Dell Latitude 10 review

The Dell Latitude 10 comes with Windows 8 Pro, and lasts up to 20 hours without an external battery dock.
Photo of Dell Latitude 10

The Dell Latitude 10 ($1,146.98 direct bundle, $749 alone) tablet has a laser-tight focus on the corporate business. While other manufacturers are trying to follow where the Windows tablet space is going, Dell is trying to lead the Windows tablet space down a path it knows well: serving the corporate user. The Latitude 10 has several IT and corporate-friendly features that differentiate it from the other systems in the tablet space. All-day battery life, corporate Windows compatibility, and extreme portability are the traits that make it our new Editors’ Choice for business tablets.

Design and Features
The Latitude 10 is a very compact tablet, with a 10.1-inch IPS (In-Plane Switching) capacitive touch screen. The frame is made of magnesium alloy, but the exterior is covered in a soft-touch material. The front of the tablet is a seamless piece of Gorilla Glass. The Latitude 10 measures about 11 by 7 by 0.41 inches (HWD) and weighs under a pound and a half with the standard battery, making it very portable. The bottom of the system has a micro-USB port which can be used to charge the unit if you don’t have the supplied charger that plugs into the docking port. This makes it very handy if you forget your Dell charger at work but still have the micro-USB charger for your phone.

Around the other three sides, you’ll find a full-size USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader, volume control, power button, mini-HDMI port, and a Kensington lock port. Unfortunately, the USB port isn’t the speedier USB 3.0, but it will fully power external hard drives, something that can’t be said about one of Dell’s rivals, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 ($729 list).

The IPS screen has a 450-nit rating and a 1,366 by 768 resolution. This makes it bright, but the resolution is lower than true 1080p HD. This means that the screen natively displays less pixels than the Editors’ Choice for Windows 8 Slate tablets, the Microsoft Surface Pro ($999 list), which has a 1080p screen. That said, at this size, 1,366 by 768 is perfectly adequate for viewing Word, PowerPoint, and other work documents.

You can drive a 1080p external monitor using the Latitude 10′s mini-HDMI port or via the system’s productivity dock. The $100 productivity dock comes with four more USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and power connector. The Latitude 10 supports dual monitors, whether you connect directly or use the HDMI port in the dock. Like most Windows 8 setups, spanning and mirroring dual displays are supported. The front mounted webcam is 720p HD/2MP, and the rear camera with flash is 8MP.

The Latitude 10′s screen supports 10-finger touch gestures, plus you can add a $34 Wacom stylus to your purchase. The Wacom stylus supports pressure sensitivity, right click, and erase. This is similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro’s stylus, and is actually better than the Lenovo Tablet 2′s stylus, which lacks the eraser function. When you bring the stylus tip near the screen, it activates the Wacom digitizer and disables the touch screen. This way it won’t register your hand or palm when you try to draw on the Latitude 10′s screen. It would have been nice to have a way to clip the stylus to the Latitude 10 directly, but you can use a case or your pocket to store the stylus when it’s not in use.

Our review unit also came with a $50 Dell KM632 wireless keyboard and mouse combo, extra $50 power adapter, $40 case, and a $55 60Whr extended battery from Dell, bringing the bundle total to $1,146.98. The external keyboard and mouse help the Latitude 10 act more like a desktop when plugged into its docking station, and we’d recommend the dock if you work from a desk for significant periods of time. Keeping an extra power adapter in your travel bag will help keep your tablet charged, as will the extended battery. This highlights one of the Latitude 10′s biggest differentiators among its rivals: It uses replaceable batteries, bucking the sealed battery trend popularized by the Apple iPad
and continuing through the HP Envy X2 and Acer Iconia W510-1422. As seen below, the extended battery can give you more power without the added bulk of a keyboard dock.

The Latitude 10 has three storage options: 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of flash storage. You can, of course, supplement this with a SD card, but you will need to choose wisely when initially equipping your tablet. When we took the Latitude 10 out of the box, Windows reported that it had 36.8 out of 52.2 GB free. This is certainly enough for a few corporate apps with some room left over for document storage, but you should consider getting the 128GB model if you need to carry lots of video files along in your journeys. The 32GB units should be limited to those who are constantly connected and using Internet cloud storage or corporate servers for storage. You can get to those servers via 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi or using the HSPA+/3G WWAN radio in our review unit. As an option, 4G LTE will be available after this month, but the 4G LTE and Wi-Fi-only models will not have the GPS circuitry found in our review unit.

As befits a corporate-oriented system, the Latitiude 10 didn’t come with any pre-loaded apps aside from Skype and a tile from Dell showing users how to get started with Windows 8. This helped with the Latitude 10′s free space, which was much better than the 28GB left free on the Acer Iconia Tab W510. Other IT-friendly features include TPM for network and file security. Dell offers an even more secure version of the Latitude 10 with a fingerprint and smartcard reader built in. The Latitude 10 comes with a one-year standard warranty, which can be extended to three years with options including pro-level 24/7 support.

Performance

You wouldn’t expect barn-burning multimedia benchmark results from a system with 2GB of memory and an Intel Atom Z2760 processor, but on the flip side the Atom processor is very frugal with battery consumption. The Latitude 10 scored relatively high on CineBench R11.5 (0.55 points), matching the HP Envy X2. It also got one of the better Atom-based scores on our Handbrake video encoding test (6:27). Its 1,291 point score on PCMark 7 was middling, far behind the Microsoft Surface Pro (4,768 points) and its ultrabook-class competitors. Basically, if you need a fast system, go with one of the ultrabook-class slates like the Surface Pro or Acer Iconia W700.

If you need Windows program and Windows corporate network compatibility with all-day computing, then the Latitude 10 is right up your alley. The Latitude 10 lasted 9 hours, 20 minutes on our battery rundown test using the standard slim 30WHr battery; it lasted a phenomenal 19:38 using the extended 60WHr battery. The HP Envy X2 fell far behind with and without its battery-clad keyboard dock (7:08/12:34), and the Acer Icona W510 was a bit better alone (10:27), but was short with its keyboard battery dock (17:50). All of these Atom-powered systems lasted many hours longer than ultrabook-class tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro (4:58) and Sony VAIO Duo 11 (3:09). The only drawbacks to the extended battery are that the battery sticks out of the back of the Latitude 10 by a few mm, and add a bit of weight (1.87 pounds). That said, the Latitude 10 is still much more portable than the three-pound HP X2 and Acer W510 when you clip on their keyboard docks.

If battery power, maximum portability, legacy program compatibility, and IT mandates are keeping your business from rolling out tablets, then take a long hard look at the Dell Latitude 10. It can fulfill your traveling workers’ need to stay on the corporate programs and servers, while giving them extreme mobility. It’s more of a stay-in-touch and information-retrieval device than a multimedia workhorse, but if your workers are clamoring for tablets, and Mordac the Preventer is keeping Windows RT, iPads and Android tablets off your corporate network, then the Dell Latitude 10 is the one you want. If you want more power for multimedia and number crunching, then the Editors’ Choice for Windows 8 slate tablets Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro is a better performance tablet, but its battery life is half that of the slim Latitude 10. As such, we award the Dell Latitude 10 with our first Editors’ Choice for Business Windows 8 Slate Tablets for its IT-friendly features and true all-day battery life.

BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the Dell Latitude 10

COMPARISON TABLE
Compare the Dell Latitude 10 with several other laptops and tablets side by side.

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Specifications
Screen Resolution 1366 x 768 pixels
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8 Professional
Dimensions 11 x 7 x 0.41 inches
Weight 1.45 lb
Processor Speed 1.8 GHz
Screen Size 10.1 inches
CPU Intel Atom Z2760
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 128 GB

Verdict
You need to work all day and into the night, and you need to be mobile from office to office, whether that's across the building or across the state. The Dell Latitude 10 can help. It can interface with your corporate network, servers, and programs, while giving you up to 20 hours of continuous battery life.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc