Windows 8 has been with us for about few months now, and despite being the first consumer release of Windows which is optimized for both touch and non-touch interfaces, the supporting hardware from a touch-interface point of view has been basically non-existent. Sure, there’s the Surface, but trying to get it here in India isn’t exactly straightforward. Thankfully, Dell’s stepped in and released the Dell Latitude 10 Tablet. Dell sent me a review unit & I had a chance to play it for a week. Let’s see how it fares.
The Dell Latitude 10 is based on Intel’s Atom Z2760 (Codenamed Clovertrail) processor & runs Windows 8 Pro, not the RT edition. Here’s some more detailed specs
- Processor: Intel Atom Z2760 @ 1.80GHz
- Main memory: 2GB DDR2 SDRAM
- 64GB SSD
- Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator
- 10.1″ IPS screen with 1366×768 resolution
- Expansion & Misc ports: 1xUSB, 1xHeadphone out, 1xMini HDMI, 1x MicroSD, 1xMicro SIM slot
Packaging, Looks, Build Quality & Weight
The Latitude tablet was packaged in a box very similar to the one which came with the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook. The box was a laptop briefcase-esque carton, thought unlike the XPS 13 carton, there was a lack of foam padding. Inside the “briefcase” was the tablet placed in the cardboard box. The box contents were minimal — the box featured just the tablet and the power adapter and power cord. The absence of other accessories is surprising, considering the expansion options that the tablet has — especially with the presence of mini HDMI port. A bundled mini-HDMI or a Mini-HDMI to HDMI converter would have have been much welcome.
With an all-black body the Latitude looks pretty slick. The front of the tablet gets a big 10.1″ highly glossy reflective screen, with a GorillaGlass protection, while the back of the tablet has a more subdued, matte-grey with rubber finishing to prevent slippage. There’s a pretty thick bezel however, that tends to detract from the looks of the tablet.
The rounded corners on the tablet edges mean that you wouldn’t run into any sharp cuts. The Latitude 10 weighs in at about 650g for the 2-cell battery version. However, the review unit came with the optional 4-cell, 60Whr battery, tipping the weighing scales at a hefty 820g. With either versions, it’s practically not possible to operate the tablet with one hand, and you’ll definitely not be using it as a bed-side device for reading.
For a tablet, the Latitude comes with a bunch of connectors – you get a USB port, a mini-HDMI port, headphone jack, a microUSB port for charging, and a dock connector. In addition, there’s also support for a SD card and a microSIM port. The microSIM slot, however, is very easy to ignore and dismiss – much like cell phones, the microSIM slot is under the battery which also makes hot swapping SIM cards impossible. Despite these connectivity options, you’ll have to invest in your own cables and accessories — Dell, in it’s infinite wisdom thought it was a great idea to skip out on all cables and leave you with the job of getting your own cables.
Touchscreen, Display & Audio Quality
Touchscreens generally make or break a tablet – I’ve played with few el-cheapo tablets which gee-whiz-bang specs, only for me to not look at them at all because of their pathetic touchscreen response. With this in mind, I’m very happy to say that the Latitude’s touchscreen is simply fantastic. There was nary a touch that went undetected. To make things even better, the the Latitude’s 10.1″ IPS screen is simply brilliant. Though not in the same league as the iPad’s Retina displays, one glance at the screen with Windows 8’s Start Screen & Live tiles on and it’s near impossible to turn away from the screen. The combination of the brilliant display and fantastic touchscreen response means that you’ll find it very hard to keep your hands off the tablet. The weight of the tablet, however, will make you want to keep it down on the table, or attached to a dock however.
To achieve the fantastic display quality, however, Dell’s opted for a highly reflective, glossy screen. I’m not a huge fan of glossy screens – the light reflection tends to hit my eyes hard, and with my vision problems, causes unwanted strain on my eyes. The Latitude is no different, with even a tubelight lit overhead will result in tubelight rays bouncing off the tablet and hitting your eyes. To make matters worse, the screen is also huge fingerprint magnet – just a day of swiping about and the screen was coated with my fingerprints. I had to resort to using my LCD screen cleaner to keep the fingerprints at bay and I suspect this is likely to be a daily affair.
The Latitude’s audio quality wasn’t too bad. The built-in stereo speakers were loud enough to be heard on a average sized room and performed well. There’s only a 3.5mm jack for connecting a headphone/earphones. The tablet also comes with a 2MP front facing camera & a 8MP rear camera with LED flash. I didn’t get a chance to try out either of the cameras, so I can’t comment on the picture quality.
Performance And Battery Life
When I first discovered that the tablet features an Atom processor – I wondered what sort of performance I should expect from it. Traditionally, Atom processors aren’t exactly known for the processing prowess. The newer Atom processors codenamed CloverTrail however – performed admirably well. The response of the tablet was pretty zippy, and there was no sign of lag even with a bunch of Modern UI apps running in the background. I didn’t bother running any of the traditional PC-based benchmarking programs, since the scores will be low and there’s no real way to compare the numbers against anything else. Suffice to say, the Tablet was able to cope up with most content consumption activities – be it using YouTube, watch a hi-def movie using VLC or anything else for that matter – the tablet just hummed along fine
Battery performance on the tablet was just brilliant. Throughout my week-long review period, I charged it just once, with an average usage of 2-3 hours, on WiFi. With continuous usage, I think it’s fair to assume that the tablet should last a business day quite easily. Granted, this was on the 4-cell, 60Whr battery, but even on the regular 2-cell battery, the tablet should easily give you about 5-6 hours of battery backup.
Pricing And Conclusion
With all of these goodies, the Dell Latitude’s pricing isn’t too bad – it retails at Rs 47,290, excluding taxes and comes with a 1-year warranty. While strictly not an Apples-to-apples comparison, the current gen iPad with 64GB capacity and 4G is priced at about Rs 52,000 to give you a fair idea where it stands at.
Ultimately though, the Dell Latitude 10, while being a great device, doesn’t seem to be targeted at the home/average user. With the Latitude branding that’s popular among corporates, the security features make it clear that that’s their target audience. Which is a shame because with a little bit of tweaking on the price, the Dell Latitude 10 can be a worthy alternative for the iPad, especially if you don’t want to give up on your existing Windows applications, while simultaneously trying out the Modern UI apps that Microsoft is going with the road ahead.
- Great battery life
- Great display and touchscreen performance
- Great build quality
- Highly reflective screen which is also a fingerprint magnet
- Weight adds up at the higher end of the tablet