US PC MAKER Dell launched its lineup of Intel Haswell powered Latitude business laptops and ultrabooks on Tuesday, showing off an entry level Latitude 3000, a "task working" Latitude 5000, and a more portable Latitude 7000 ultrabook for what the firm calls a "mixed product environment".
But what really took our fancy was the Latitude 7000 ultrabook, which comes in a choice of 12in and 14in screen sizes and offers a touchscreen display in a very slim carbon fibre chassis.
We got some hands-on time with the smaller and more portable 12in model in the Latitude 7000 series, which Dell touts as a "redefined thin and light corporate laptop", to see how it fares in terms of design and performance on first impressions.
Design and build
Measuring 20mm thick, the Latitude 7000 is a very slim and desirable looking machine. Its charcoal grey finish gives it a premium look and also feels pretty nice in the hand, thanks to its carbon fibre chassis that makes it feel soft to the touch while offering a good grip. There's also a honeycomb design on the lid, for those who want a work device that looks a little different.
That said, the chassis does feel rather hollow and plastic in parts, despite its "tri-metal" construction, a term Dell uses to describe the device's mix of materials, such as the aluminium support in different areas of the chassis for reinforcement as well as a magnesium frame in the LCD panel. However, the plastic construction helps keep the device's weight down, as it weighs a rather light 1.3kg.
The Latitude 7000 felt robust despite its plastic hollow feel, which surprised us, so we'd expect it to withstand a few knocks, which is especially important when lugging an ultrabook from work to home and back again.
The Latitude 7000 ultrabook comes in two screen size options of 12.5in and 14in. Our hands-on was with the 12in model, which supports a resolution of 1920x1080 and touchscreen commands.
Our short experience with the Latitude 7000's screen proved enjoyable, with no concerns over resolution quality. A poor quality display can be a factor that really lets down an ultrabook, but there are no worries about that with the Latitude 7000, as even on close expectation there were few pixels visible around text.
Touchscreen commands seemed responsive too, with the screen responding instantly to all our commands when swiping from one page to another. Images displayed on the screen looked vibrant, with decent colour representation.
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