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Dell Latitude 5290 2-In-1: All Work And No Play, But In A Good Way

This convertible is squarely aimed at businesses and professionals and does that job well.

Over the years, Dell has become synonymous with laptops. So much so that no matter the price range or the kind of laptop one is looking for, there are always one or two options from the device-maker to be considered. The range of products from Dell is something that works to its advantage and while its laptops may not always be the best-looking or the lightest ones in the business, they are very functional. So when we got an opportunity to review a Dell product aimed at enterprise customers and serious professionals, we took it. Enterprise machines needn’t be great lookers, but need to come packed with features and security cover. The Dell Latitude series is for serious buyers and the price reflects that too. The ‘2-in-1’ Dell Latitude 5290 is what we tested.

A convertible for enterprise? Don’t be surprised. The Microsoft Surface Pro, the first name among high-power convertibles, has been used by professionals for a while. A powerful convertible can suit the needs of big enterprises as well as start-ups and executives who are mostly mobile.

Design features

While we are on mobile, the Latitude 5290 felt a little on the heavier side. Nothing to balk at, and still very portable, but it felt at home in a backpack rather than a briefcase when we carried it around. That little extra weight also deters you from holding it up for too long and it is best set on a desk or a flight’s tray-table (it’s the perfect size for it). It even has a neat kickstand on the back that pops open when pressed down thanks to two little buttons and tilts 150 degrees to give users display flexibility. The dark grey and black aluminium body is quite rugged and Dell told us that it was built to withstand drops and rough use, which we most certainly did not test.

The 12.3-inch touchscreen is adequate for work and although some may prefer a larger screen, that would take away the portability of the Latitude 5290. Protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, the display is bright and vivid, and very easy on the eye. You can work away on the device for hours together without a strain and given the crisp brightness and clarity, we actually enjoyed working on it — yes, even the mundane documents and excel sheets. The 1920 x 1280 resolution also renders pictures and videos very well and this where you start to wish the screen was larger to enjoy the images more.

Ports and buttons are functional and well placed. The power button is on the top right, when the device is held horizontally, with the magnetic dock for the keyboard at the bottom. The left has a regular USB port and two Type-C ports that are also the charging docks. Once the kickstand is flipped open, you discover that the Latitude 5290 has a microSD card slot placed below. Overall, the device feels solid to hold, and provides a firm grip.

Specs and working

Underlining its tablet credentials, the Latitude 5290 gets bells and whistles like a gyroscope, a compass, and an accelerometer. But the real deal is the eighth-gen Intel Core i7 processor that powered our review unit. It supports remote management and is in general built for heavy-duty tasks. During our experience with it, there was hardly a hiccough or a stumble in the laptop’s functioning and it handles heavy-duty internet browsing, including multiple video-streaming tabs, with ease. Touch was also silky smooth without a glitch and the stylus that came with review unit (to be purchased separately otherwise) glided across the screen when highlighting and making notes. The stylus however, is mostly for office use, so designers and artists may have to look elsewhere. The keyboard, which is sold along with the laptop at no extra cost, is quite light and it does the job. However, the faux leather feel and the plastic-y nature of the keys and the touchpad don’t go well with the Latitude 5290’s premium credentials. But it works well, with adequately spaced keys offering good travel. It is also back-lit. Like some other components, it feels similar to the Microsoft Surface’s keyboard.

Battery life on the laptop is what one would expect from such machines — about four hours, after a full charge. It isn’t great shakes, but will suit those flights and cab-rides well. Customers can also purchase the Dell hybrid adapter power bank that can juice up not just the laptop, but other devices as well, apart from doubling up as an adapter. A useful addition, but Dell could consider offering these accessories bundled with the laptop at discounted prices.

On the enterprise front, the machine comes with a number of security features like TPM 2.0 as standard, and other optionals like the Dell Data Security and Management Software. On the hardware front, a touch fingerprint reader is optional. The Dell SupportAssist is a handy application that helps run a diagnosis of the machine and also gives you update alerts.

Dell claimed that the machine can be an all-rounder and while the display backs that claim, audio is one department where the Latitude 5290 fell short, despite the presence of Dell Waves Maxx Audio Pro. The speakers sounded weak and can hardly fill a room up. The 8 MP and 5 MP camera set does a good job and can be handy for conference calls as well as for sharing quick images.

All in all, the 2-in-1 Latitude 5290 is up there with the Microsoft Surface and has been designed for highly mobile professionals. It’s pricey but a number of top-notch specs and features, including the eighth-gen Intel Processors, justify that to an extent. If work is worship, this is a good altar, but if you are looking for more than just work, maybe consider praying elsewhere.

Price: 1,09,990 (plus GST, includes keyboard)

Pros: Great display, top specs and hardware, enterprise applications and security

Cons: Battery isn’t stellar, slightly heavy, weak audio

– The Hindu Business Line

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