Dell Latitude 10 review: Touch tablet meets business desktop
- 28 February, 2013 11:10
The Latitude 10 tablet is aimed mainly at business fleets and corporate users, which explains a lot about its construction and feature set. For one, it has a rugged outer body -- magnesium-alloy frame, Gorilla Glass face -- wrapped in the same soft-touch cladding as a Lenovo ThinkPad. At 1.43 pounds, it's no burden to carry. And though its 10.1-inch, 1,366-by-768 screen is a bit small for a desktop replacement, it's fine for tote-around, tablet-style use. The optional docking station even lets you attach an external monitor.
Another reason why the Latitude 10 is a replacement for modest desktops is the system specs: 32-bit Windows, 2GB of memory, and a dual-core Intel Atom Z2760 processor. It's not a speed demon. Plus, the internal storage is limited to 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB. Then again, given how corporate workloads are slowly migrating from the desktop and into the cloud, this hardware might well be a good fit for most current business applications. Furthermore, the unit barely generates any heat.
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Three SKUs for the Latitude 10 lineup -- the Essentials model, the basic Productivity edition, and the Enhanced Security version -- sport features designed for different classes of users. The Productivity and Security models support an advanced four-cell battery (60 watt-hours, as opposed to the default 30), optional WWAN through a variety of carriers, and TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and Intel's Platform Trust Technology. The Security SKU also provides smart-card and fingerprint readers, but all models include support for Computrace antitheft technology, which is available as an option. Our model didn't have the fingerprint reader or card slot.
If you plan to use the Latitude 10 on an actual desktop, get the docking station ($100). This combination dock and viewing stand can be used to attach the unit to a full-sized screen and keyboard/mouse combo (one of which, the Dell KM632, shipped with our review unit) or simply as a charging station and desktop stand. Ports for USB, HDMI, and Ethernet are in the back of the base, but the single USB port up front should probably be kept clear for thumb drives and the like.
Adding a separate display is a good idea for desktop use, since a) the screen isn't that big, and b) the dock only has a limited range of viewing angles for the unit. In fact, the tilt action for the dock connector seems mostly for the sake of allowing the unit to mate easily with the dock, not for adjusting the viewing angle. Sitting close to the unit even at maximum tilt feels awkward.
Other options for on-the-go versatility include a Kensington KeyFolio Bluetooth keyboard and case combo. For further ruggedness, you'll eventually be able to add a Griffin Survivor protective case.
A Windows 8 tablet plus a docking station typically equals a notebook -- see the Acer Iconia for an example on that score. The Dell Latitude 10 is a Windows 8 tablet whose optional docking station turns it into a fair substitute for a modest desktop system. The additional business-grade features ramp up the value even further. At the same time, though, the price begins to approach that of better-performing hybrids and Ultrabooks.
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