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Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 review: A solid rival to Microsoft Surface Pro

The Dell Latitude laptop is a true workhorse and, apart from occasional lags, the laptop never breaks a sweat - but it isn't cheap

Aparna Banerjea  |  New Delhi 

Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1, laptop
Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1. Photo: Official website

When it comes to mini work stations, 2-in-1 are the most liked by millennials. Especially for writing or quick note-taking in class, are becoming a need for students, corporate professionals and workaholics of today's time. If you are looking for a light, all-purpose and portable computer for use on the go, the new Latitude 5290 2-in-1 fits just right for you.

Priced at Rs 109,990 (including keyboard) the Latitude 5290 2-in-1 is Dell's latest attempt at making a Microsoft Surface-style machine for business and leisure.

The laptop is fully loaded. It comes with a functional design — there is a detachable keyboard with tablet display and security features. The company has mostly been known for its consumer and business computers, but it is projecting the Latitude 5290 2-in-1 as a worthy alternative to Microsoft's Surface Pro or Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet. Does the device match the claims? Let's find out.

Design and display

The laptop looks good and polished in its sleek black colour. However, the look and feel of the laptop is similar to the Surface Pro with a branding. The only striking difference is that the Surface Pro is polished in silver for the most part. Other than that, the aesthetics and design of the laptop are almost identical.

Earlier, Microsoft had claimed the Surface Pro would deliver the 'versatility of a laptop and a creative studio', and seems to have picked the catchline well and produce a solid rival. Weighing 857 g, which is almost 100 g more than the Surface Pro (2018) model, the Dell laptop does feel heavy at first. But for everyday use you easily get used to the weight and carry it around with no hassle.

Moreover, the 12.3-inch laptop comes with a kickstand and detachable keyboard. The tablet supports a display with a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The kickstand can be adjusted up to 150 degrees, giving a perfect stand for drawing. Once placed at a particular angle, the kickstand is sturdy and gives proper support to the device on a flat surface. The mechanism behind the hinge is amazing and deserves all the praise. The kickstand tries hard to remain steady on non-flat surfaces, but often topples over when kept on, say, bed or lap.

Apart from that, when held in the landscape mode, the Latitude has the power button at the top and magnetic connector for the keyboard at the bottom. On the left side, there is a headphone jack, volume buttons, a USB port and two USB Type-C ports. On the top right, there is a Windows button to go to the Start menu. Another very interesting feature added is the micro SD card slot at the base, just beneath the kickstand. Exploring this small little feature at the base — at the expense of exaggerating a little — gives you a Narnia experience.

Coming to the display, the 12.3-inch laptop with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels, makes colours vibrant on the screen. It is very comfortable to the eye and easily adjusts to the surrounding light. Although the surface leaves a lot of fingerprint smudges on the screen, it can be easily cleaned and does not affect the display of the laptop.

Performance and battery

We tested the device with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor, U Quad Core with 16 GB RAM, and the latest version of Windows 10 Pro pre-installed. Powered by Intel Integrated UHD Graphics 620 (8th Generation Intel Core), the laptop came across as a delight to work on. I was able to perform a couple of simultaneous tasks like writing a report, browsing the internet with several tabs open in the browser, and streaming online music. And yet there was no lag in performance. The HD resolution was great: I tried my hand at 'Rise of Tomb Raider'; although it worked well and gave around 20 fps on HD resolution, it seemed uncomfortable to play on the tablet. Plus, the keyboard of a tablet is always more delicate than a laptop's sturdy keyboard.

Talking of battery, this is easily a major drawback. The laptop fares poorly on this count. Given that Dell is known for its long battery backup in its laptops, the Latitude comes as a disappointment. The battery drains quickly, but on the brighter side it also charges quickly. Most of the times, working rigorously for three hours was found to drain the battery to as low as 10 per cent, though there was no compromise on the performance level.

USB adapter

USB adapter

The company does provide a heavy power bank and one mini power bank to solve the issue temporarily. The power bank — not bundled with the laptop — provides another 3 hours of backup for one shift of charging. It is a multipurpose power bank that also helps charge your phone and other gizmos. The hybrid adapter power bank costs you an additional Rs 14,500.

Apart from these accessories, the company also provides a Dell USB-C Mobile Adapter – DA300. Sold separately for Rs 6,500, this USB adapter has a variety of port options, including HDMI, DP, VGA, Ethernet and USB-C. In addition to the compact design, the adapter does not compromise with the 4K resolution.

Power bank, stylus

The stylus, the two power banks (all sold separately)

Keyboard and Stylus

As mentioned above, the keyboard is bundled with the laptop. The stylus, on the other hand, is not. It comes separately and costs you Rs 4,500.

The back-lit keyboard is for light use only. Light use here means you would definitely find an extensive typing task a hassle because of its shallow keys and more actuation while typing for long hours. Your fingers may get tired after a while. Moreover, the look and feel around the keyboard does not give much of a premium feel. It is just a decent keyboard, and not a solid one at that.

The stylus, on the other hand, is well built with an easy and smooth grip. But, it lacks the bevy of features that a Surface Pro Pen can provide. It is a normal working stylus, which provides basic features of writing smoothly on the tab, erasing, etc. However, it is very handy for students taking notes or for those who simply like to scribble on the Surface Pro device with the pen, maintaining their journal, highlighting points, etc. The pen seems to work effortlessly on every application.

Verdict

The 2-in-1 laptop is really impressive and definitely a worthy competitor to the Surface Pro. Even price-wise, this laptop is more affordable than the Pro, whose highest model costs around Rs 182,999. Even then, the product might seem a little overpriced, given that it has a cramped, shallower keyboard and a disappointing battery life.

First Published: Mon, December 03 2018. 16:48 IST
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