Business laptops have been getting sexier and thinner, and Dell is taking that to the extreme with the $1,743 Latitude 13 7370 ($1,299 starting price). This notebook sports the same striking, bezel-free display as the XPS 13, giving you a 13-inch screen in a compact, 12-inch chassis. To make it business-friendly, this Dell business laptop is built tough with carbon fiber and aluminum, and it offers important security and manageability features. However, to get the svelte size, you'll have to accept mediocre battery life and ho-hum performance from the Latitude 13's Core M processor.
Every business notebook should be as sleek as the Dell Latitude 13 7370, with its rounded edges and no-frills looks. The carbon-fiber-and-aluminum construction feels like it can take a tumble.
Buyers can pick from two versions of the lid: a dark, gunmetal, aluminum lid (standard) or a black, soft-touch, carbon-fiber one that is only available on models with a 3200 x 1800 display. My colleagues preferred the look and feel of the carbon fiber, but I really like the metal. Both lids feature Dell's logo in black.
Opening the notebook reveals the black, soft-touch deck; trackpad; island-style keyboard; and a 13-inch, almost bezel-free InfinityEdge display borrowed from Dell's XPS 13.
At 2.7 pounds and 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches, Dell's ultraportable is light enough for constant travel but heftier than some competing machines. Both Apple's 12-inch MacBook (2.03 pounds, 11 x 7.7 x 0.52 inches) and HP's EliteBook Folio G1 (2.1 pounds, 11.5 x 8.2 x 0.47 inches) are smaller and lighter. Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is slightly larger, at 13.1 x 9 x 0.65 inches, but weighs just a little less, at 2.6 pounds.
Ports and Webcam
If your corporate IT managers are preparing for the future, they'll love the ports on the Dell Latitude 13 7370. The left side includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports (one of which it uses for charging) that support the burgeoning number of USB Type-C peripherals on the market. Next to those are a micro-HDMI port and a SIM card slot for using mobile data.
On the right side is an SD card reader, audio output, a USB 3.0 port for all of your existing peripherals and a security lock slot.
The 720p webcam is a disappointment. In bringing the XPS 13's beautiful InfinityEdge display to the Latitude line, Dell also ported over its ill-placed webcam, located on the bottom-left corner of the bezel. This will leave your call partners looking right up your nose. It's not a good look.
I took a few photos of myself with the camera and found that although the pictures' colors looked accurate, the photos had a lot of visual noise and missed a lot of detail. Images from the HP EliteBook Folio's camera, for example, are much sharper, albeit a little dark.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard on the Latitude 13 is comfortable, but I made a few more typing errors than usual. Its 1.53 millimeters of vertical travel and 63 grams of required force to press the keys are solid measurements for an ultraportable, but in practice, I found the keys sticking slightly, causing me to make mistakes.
Though I was able to type at an average pace of 105 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com test, my error rate doubled from 2 percent to 4 percent.
The 3.9 x 1.8-inch touchpad is spacious enough to navigate the web, two-finger scroll through long documents and use more complex gestures, such as a three-finger swipe down to minimize that game you were playing when your boss walks by.
Security and Durability
The Intel Core M processors Dell uses in the Latitude 13 7370 feature Intel vPro system management technology and TPM encryption for your data. An optional fingerprint reader allows for biometric logins. Dell's ControlVault stores authentication data on its own processor, and Dell's Command software (see below) provides a simple way to monitor the health of your computer.
Dell claims that the Latitude 13 7370 meets MIL-STD 810G durability standards, which means that it can handle humidity, shock, high altitudes and extreme temperatures.
I tested two displays offered on the Dell Latitude 13 7370: a 1080p nontouch screen and a 3200 x 1800 touch screen. When I watched a trailer for Captain America: Civil War, both monitors produced bright, vivid images, though they weren't always completely accurate.
The quad-HD display is significantly sharper -- I could catch more of the individual debris falling around T'Challa on that screen -- and it showed off more vibrant hues. Iron Man's suit popped more on this screen as he chased War Machine through the sky. The 1080p display had wider viewing angles (up to 90 degrees), because its display isn't glossy; the quad-HD screen became too reflective to see at just 45 degrees.
The 1080p screen has a slightly yellow tint, whereas the quad-HD display skews slightly blue. If I had to pick, I'd prefer the quad-HD screen. But either way, Captain America's blue helmet and armor looked a little off.
The quad-HD Latitude 13 7370 was just brighter than average, at 307 nits (the category average is 305 nits), while the 1080p version measured a luminous 395 nits. The MacBook hit 327 nits, while the HP EliteBook Folio G1 (377 nits on 4K; 288 nits on 1080p) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 (292 nits on 4K; 257 nits on 1080p) were in the same ballpark.
Both versions cover wide swaths of the sRGB color gamut. The quad-HD model shows off 117 percent, while the 1080p version shows off 107 percent. The category average is just 88 percent. The HP EliteBook Folio 4K option bested Dell, at 161 percent, but its 1080p configuration displayed just 72 percent. The 12-inch MacBook with Retina display tied the lesser of the two Dells, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (104 percent on 1080p; 103 percent on 2560 x 1440) had similar scores.
The Latitude 13 7370 fell way behind in color accuracy, with Delta-E scores of 6.1 on the quad-HD screen and 9.5 on the 1080p display (closer to 0 is better).
If you need a little background music while working at your desk, the Dell Latitude 13 will get the job done. I listened to Dessa's "Fighting Fish" and was surprised by -- and enjoyed -- the power that came out of the speakers, which performed well on the vocal-heavy song. Mids and highs were crisp, and lows were decent.
The Dell Audio app has some presets for Movies, Music, Gaming and a default using MaxxAudio. I found that the Music preset boosted the bass on the Latitude 7370. If you're so inclined, you can also drag sliders for treble, bass, dialog and more.
The Latitude 13's Intel Core m5-6Y57 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSDs make for a pretty capable machine, but it's not a workhorse. I had just seven tabs open in Chrome -- one of which was streaming a 1080p segment of "The Tonight Show," when web pages started to stutter as I scrolled through them.
On Geekbench 3, an overall performance benchmark, the Latitude 13 7370 notched a score of 4,891, which is lower than the ultraportable category average of 5,034. The Core m5-powered Apple MacBook (5,906), Core i5-6300U-powered ThinkPad X1 (6,828) and Core m7-powered HP EliteBook Folio G1 (6,706) all achieved higher scores.
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The Latitude 13's SSD transferred 4.97GB of mixed media in 29 seconds, for a rate of 173.9 MBps. That's faster than the category average of 147.1 MBps and the HP EliteBook Folio G1's score (162.2 MBps), but both the MacBook (355.9 MBps) and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (419 MBps) were significantly swifter.
Other laptops fared better than the Latitude 7370 in our OpenOffice spreadsheet test. Dell's laptop matched 20,000 names and addresses in 6 minutes and 56 seconds, which is faster than the ultraportable category average of 7:20. But the HP EliteBook Folio G1 (4:21), the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (4:14) and the Apple MacBook (3:11) were all significantly quicker.
You won't be doing any high-end gaming on the Latitude 7370; its integrated Intel Graphics 515 earned it a score of 42,323 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark -- lower than the ultraportable category average of 46,247. This PC is better suited for casual games like Cut the Rope and Candy Crush than the latest AAA releases. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon blew it out of the water with a score of 67,488, and the EliteBook Folio earned a grade of 65,639.
The Latitude 7370 won't last a full workday, so you'll need to stop at your desk for a charge. We tested two models -- one with a 1080p nontouch display and the other with a 3200 x 1800 touch screen. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves surfing the web continuously over Wi-Fi, the 1080p model lasted 7 hours and 53 minutes on a charge, while the quad-HD version endured for 6:21. Both are lower than the ultraportable category average of 8:05.
HP's EliteBook Folio G1 fared worse, at 7:02 with a 1080p monitor and a paltry 4:35 on its 4K touch screen. The superstars in this category were the 12-inch MacBook (9:38) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9:06 on a 1080p screen, but just 7:57 on a 2560 x 1440 display).
The Latitude 13 7370 got a bit toasty when we streamed HD video from Hulu for 15 minutes. The touchpad was cool, at 76.5 degrees Fahrenheit, but the underside hit 102 degrees, which is over our 95-degree comfort threshold. The spot between the G and H keys also surpassed that comfort zone, with a measurement of 96.5 degrees.
Software and Warranty
The Latitude 7370 is light on preloaded software, which is typical for business laptops. Candy Crush Soda Saga and Flipboard are the only pieces of bloatware, while Dell offers a few settings programs, such as Command Update, for periodic BIOS and driver improvements and Command Power Manager for optimizing battery life.
Dell offers a standard three-year warranty with the Latitude 13 7370. For an extra $76, you can boost that to four years, or for $139, you can extend it to five years. Plans that include 24/7 phone support range from $76 for three years to $153 for five years, and ProSupport Plus warranties that cover accidental damage range from $163 for three years to $261 for five years.
Both of the Latitude 13 units we reviewed have Intel Core m5-6Y57 processors, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSDs. One has a 1080p display and costs $1,743, while the other has a quad-HD screen and is $2,270.
The $1,299 base model features a Core m3-6Y30 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a 1080p display. On the pricier end of the spectrum, you'll find a $2,785 version with a Core m7-6Y75 processor, a 3200 x 1800 display, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, as well as a carbon-fiber lid rather than the standard aluminum.
Based on our testing and the available options, the version we tested with the 1080p display will provide a decent mix of battery life and power for the money.
The Dell Latitude 13 7370 is the latest competitor in a field of business notebooks that are finally catching up with consumer laptops in style and sheer portability. But this machine is about more than looks; it's durable and secure, and sports an excellent InfinityEdge display. Plus, unlike superthin ultraportables such as the Apple's 12-inch MacBook and the HP EliteBook Folio G1, this Dell gives you all the ports you need.
Unfortunately, the Latitude's Core M performance isn't blazing, and the battery life of the quad HD+ model is well below average. The EliteBook Folio is faster and more portable, and has a much better keyboard. HP's laptop is also a far better deal, starting at $999 with a better base configuration (Core m5 versus m3) and costing just $1,235 and $1,425 (over $500 less) when similarly configured. If you want more oomph for your money and longer endurance, the Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a better deal, but it's also much larger. However, if you want a superthin, 12-inch business laptop with regular USB, the Latitude 13 7370 is a solid choice.