, Noble Lock, Headphone/Mic, HDMI 1.4, microSD card slot, USB 3.1 Gen 1|
|RAM Upgradable to||16GB|
|Size||12.6 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.3 inches|
|Wi-Fi Model||Intel Wireless-AC 9560|
Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.