Design

The Latitude 5000 series does not have the sleek lines of an ultrabook, but rather the understated look of a business class PC. The exterior of the device is matte black, with a soft touch top. The hinge will open 180° but the device does not sit flat when opened to that degree. Overall, it is a fairly pedestrian design as compared to some of the flashier devices sold by others, but it would not look out of place in a board meeting. I am a fan of smaller laptops, so the 12.5 inch model is a good fit personally, but those wanting more real estate can look at the 14 and 15 inch models that are also available.

One thing that stands out on the E5250 model is the amount of display bezel, which feels even more pronounced after seeing the Dell XPS 13 at CES. The sides are not too bad on this laptop, but the top and bottom bezels are very large in order to cover the keyboard and trackpad. There is so much space there that the device is almost asking to have a taller display available, but it seems like the 16:10 display fight has been lost. It is really too bad, especially on a business notebook where spreadsheets and documents would really benefit from the taller display, as opposed to consumer versions where they may be used with more video content. It is hard to fault Dell here though, as it is likely the availability of 16:10 displays has diminished quite a bit, but Apple is still outfitting its laptop line with 16:10 so they are still out there.

One positive element from Dell is the keyboard. Another benefit of not going for the slimmest device ever made is that there is sufficient room to fit a good keyboard. The keyboard in the Latitude E5250 is to be commended with good travel, solid feel, and a nice amount of resistance. It is one of the highlights of this device, especially after becoming accustomed to the keyboards in a traditional ultrabook. The model we received does have optional backlighting but my only complaint with the backlighting is that it does turn itself off rather quickly. Swiping the trackpad will bring the lights back on, and the timeout is configurable in Dell's software.

Speaking of the trackpad, it is one of the better trackpads I have used. ALPS seems to be the maker, and Dell has their own custom software to configure it. The trackpad has a textured surface that is very easy to glide over but at the same time precise. It is not a clickpad either, with dedicated left and right click buttons underneath the trackpad. I personally prefer this, but it does give up trackpad real estate and on a smaller laptop like this it does restrict how large the trackpad can be. It is still a good device though, with smooth motion and accuracy that many devices lack. The trackpad supports up to four finger gestures, but out of the box only one and two finger gestures are enabled.

While the design of the Latitude 12 5000 is not as stunning as other devices like the XPS 13, it carries itself as a no-nonsense work machine, which is what it aims to be. All of the functional aspects of the device are top notch, with a positive keyboard and trackpad, and the thicker chassis allowing a real Ethernet port as well as a docking port. The weight is reasonable but not as light as some consumer focused devices. One aspect to push it on a more positive note would be if it was available as a 16:10 device as well.

Introduction System Performance
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  • dsraa - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    I agree, the performance is ehh, or right in the middle, and styling is really basic and boring looking. I wouldn't buy this over HP or Acer's S7 which above this dell in almost every respect. Reply
  • cwolf78 - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    Agree fully on this. The company I work for is going to the E7440's as their default laptop. We used the E6400, E6410, E6420, then E6430 before going to these. A dramatic leap forward in every aspect except performance (compared to the E6420/30). But the increased battery life, quite operation, and lighter weight are a good trade-off. The E7440 does have all around decent performance, but does tend to bog down with a lot of stuff open (especially CPU intensive tabs in Chrome). We're using the i5-4310U, 8 GB of RAM, and 14" 1080p IPS multi-touch screen. Reply
  • cwolf78 - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    Ugh, wrong post >_< Reply
  • angrypatm - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    Why the concern about styling, it is a machine/tool for the workplace, not a fashion statement. If it 's not the thinnest or shiniest, will you be looked at any differently by coworkers. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    Yeah, but how are thermals on the HP> From what I've seen in recent years, HP machines across the range have had chronic, repeated issues with cooling, and either throttling or hitting TjMax and hard shutting down. To me, that makes the laptop design a complete failure.

    Seriously, make the laptops work well, reliably and cool before you style it up.

    Secondly, this is Dell's mid-range business line. If you want style, get an XPS13 instead. I for one much prefer having something that looks ugly and isn't prone to being stolen or even glanced at twice instead, plus, docking port, that works with the 2009 docks is a nice touch (Looking at you Lenovo, HP).
    Reply
  • ABR - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    I sure wish PC manufacturers would start to put more emphasis on SSDs. As here, they aren't there by default, and the available options tend to be small and expensive. It feels like it's still five years ago. This is one area where I wish Apple's example were followed more widely. Reply
  • nerd1 - Tuesday, January 20, 2015 - link

    Please stop drinking apple kool-aid. Every company now provide factory-installed SSD options and unlike apple they are standard size so you can put your 500GB SSD which was as low as $150 during last BF. Reply
  • SuperVeloce - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    I agree if design allows for 16:10, they should use it. What I don't understand is why would you compare those dualcore HT laptops with mac retina quad in benchmarks... Reply
  • Brett Howse - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    " I have included the Retina Macbook Pro and HP Stream 11 to bracket the scores with a higher wattage quad-core part and a low wattage Atom part"

    Just to give a performance example of something that is actually a quad-core part. I also included the Stream as a comparison of Haswell-U vs Atom.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Monday, January 19, 2015 - link

    It doesn't make any sense as rMBP 15" is totally different size, price and OS league. There are enough 13" laptops with qm CPU, or $800 laptop with qm cpu, or both. Reply

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