Dell has taken the wraps off the Latitude 13 7000 2-in-1, the company’s latest model for executives who want a highly portable laptop that can also be used as a tablet.
We got some hands-on time with a prototype at the official unveiling event, and bring you these first impressions.
Like many 2-in-1s, the Latitude 13 7000 Series has been designed to be used primarily as a laptop with the keyboard dock attached. When functioning alone, the tablet is usable, but the USB 3.0 ports, SD 4.0 card reader, and video-out port are built into the keyboard. This makes the tablet something to take to a meeting, or home at the end of the work day, but the keyboard dock will be needed for most productivity tasks.
The 13.3-inch screen will have a 1920×1080 (FHD) resolution. It’s an IPS display, so it has wide viewing angles and supports 10-point capacitive touch. It’s also going to support Wacom pen input, though it won’t come with a stylus.
When functioning as a tablet, the Latitude 13 7000 Series will be 1.9 pounds, which will make it just a bit heavier than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which has a smaller display. The weight is well balanced across the unit.
The large display will leave plenty of room for a keyboard and generously-sized trackpad. Preliminary tests of the keyboard found nothing to complain about – it’s about what one would expect from a Latitude model.
Adding the keyboard will bring the total weight up to 3.7 pounds. Part of the extra weight is a built-in battery designed to extend the time this computer can run before needing to be plugged in. At this point, Dell isn’t committing to any battery life estimates, other than to say this device is expected to last the whole day on a single charge.
The design of keyboard docks like this one is a balancing act … literally. It’s important for them to be lightweight, but hefty enough to provide a stable platform to hold up the display. This model skirts the edges of almost being too light, but doesn’t go over the edge. Still, it’s a bit back heavy in laptop mode.
The keyboard dock doesn’t include an Ethernet port, and there is no rear-facing camera on the tablet.
Dell intends to offer the Latitude 13 7000 2-in-1 Series in a range of configurations. This includes Windows 8.1 64-Bit or Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit running on either an Intel Core M or Core M vPro processor. There will be up to 8 GB of DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM, and up to 512 GB in storage in a solid-state drive.
Naturally, the overall performance of this device is going to vary depending on the exact configuration. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to put the prototype through our benchmark tests during our brief preview.
Dell says the Latitude 13 7000 Series is going to start at $1,199.99. The final price will go up from there, depending on configuration.
Given that this is relatively good-looking computer with decent specs, much of its success will depend on whether companies and professionals begin embracing 2-in-1s as a product category. Just as important is Microsoft being successful convincing corporations to begin supporting Windows 8.1.