Price (RRP): $1759-2419
The Dell Latitude 5400 is part of the Latitude 5000 series focusing on enterprise and business use. It is a little different to consumer notebooks in terms of fast charge, reliability and warranty.
When we review Dell, we generally see the Inspiron consumer range, the Vostro Small Business range, and if we are lucky the XPS uber-sexy range. The Dell Latitude 5400 is quite different.
Consumer devices are generally all about ‘eye-appeal’ to make you select one brand over the other. They are built to a price and sold via major electronic retailers.
The Latitude series – 3000, 5000, 7000, Education and Rugged are sold directly by Dell online where it is all about selecting exactly what you need via one of the best customisable on-line ordering systems I have ever seen.
Want more ram, different hard disk, optional ports – you name it? It is built-to-order in a nearby factory (Malaysia, China, Brazil, India, Ireland, and the US) and shipped directly to you. Customisation, quality assurance and consistency are hallmarks that make Dell so appealing to business.
The 2019 Dell Latitude Range
The 14-inch 5400 is a 2019 model and joins its existing 5300, 5400, 5500, 5501 on 13, 14 and 15-inch models. Dell likes to have consistency – it makes corporate ordering easy.
Dell Latitude 5400 Business Laptop
Let’s start with the options that fit into this 14-inch chassis
- Intel i5-8365U, or i7-8665u VPro class
- Intel UHD graphics 620 and Radeon 540X graphics
- 8 or 16Gb (usually using one of two SO-DIM sockets to allow for expansion)
- M.2 PCI NVMe Class 35 SSD (think mid-range speed) with options for class 40 (top speed)
- An optional 2.5-inch SATA 600, 5400 or 7200RPM 1TB SSD
- 14-inch 1920 x 1080 non-touch or touch screen
- One-year standard on-site warranty up to five-years ProSupport
- Heaps of ports and a Thunderbolt 3 option
- Standard keyboard with options for back-lit
- Intel AC9560 Wi-Fi AC and BT 5.0 or Qualcomm adapter
- 4 Cell 68Wh Express charge battery or a three-year battery
Prices for three off-the-shelf (pre-built) range from $1759 to $2419 with the obligatory Qantas Business rewards points as well. Delivery is 2-3 working days. Custom orders are usually up to 14 days.
In the box
- The Dell Latitude 5400 laptop
- Brick 19V/3.34A (64W) charger with barrel plug
Our review unit has the i7-8665U, 16GB DDR4-266 RAM, 512GB Class 35 SSD and a touch screen – cost $2419, which is reasonable value for a business class machine.
Sorry, business class may mean big seats and luxury in Qantas world but here it is very utilitarian. Basic matte grey/black, post-industrial moulded carbon fibre including up to 16.96% post-consumer recycled material, which prevents over 2 million pounds of carbon fibre annually from ending up in landfills.
Carbon fibre is good, probably better than a metal chassis and far more rugged. It is just a bit bland.
Not much more to say – typical screen with largish bezels and a large, well-spaced keyboard and trackpad. Apparently, you can also order it with a GH spot (a.k.a. IBM’s centre pointer between the G and H keys).
The LG made display – FHD, 16:9, 144ppi, 60Hz touch screen has 220 nits (typical) and 700:1 contrast. That is fine for office productivity apps under office lighting. It’s not dull, but it is not overbright or saturated either. From our quick tests, its Delta E was 2.2 (0 is perfect – 4 is bad) but don’t ask for sRGB or DCI-P3 – that costs a lot more.
The touch panel has 80° horizontal/vertical viewing to reduce office snooping.
Perhaps the recent crop of wonderful 4K, 400+ nit notebooks have spoilt me. That aside, it is clear, crisp and easy on the eye. Word and Excel documents were clear, blacks crisp and contrast
The i7-8665U has 4 cores/8 threads and a 15W TPD (10-25W). It supports 4 lane PCI devices to a maximum of 16 lanes. Passmark is a respectable 9051 and throttles to about 70% on battery.
The i5-8365U version (1.6/4.1Ghz) is no slouch either at 8245 Passmark.
These are ideal business-grade processors with the security to match.
The M.2 PCIe NVme Class 35 (2 lane PCI) was able to achieve sequential read/writes of about 1000MBps. That is about 30% of the speed of a class 40 four-lane, M2 device.
Its perfect for business use and probably saves about $200 over a class 40 device.
Radeon 540X and Intel UHD Graphics 620
It defaults to Intel Graphics for most use. When you attach an external monitor (especially 4K), the Radeon kicks in.
What is is great for is running graphic intensive tasks on an extrenal monitor.
The review model was not backlit. It has large 19mm square chiclet scissor keys (no #MacBook Butterflygate here) with a 1.5mm throw and 50g actuation – perfect for productivity.
The 101 x 55mm trackpad annoyed me at first. It has an old-style left to right bar with left and right mouse keys under it. I tap the trackpad, and every time I did it, I hit the bar – it gets annoying until you get used to it.
You can get an optional fingerprint reader on the power button.
The review unit has an IR Windows Hello camera that was, as usual, fast to recognise and unlock Windows. It also has a sliding shutter. Maximum resolution is 1280 x [email protected] and has an 87° FOV – fine for Skype.
Don’t expect great sound from 2W RMS speaker. Maximum volume was 71dB (OK for personal use). There is no bass with mids peaking between 3-7kHz – this is distinctly mid-centric, clear voice sound signature for Skype.
MaxxAudio Pro software makes little difference to the speaker but provides up to 7.1 decoding for HDMI, cabled or BT headphones. The BT Codec is SBD – no hi-res music here.
The dual mics are good for Skype.
Wi-Fi and BT
It uses the Intel AC9560 2×2 MU-MIMO adapter. At 2m from our reference D-Link AC5300 router it was 866Mbps (5Ghz) and at 10 metres dropped to 120Mbps (2.4Ghz) – pass.
It uses BT 5.0, which has lower energy use and greater range than 4.2.
There is not much room in the chassis, but it has
- HDMI 1.4b port (up to [email protected] or [email protected])
- Foldout RJ-45 Ethernet adapter
- 3.5mm combo audio
- Micro SD slot
- 3 x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps)
- One USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port (10Gbps) – Thunderbolt 3 with Alt DP is a 20/40Gbps (option)
- An LTE option is available
The review unit has a 4-cell, 7.6V, 68Wh Express charge battery. What that means is that it can use either the 19V charger or a 65W USB-C PD charger via the USB-C/Thunderbolt port. The battery has a 300 full discharge cycle. The
We only had time to run a 1K video loop at 50%, and it achieved just over six hours. That means around eight hours of typical office use.
Recharge time was four hours with the 19V brick and just over three hours with a 65W USB-C PD. Note that it did identify the use of a non-standard charger and rejected our 45W USB-PD.
Size and weight
323 x 216 x 20mm x 1.52Kg – it’s not heavy for its size, but it is a business device.
Dell provides a large range of security and systems admin software. We find the Dell Commander updater excellent. The BIOS has numerous security and secure boot features, and it has a TPM 2.0 chip and i7-vPro option.
GadgetGuy’s take – Dell Latitude 5400 is a rugged business-class device
The Dell Latitude is not sexy or svelte. It’s rugged,
That is why Dell sells truckloads of these and is a preferred supplier to many top 500 companies and Government departments.
It gets an unreserved recommendation for business use. Consumers will be more swayed by good looks – to their eventual angst.