Dell Latitude 5290
The 2-in-1 that might replace your business laptop... if you can afford it.
Now that 2018 is going to be another year without a new Surface Pro, Microsoft’s competitors are putting out new top-of-the-line 2-in-1s with the idea of making 2018 their year instead. Enter the Dell Latitude 5290 laptop, a detachable device that the Texas manufacturer hopes will capture some of that 2-in-1 territory.
The Latitude follows the typical template: it has a deployable kickstand, so the tablet portion can stand on its own, along with a magnetised type cover for easy tablet/laptop conversion, and an extralarge bezel and tactile rear panel for easy gripping.
That said, the Latitude 5290 does bring some welcome wrinkles to the 2-in-1 blueprint. It has a nifty take on the kickstand — the leg auto-deploys by holding the tablet at a 90° angle and pressing it into a flat surface. Furthermore, the kickstand flexes a full 150°, allowing for custom viewing angles and easy access to the micro-SIM and microSD card slots, which are discreetly located around the back. It also boasts a Noble Wedge lock, smart card reader, NFC and a pair of DisplayPort over USB-C connectors. A magnet on the right side secures the Dell Active Pen (sold separately for $69) to the tablet, although the magnet isn’t strong enough to survive a medium bump, so we recommend tethering the old-fashioned way.
Unfortunately, the 5290 also suffers from some of the same flaws inherent in all detachable devices. Non-flat surfaces will send your Latitude toppling unless it stays perfectly still. The screen is also a fingerprint magnet, despite the presence of anti-smudge technology.
The Latitude’s 8th-gen Intel Core i5 processor helps it achieve excellent scores in our benchmark tests. Less exciting is its 8GB of DDR3 memory — that’s only just enough — but the 256GB of PCIe NVMe storage is a solid amount of capacity and it’s a quiet and fast drive.
With integrated graphics, the Latitude isn’t trying to court the gamer crowd. It’s a workhorse: it galloped through our benchmarks. It gets top marks for its vibrant display, too. The screen’s sharp contrast and great viewing angles are real eye-savers.
However, there are a few areas where the 5290 fails to make the grade. Its battery only lasted 2 hours, 49 minutes. Dell suggests investing in its Power Bank Plus ($214) to extend the longevity away from power.
The Latitude’s keyboard is not as dysfunctional as the battery, but its small keys and shallow levels of travel make long typing sessions difficult. The touchpad and touchscreen, by contrast, are intuitive and precise.
Even as detachable 2-in-1s go, the Latitude 5290 isn’t cheap. But Dell’s theory is that your business will pick up the tab because of this laptop’s great value. In terms of performance and professionalism — a chintzy device it most certainly isn’t — the Latitude delivers.
But is it comfortable to use? The keyboard is shallow, and its coolest feature — the detachability of the tablet — makes it unwieldy to use on non-flat surfaces. The Latitude isn’t uncomfortable to use, then, but it could be more lap-friendly.
Anyone should consider the Latitude 5290. Even if it doesn’t replace a traditional laptop, it’s ideal for life on the road.
2-IN-1 FROM $3,696 | WWW.DELL.COM/EN-AU