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24 July 2018

REVIEW: Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 Laptop

The business tablet

We're returning once more to the world of Dell computing; a place where increasingly the business types who frequent their products are getting funkier and more demanding. In stark contrast to the toned-down and down-right ordinary laptops like the Dell Vostro 14 5000, we're looking at something a tad more flexible - the Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 Laptop.



We've not always been the biggest of fans of 2-in-1s; those high-powered (yet usually ugly) Windows tablets that come with a detachable keyboard cover. To be honest, they tend to be just as thick as a thin laptop, weigh just the same, and are often less comfortable to use. This isn't a problem is you're using a 2-in-1 to watch media and jot out the occasional tweet, but for business users who are typing all day and night... seriously, why bother?


That is what we thought prior to getting hold of the Latitude 5290 2-in-1, however. Although the name leaves a lot to be desired (there is also another laptop from Dell called the 5290 - come on Dell, actually name your products something like the 'Nighthawk' or 'Powerhouse' or 'Business Bastard') the shape of the unit itself is quite pleasing. The tablet itself might be a simple stab of slightly curved glass and metal, but in the hand it feels great, is refreshingly light, and features a slim bezel around that crisp 1280p screen.

The detachable keyboard cover is also pretty decent. As we're predominantly writers here at TTP, keyboards are important and we found the Latitude 5290's to be large enough to type on for a few hours at a time, while also giving enough compression on each key. It isn't fantastic, by any leap of imagination, and we found ourselves longing for a real keyboard after a few hours, but it isn't terrible in any way, either.


It's slim, too, and all folded up and held together by concealed magnets, it makes for a tidy package. We like how the kickstand can be adjusted through several angles, to help you find a good view, and also how it can be folded back to reveal hidden ports for both a SIM and SD card.

Running Windows 10 the Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 performed just like a normal laptop, and at no point did we think about it in any other way. 8GB of RAM keeps the Intel Core i5-8350U quad-core processor running quick and smooth, while the 256GB solid state drive was big enough that we never had to concern ourselves with additional storage. In terms of ports (something that 2-in-1s usually lack due to a reduction in usable space), the 5290 scored reasonably well, with one USB 3.0, and two USC-C, one of which acting as the power input. There is also the typical headphone jack and security lock port, and the aforementioned SIM and SD slots, not to mention Bluetooth, NFC, and Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. All good stuff, all very useful.


The downsides here are two-fold in our opinion. First, this is damn pricey, starting at £1200. Ouch. Obviously, as it is primaril pitched as a business machine, it is hoped your boss or IT manager would buy it for you, but even then we feel there are cheaper Windows 10 2-in-1s out there. Also, and this is an age-old bug bear with 2-in1 devices, the Dell Latitude 5290 2-in-1 Laptop can only really be used on a flat surface, if you're wanting to use the keyboard. That flexible, detachable link means the keyboard will wobble about on your knee, while the kickstand requires a firm, flat surface to keep the device upright. If you're a usual knee-typer, this ain't for you.

That said, for a travelling business person who only really has to type while at a desk, but who requires the flexibility of a hand-held tablet, this is great (especially if someone else is picking up the bill).

From £1200

Visit www.dell.com



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