From a well-rounded spec sheet to robust security features, studious types will find a lot to like with the Latitude E7470
Solid performance, crisp display, lots of ports, security conscious, comfy keyboard
Troublesome trackpad, average Intel graphics, configurations can be costly
THE LATITUDE E7470 is the newest addition to Dell's popular and workmanlike 7 Series. So if your aging workhorse is due an upgrade does it do enough to put it next on your wish list?
Hardware and design
The Dell Latitude E7470 measures 335x232x19.4mm and weighs 1.42kg, making it slim and lightweight. The chassis has been crafted out of magnesium alloy, while the lid feels rubbery but solid.
The black finish is almost Lenovo-like in its appearance and a magnet for grease. The crisp 1080p edge-to-edge display adds some shine to what would otherwise be an almost bland, business-ready device.
Despite its sprightly dimensions, the Dell Latitude E7470 is bulging with connectivity options. Chief among them are 1x HDMI, 1x mini display port, 3x USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, Ethernet, 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1.
This is a particularly impressive feat considering the Dell Latitude E7470's ultrabook status, and we especially like the placement of the Ethernet port in the hinge. Subtle touches like this, plus the blue that decorates some of the keys and the carbon-fibre effect on the lid, raise the E7470 above the usual tried and tested Latitude design. A docking station connector lives on the underside.
The speakers are capable of producing high volume, but we found bass response poor and lacking in depth.
It's a tough little unit too, having achieved military standards for durability, ruggedness and reliability. A narrow rubber frame surrounds that beautiful 14in screen adding an extra layer of protection.
The display is probably the new Latitude's standout feature. There are touch and non-touch options, as well as a choice of 1366x768, 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 resolutions.
The QHD display looks especially gorgeous, full of crisp detail and a bright, rich colour palette. Quite why anyone would opt for the lowly 1366x768 resolution in this day remains a mystery.
The touch screen gets an extra layer of protection courtesy of Gorilla Glass NBT, but viewing angles suffer slightly as it lacks the anti-glare coating of the alternative panel.
The keyboard feels satisfying to the touch, and the buttons curve slightly which makes it comfortable to use even after several hours. The backlighting is not the brightest we've seen, but at least the keyboard is spill-proof so the internals are protected.
We had high hopes for the trackpad given Dell's pedigree but found this one troublesome at times and prone to phantom behaviour such as wandering cursors. Tweaking the sensitivity helped a little, but we ended up turning it off when we needed to knuckle down for extended periods.
Various hardware configurations are available. Our test model came with an Intel i7-6600U CPU (2.6GHz), 8GB of RAM and a nippy 256GB SSD. If you're looking to reduce the cost there's an i5-6300U (2.4GHz) option with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
The Dell Latitude E7470 uses the standard, run-of-the-mill integrated Intel HD 520 graphics you'd expect from a business-ready laptop. This is fine for the majority of tasks, but wouldn't be the top choice for those with graphics-heavy requirements.
The Latitude E7470 was whisper-quiet in everyday use, and even juggling multiple video files couldn't force more than a low whirr from the fans.
The four-cell 55Whr battery is said to provide up to nine hours, but we got nearer to seven. Happily the E7470 ships with a compact power adapter (not the brick-like devices normally associated with Dell's XPS line), so it's perfect for travelling too.
If you want more, an optional Dell Portable Power Companion offers a further 18,000mAh of juice. That's enough to power your laptop along with two other devices at the same time.