Gadgetslab: Dell Latitude 10

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dell latitude 10dell latitude 10 1Walk to the nearest coffeeshop, if you aren’t at one already. Done? Okay. Take a look around. Chances are, among the patrons at the random cafe you find yourself, a sizeable number of them have tablets, and for good reason. Tablets are handy, let you create and consume data, and tuck away neatly in a bag with only a little extra weight. The thing is, most of the tablets in the market carry a neutered version of one operating system or another. This severely limits the applications available to the user, and sometimes, there just isn’t enough there to do the kind of work people hope to do when on the move.

Dell has always been a little ahead ofthe curve when it comes to innovation. Their answer to the problem of convenience and productivity is the Latitude 1 0. The Latitude 10 is a full Windows 8 laptop, sans the keyboard. This does a lot to cut down on weight, while maintaining the full power of a whole Windows machine.

The device itself is a simple affair. It is mostly a 1 0-inch screen and hardly anything else. There are minimal buttons on the slate, with a power button on the top edge, right beside a rotation lock button and integrated card reader, the volume rocker on the left edge, power plug on the bottom and a USB port on the right. The sides and back of the device are covered in a grippy, rubberized plastic that aids in keeping the admittedly chunky tablet in your hands. It’s still very usable, and quite a fair bit lighter than all but the lightest ultrabooks, so it’s still a solid win for the latitude. It fits in the hand well, and is comfortable enough for extended use without feeling like you’re training for an Olympic powerlifting event. The screen is glass, owing to the fact that there is no lid or cover to keep a plastic screen safe.

Being a full Windows 8 slate, the Latitude has the heart of a laptop. It runs a dual-core Intel Atom processor at a clock speed of 1.8GHz, 2GB of RAM and, all together, gives a Windows Experience Index of 3.3. This computer isn’t going to break any world speed records, but it is more than sufficient for daily use, particularly for those who are on the road. It’s aimed more towards word processing, data input and the occasional presentation, but has enough meat to serve up the odd HD video once you’re off the clock.

In actual use, it does serve its purpose really well. There were a few slow-down here and there, mostly brought about by another task starting in the background, while a resource-heavy task was happening up front. These were limited to the occasional hiccup while rapidly typing a document or a skip or two playing a particularly HD file, and will not likely cause much of a problem for the average user.

Windows 8 performs great on the Latitude 10. Touch commands, while needing a little getting used to, are very fluid, though precision can sometimes be an issue, ac is the case for any touch device. The tablet does come with a USB port, which spent most of its time occupied by a mouse during my review. This meant I had to plug in a hub, or swap the mouse out for flash storage whenever I needed to the port. Cloud sharing becomes more important with this device given the USB port situation and the small-ish 64GB of drive space, of which 21GB is taken up by the OS. It is an SSD though, so you get fast data access, boot times, durability and power saving.

Speaking of power, the Latitude 1 0 had more than enough power to see me through almost six hours of constant use, with the Wi-Fi on, music playing and brightness set halfway. This is great news for all of those for the road warriors among us, who require as much power in their device as possible. The power brick is also reasonably small, so if you find that the amount of juice you have on-tap is insufficient, you won’t have to bring around a massive chunk or plastic, metal and wire so you can top up again.

The Dell Latitude 1 0 is a solid slate, but if you really want to make it shine, get yourself a Bluetooth keyboard for painless data entry. A keyboard is a little more bulk, but it is totally worth it. The slate is capable of so much more than just movies, presentations and browsing the Internet. Since getting the tablet last week, I have not brought my work-issued laptop home with me, and I hardly noticed. In fact, my back and arms thanked me for the greatly decreased load. My productivity didn’t drop; I got quite a bit more writing done in the same span oftime than I ever had with the work laptop, owing mostly to the fact that I carried the tablet around far more often, allowing me to work in the little windows of idle time that somehow manage to find their way into my day.

Of all the utility the Latitude 1 0 brings, it isn’t without its shortcomings. Once I received the unit, I noticed that the “volume down” button wouldn’t click. After a few hours of use, the “volume up” button followed suit. Fortunately, both the “power” button and “screen rotation” button seem to be holding out just fine.

Another tiny problem is the lack of USB ports. A finger can only manage so much precision, and as such, a mouse is almost certainly needed to make sure you hit just what you are aiming for. This leaves other USB devices homeless. These aren’t the biggest of woes, though, and are easily overlooked by the usefulness of having a full Windows 8 powered slate at your disposal.

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First published in Gadgets Magazine, June 2013

Words by Ren Alcantara