With a simple dark-gray exterior, the Dell Latitude 7350 doesn't stand out from the crowd -- until you open the lid. Inside is a bright, 13.3-inch full-HD display that converts from laptop to tablet with a tug of a latch. Our configuration features an Intel Core M processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which makes this Latitude a plenty capable work partner. While I wish the tablet had ports of its own and didn't need the extra battery inside the keyboard to reach its combined 10-hour battery life, overall I was pleasantly surprised by this unassuming, business-oriented 2-in-1.
Like many business machines, the Latitude 7350 is understated but sturdy, with a dark-gray aluminum case on the outside and a matte-black plastic deck on the inside. A closer look reveals a beefy hinge with a latch on the left side that allows the screen to disconnect from the keyboard. I just wish this action felt a little less clunky.
In tablet mode, the 7350 couldn't be simpler. The front is all black except for the silver Dell logo along the bottom. While that means there's no home button on the front, Dell resolves the issue by adding a home button to the right edge, above the volume buttons.
The only other feature, aside from a lone headset jack, is the power button on the top side, which is recessed to prevent you from accidentally turning off your system.
Reattaching the display to its dock means slotting the tablet back onto its proprietary connector and nearby metal tabs, and waiting for a satisfying click. There are no magnets involved, so you don't have to worry about the keyboard falling off, no matter how you hold it.
The main downside to the 7350's design is its size and heft. Measuring 12.6 x 9 x 0.78 inches and weighing 3.67 pounds, it's bigger and heavier than competing machines, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet (11.5 x 7.8 x 0.56 inches and 2.4 pounds with Type Cover attached), HP's Spectre x360 convertible 2-in-1 (12.8 x 9 x 0.6 inches and 3.26 pounds) and HP's Elitebook Folio 1020 ultraportable laptop (12.2 x 8.27 x 0.62 inches and 2.68 pounds).
For resisting the inevitable bumps and tumbles of life on the road, the 7350 features a military-standard 810G rating for resistance against things like drops, shocks and humidity. Specifically, Dell says the 7350 withstood temperatures ranging from -20 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, one hour of vibrations from 10-500 hertz and elevations of 15,000 feet, all while the system is operational.
The keyboard also features a spill-proof design, so upending your soda won't destroy the machine, and a Gorilla Glass screen to protect the display against dust (IP5x certified), keys and more.
With a roomy layout and nice, springy response, it took almost no time to adjust to the Latitude 7350's keyboard. In fact, it felt better than the keyboards on most of the laptops I've tested. I blazed through 10fastfingers.com's typing test; on just my second attempt, I hit 82 words per minute, higher than my typical average of 75-80 wpm.
At 4.2 x 2.4 inches, the Latitude 7350's one-piece touchpad is well proportioned, with lots of room to move and a soothing matte finish. Mousing around websites felt natural, and it was quick to respond to clicks and gestures, such as two-finger scrolling or pinch-to-zoom.
When I first turned on the Latitude 7350, I wasn't expecting a screen this good. Its 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080 touch screen nails the trifecta of important qualities: good brightness, vivid but not oversaturated colors and nearly perfect accuracy. When I watched the trailer for the second season of Silicon Valley, the only thing that looked better than the colorful NorCal offices were Erlich's greasy curls, which shimmered around the character in all of his obnoxious glory.
The screen produces 365 nits of brightness, more than the tablet average of 340 nits, the HP Spectre x360 (339), the Surface Pro 3 (298 nits) and the dim HP Elitebook Folio 1020 (224).
The 7350 also covers a wide range of colors, reproducing 101 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That's ahead of the Elitebook Folio 1020 (95.3 percent) and the Surface Pro 3 (97 percent), and just barely behind the Spectre x360 (103.2 percent).
Lastly, the 7350 has nearly perfect color accuracy, with a Delta-E rating of 0.7 (zero is best). That's better than the Spectre x360's impressive Delta-E of 1.25.
The 7350 is also compatible with Dell's Active Stylus for note taking on the tablet without the need for the heavy keyboard dock.
The Latitude 7350's stereo speakers are located on opposite sides of the tablet's bottom edge. Music and movies sounded OK, but not better than with other tablets. When connected to the dock in tablet mode, the device's audio was slightly muffled by the dock's thick hinge.
MORE: Best Business Laptops
When I listened to Madeon's "You're On" featuring Kyan, I liked hearing the soft static at the beginning of the song and the rich soaring vocals, but I disliked the tinny highs and lack of bass.
On the Laptop Mag Heat Test (15 minutes of streaming HD video from Hulu), the hottest spot on the Latitude 7350 was the middle of the display, just above the Dell logo, which reached 94.5 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is right near our 95-degree comfort threshold, no other part rose above 73 degrees.
Ports and Webcam
One of the problems with the 7350 is that the tablet's only port is a headset jack in the top left corner of the device. For any connectivity, you need to attach the tablet to its dock, which has two USB 3.0 ports (the one on the left side has power sharing), one mini DisplayPort in back and an SD Card reader on the right. Dell also touts upcoming WiGig technology, which promises wireless connectivity so you can dock your system without cluttering your desk.
When I took a selfie using the 7350's 2-megapixel front-facing camera, the resulting photo was well exposed, but soft focus made the overall image a little too fuzzy for my liking.
With a 1.2-GHz Intel Core M-5Y71 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the Latitude 7350 can handle all but the most intense apps and programs. When I threw a typical workload of three Excel spreadsheets and five Chrome tabs with Spotify running in the background, the Latitude didn't even blink.
When we ran Geekbench 3, which measures overall system performance, the 7350 scored 4,918. That's better than the Core M-powered Elitebook Folio 1020 (3,814), but slightly behind the Core i5-powered Surface Pro 3 (5,665) and the Spectre x360 (5,614).
With its 256GB SSD, the Latitude 7350 duplicated 4.97GB of mixed-media files in 40 seconds, for a transfer rate of 127 MBps. That's a little slower than the SSDs in the Surface Pro 3 (145.5 MBps), Spectre x360 (141.4 MBps) and the Elitebook Folio 1020 (182 MBps), but still acceptable.
When we used OpenOffice to match 20,000 names and addresses, the 7350 completed the task in 5 minutes and 21 seconds. That's faster than the Elitebook Folio 1020 (6:36), but a little behind the Surface Pro 3(4:43) and the Spectre x360 (5:04).
With its integrated Intel HD graphics 5300, the Latitude 7350 easily powered its way through a few rounds of casual trading-card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft at its native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 and medium settings. Cards flowed smoothly from my hand onto the game board as I battled my way through the first wing of Blackrock Mountain. But when I tried to play Diablo III: Reaper of Souls at the same settings, the 7350 struggled to stay above 30 frames per second.
When we ran 3DMark's Fire Strike graphics test, the 7350 scored 512. That's behind the HP Spectre x360's mark of 710, but ahead of the Surface Pro 3's score (459) and the Elitebook Folio's showing (403).
On the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi), the Latitude 7350 delivered a somewhat disappointing battery life of 5 hours and 14 minutes in tablet mode, 3 hours less than the tablet average of 8:23. The saving grace is that when attached to its keyboard dock, the Latitude 7350's endurance shoots up to 10:11. That's longer than the HP Spectre X360 (9:28), the Elitebook Folio 1020 (7:31) and the Surface Pro 3 (7:27).
With an Intel Core M-5Y71 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, our $1,641 review unit fits between the $1,199 base model (with a slower Intel Core-M 5Y10c CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD) and the $1,808 top-of-the-line model with an Intel Core M-5Y71 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
Optional components include an 8-megapixel rear camera, a fingerprint reader, NFC, a SIM card slow, a Smart Card Reader and a built-in LTE/HSPA+ modem.
For keeping sensitive information away from prying eyes, Dell offers multiple security options, such as an NFC reader, Smart Card Reader, fingerprint scanner and even a FIPS-validated, tamper-resistant TPM chip for storing cryptographic keys. There's also Dell's Data Protection (DDP) suite, which can encrypt data locally and to other endpoints, prevent malware, and provide advanced authentication options in conjunction with DDP Security Tools.
Software and Warranty
Every Latitude 7000 comes with the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 Pro. Microsoft Office comes pre-installed, but aside from that, our 7350 review came free of bloat and ready to go.
Dell features optional extras, such as its Data Protection and Encryption software (starting at $20) for secure centralized auditing and information reporting, and a data-recovery service (starting at $52.50 for three years) to help owners recover information in case their storage goes belly up. The 7350 also supports Intel vPro, so IT managers can update entire fleets of machines simultaneously instead of one at a time.
All 7000 systems also come with a standard three-year warranty, which includes on-site service after remote diagnosis. This can be extended up to five years with Pro Support Plus support for next-business-day, on-site service for $382.
As a tablet, the Latitude 7350 feels like a semi without its trailer. While the device has a big, bright touch screen, it lacks ports and has poor endurance. But when you connect its dock, you get the full, big-rig value, with multiple ports and double the battery life -- not to mention a comfortable keyboard and touchpad.
Although our $1,641 review unit feels a little pricey, the Latitude 7000 series starts at just $1,199. While it's a little heavy and not very sleek, you get more utility than with a traditional laptop, with decent Core M performance to boot. Unless you really need the featherweight portability of something like an Elitebook Folio 1020, the Latitude 7350 is a good choice for business versatility.