Dell Latitude 13 7370 review: Dell’s straight-laced XPS 13 alternative is the bee’s knees
Dell Latitude 13 7370: Display
If you ruled out the XPS 13 because of its glossy screen, then Dell’s decision to equip the Latitude 7370 with a matte, anti-glare coating will be a definite plus. Most of the preconfigured models come with a perfectly adequate Full HD display, but pushing up to the range-topping £1,740 model earns you a QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 screen, not to mention the fastest available Core m7 chip and a larger, 43Wh battery.
The Full HD display on the model I’ve reviewed is fine, if not especially impressive. Purists will rightly gripe about the dynamic contrast – if colour accuracy is key, it’s a significant downside – and there are other reasons to moan. The anti-glare coating tends to make images look a little soft, and colours lack punch and vibrancy, although the peak brightness (278cd/m2) and contrast ratio (1,324:1) are decent. The overall quality is good enough for everyday office applications, but, if you’ve spent time with the XPS 13’s high-DPI display, or any of Apple’s Retina displays, you’re likely to be underwhelmed.
Dell Latitude 13 7370: Performance and specifications
Eagle-eyed readers may have already spotted where the Latitude 7370 deviates from its XPS-branded sibling: it’s powered by Intel’s low-voltage Core M processors. This isn’t the shortcoming you might imagine; in most situations, you’re desperately unlikely to notice the difference between these and Dell’s Core i laptops.
Unless you subject your work laptop to heavy, extended workloads – virtualisation, video editing, that kind of thing – for the whole working day, the Core M’s ability to crank up the clock speed to deliver brief surges of power is the perfect compromise between performance and battery-friendly power consumption.
Depending on your budget, you can buy yourself a Latitude 7370 in vPro-enabled Core m5 or m7 flavours, and take your pick of 128GB or 256GB M.2 NVMe SSDs. Whichever you choose, you’ll get 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Prices start at a fairly considerable £1,414 inc VAT and work up to around the £1,740 mark, at which point, as I mentioned earlier, you get an upgrade to the QHD+ screen, a faster Core m7 CPU and a carbon-fibre lid.
Dell sent me the Full HD Core m5 version for review, and it put in a very decent performance. A score of 22 overall in Alphr’s benchmarks is exactly what we’d expect from a Core m5 device, and while it drops around 85% behind the Core i7 XPS 13 in the multitasking benchmarks, it’s a much less dramatic 35% to 40% slower in the video-transcoding and image-processing tests. That might sound like quite a margin, but, in reality, the super-quick NVMe SSD does a great job of masking the processor’s shortcomings. It was only once I’d got Photoshop CC to churn through some heavyweight filters that I began to miss the beefier Core i7 processor in the Dell XPS 13.
Battery life isn’t astonishingly good, but it’s good enough to last most of a working day. In our video rundown test, the screen is calibrated to a brightness of 170cd/m2 to ensure comparability with other mobile devices, such as tablets, and a video is played back continuously until the laptop expires. In these conditions, the Latitude 7370 lasted 7hrs 6mins, which is 52mins fewer than the XPS 13. However, given that the XPS 13’s battery is nearly 70% larger, it’s actually quite impressive, and a good indicator of just how efficient the Core M processors are.
Dell Latitude 13 7370: Connectivity and security
Dell has done a great job of covering the connectivity and security side of things. The Intel Wireless-AC 8260 provides 2×2 stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC, and the option to tack on integrated 4G for an extra £82 is welcome.
It’s great to see that physical connectivity hasn’t fallen by the wayside. There’s a single full-sized USB 3 port, which is backed up by microSD, two USB Type-C ports – both of which are Thunderbolt 3-capable – and micro-HDMI. A physical fingerprint reader and full-sized smart card reader round off the selection.
Dell Latitude 13 7370: Verdict
The Dell Latitude 7370 is not without rivals. HP’s Elitebook Folio 1020 was stratospherically expensive when it first launched, but has since dropped dramatically in price, not least due to the arrival of its successor, the Folio G1, and it has the measure of the Dell in several departments. Search around a little and you’ll be able to find the 1020 for significantly less than the Latitude 7370.
Then there’s the Dell XPS 13. Several people in the Alphr office have an XPS 13 as their go-to business laptop, and, as long as you can live without the security options of the 7370, it’s a much cheaper, and dramatically more powerful, alternative.
Despite this, the Dell Latitude 7370 is a superb business ultraportable. It’s expensive, but, once you take into account the fantastic build quality and its excellent array of features, not to mention the three-year on-site warranty, it’s not hideously overpriced. Suffice to say, if you’re looking to buy a light, portable laptop that’s purpose-built for a life in and out of the office, it gets most things right.