Starting Configuration Price
Compact and light, with grippy silicone coating. Plenty of ports, from Thunderbolt 3 to HDMI and Ethernet. Handsome 1080p display. Ample pep and battery life.
Expensive. Slightly cramped keyboard. Base model offers only 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
- Bottom Line
If you're shopping for a business laptop and portability is your top priority, Dell's capable13.3-inch Latitude 7380 is a pricey but lightweight solution.
You can't get the Dell Latitude 7380 (starting at $1,199; $2,178 as tested) in silver or rose gold the way you can its ultraportable sibling, the Dell XPS 13. The Latitude's magnesium alloy frame is strictly business black. But there's a lot of the XPS 13's DNA here, especially its grab-and-go convenience. It doesn't top the comfy keyboard and 17-hour battery life of our Editors' Choice business laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad T470, but its light weight and wide connectivity options make its a top pick for those who work primarily on the go.
Dell advertises the 7380 in similar terms to the XPS 13, calling it a 13-inch laptop in a 12-inch chassis (although the Latitude, while it has narrow screen bezels, finds room for the webcam above instead of below the display, avoiding the notorious up-your-nose angle of the XPS 13's camera). The 7380 also resembles the Latitude 7370, but carries a more potent 15-watt U-series rather than 5-watt Y-series (aka Core M) Intel processor.
At 0.68 by 12 by 8.2 inches, the 7380 is indeed trimmer than most 13.3-inch notebooks (the Toshiba Portege X30-D, for example, is 0.63 by 12.4 by 8.9 inches), let alone the ThinkPad T470 (0.79 by 13.3 by 9.2 inches). It's not the lightest machine in its class, weighing 2.6 pounds to the Toshiba's 2.3 pounds and the LG Gram 13's 2.01 pounds, but it's effortless to toss into a briefcase or tote in one hand (though its AC adapter will fill the other hand).
The Latitude's design is free of frills, unless you count the chrome-circled Dell logo on the lid and the XPS 13-style near-full-width nonskid feet instead of the usual four rubber dots on the bottom. But it offers a positive plethora of ports, from future-friendly Thunderbolt 3 (with USB-C and DisplayPort functionality) to old-school Ethernet. The former is on the laptop's left side, along with an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port, and the AC power connector.
The latter is on the right edge, along with another USB 3.0 port, an audio jack, micro SD and SIM card slots (mobile broadband is a $139.30 option), and a Noble lock slot. A SmartCard slot and fingerprint reader are $35 extra; WiGig, to complement the standard 802.11ac and Bluetooth wireless, is $10.50; and a Windows Hello-compatible face-recognition webcam is a $14 option.
Our test unit is equipped with the regular webcam, which captures nicely lit and detailed images. The bottom-mounted speakers don't get loud enough to fill a room or deep enough for rich bass, but deliver clear vocals and accurate instruments with cranked-up music.
Nice Keys in Nice Places
We like the Latitude's backlit keyboard, too. It's slightly cramped (the A through apostrophe span is a quarter-inch shy of the desktop regulation 8 inches) and slightly shallow, but has a crisp typing feel that helps you get up to speed with only a little extra precision and practice. The cursor arrow keys are small, but in the preferred inverted-T rather than row arrangement, and there are dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys—items we often miss on larger laptops.
A function-lock toggle (Fn+Esc) lets you choose whether the top-row keys default to system settings such as audio volume and microphone mute or to F1, F2, and the rest. The wide touchpad works smoothly, with two comfortably soft-touch, silent buttons for left and right clicks.
Our 7380's screen offers full HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution and an anti-glare finish that softens light reflections from above and behind, although reflections of objects in the room appear when viewing the display from extreme angles. Not a touch screen (a touch panel with the same resolution is a $70 option), the display boasts ample brightness and well-saturated colors with high contrast. Windows' out-of-the-box 150-percent zoom is a good match for the screen's 13.3-inch size, though we opted for slightly finer details by dialing back to 125 percent. The screen folds almost all the way back to flat, so you'll have no trouble finding a comfortable angle for work in your lap.
Dell preloads the 7380 with Windows 10 Pro and a handful of tech support utilities and backs it with a three-year warranty with on-site service after remote diagnostics.
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Components and Cost
The $1,199 Latitude 7380 base model has a modest Core i3 CPU and skimpy 4GB of memory and 128GB solid-state drive. Our system is optioned up to $2,178 with a 2.8GHz Core i7-7600U processor with vPro manageability support, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB Samsung PCIe SSD—enough to bust most private buyers' wallets, though this Dell is more likely to be bought for execs on the IT department's dime. Still, the Latitude is a healthy example of the ultraportable price premium; when we configured a comparable ThinkPad T470, it came to $1,538.
The 7380 was a solid performer in our benchmarks, beginning with a score of 3,189 in our PCMark 8 Work general productivity test—soundly ahead of the Razer Blade Stealth (Late 2017) for work in the likes of Microsoft Office or Google Docs, though half a step behind the Toshiba Portege X30-D.
Its time of 3 minutes and 16 seconds was 15 to 40 seconds ahead of the field in our Adobe Photoshop image-editing scenario, though it settled for what amounted to a five-way tie for second place—behind the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro—in the CPU-intensive Cinebench test and Handbrake video-editing workload. The MacBook Pro also swept our Heaven and Valley game simulations amid generally lackluster turnout—you can play solitaire and casual games on the Latitude, but its integrated graphics just aren't designed for serious gaming.
The 7380 lasted a strong 13 hours in our battery-rundown test, good enough for the bronze medal behind the ThinkPad with its optional extra-life battery (17:39) and the Apple (16:36). The Razer brought up the rear, lasting just 8 hours.
A Top Pick for the Short List
All told, the Dell Latitude 7380 makes a strong run at unseating our top business laptop pick, the Lenovo ThinkPad T470. It's obviously lighter and more compact than the Lenovo, and its design and build quality are as impeccable as its features list is long. The T470 keeps its crown, however, for its value proposition along with its spacious 14-inch screen, longer battery life, and extraordinary keyboard—we like the Latitude's keyboard, but we're in love with the ThinkPad's.
Other Dell Laptops & Notebooks
By Eric Grevstad Contributing Editor
Formerly editor-in-chief of Home Office Computing, Eric Grevstad is a contributing editor for PCMag and Computer Shopper, where he earlier served as lead laptop analyst and executive editor, respectively. A tech journalist since the TRS-80 and Apple II days, Grevstad specializes in lightweight laptops, all-in-one desktops, and productivity software, all of which he uses when commuting and telecommuting between PC Labs and a cat-filled home office in Boston. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EricGrevstad…. More »
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