REVIEW: Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series (E7240)

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Dell has been a long-time player in the enterprise market and its Latitude range of mobile computers are a key part of that strategy. The latest addition to the Latitude range doesn’t have the eye-catching design of convertible devices such as the company’s XPS 12, but the Latitude 12 7000 is a robust, functional and highly manageable 12.5-inch Ultrabook that is a snap to deploy, monitor, secure and update.

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DELL LATITUDE E7240

  1. This Ultrabook isn’t going to win any design awards, but it’s thin and lightweight with the 12-inch model starting at just 20mm thin and 1.3kg with a 3-cell battery that’s good for just 4.5 hours. It’s rugged too, crafted with premium materials such as carbon fibre, a tri-metal chassis and Corning Gorilla Glass for scratch resistance. The keyboard is spill-resistant too, which will appease frequent coffee drinkers.
  2. Everyday ruggedness is the name of the game. Like all Latitude laptops, the Latitude 7000 Series is subject to MIL-STD 810G testing and endure “highly- accelerated life tests” to ensure their durability. Latitude E-Family Ultrabooks are tested to survive an equivalent of 120 hours within a car in direct sunlight during summer, opening and closing every 15 minutes during work hours, and much more. Frequent travellers will also appreciate the rubber hard drive isolation for shock absorbency and the built-in free-fall sensors to prevent the loss of data.
  3. Dell’s Latitudes are amongst the most manageable of all corporate laptops. Automated tools that plug into Microsoft System Center and Dell KACE let IT managers remotely manage and update once and everywhere with Intel vPro extensions for remote BIOS management and hard drive wipe, even when systems are powered off. There are also tools to collect inventory data, enforce policies, and maintain system health. The Latitude E7240 is also backwards compatible with Latitude E-family docks.
  4. The Latitude E7240 comes with a choice of two displays – a high-definition (1366×768) anti-glare LED backlit or full HD (1920×1080) display, with the optional touch displays featuring edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass for improved scratch and damage resistance.
  5. Intel’s Identity Protection Technology (Intel IPT) with near-field communications (NFC) is built-in, allowing you to shop online and pay with just a tap of your NFC-enabled credit card on the machine. According to Intel, credit card information is transmitted more securely and faster thanks to two-factor authentication with dynamic one-time password (OTP) tokens, display protection with protected transaction display (PTD), and certificates with public key infrastructure (PKI).
  6. Integrated Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) allows the E7240 to send up to 1080p high-definition video and 5.1 surround sound to a compatible display wirelessly. Dell also offers WiGig wireless docking (requires Wireless Dock D5000) between the E7240 and a network, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other compatible equipment.
  7. Security is paramount with a corporate PC, so it’s great to see Dell has this covered with endpoint security solutions that include encryption, authentication and malware protection from a single source. You can also protect data on any device, across external media and in the cloud with Dell Data Protection (DPP). This suite enables centralised remote management, and optional authentication options including FIPS 201-certified smart card and fingerprint readers.
  8. Similar to all Dell machines, the Latitude E7240 is highly configurable with a choice of Intel Core ultra-low voltage processors (up to i7), up to 16GB DDR3L SDRAM 1,600MHz memory, Intel HD 4000 Graphics, and a 256GB solid state drive. There’s a variety of OS options available, including Windows 7, Windows 8 and Ubuntu Linux. Prices start at £781 (ex. VAT) and top out at £1,227 (ex. VAT, excluding optional security/warranty).
  9. The matte-black ‘soft touch’ finish applied to the outer casing gives the Latitude E7240 a smart look and feel, and it includes a firm, comfortable keyboard along with a 2-button trackpad (no separate pointer). A simple switch on the base of the unit allows you to pop out the battery pack and access internal components: an mSATA SSD, two SODIMMs, and a WLAN card. There’s also a slot for a broadband card. The CPU fan and heat pipes are also exposed for easy cleaning.
  10. Most of the Latitude E7240’s ports are located at the back, including power, HDMI, two USB 3.0, and Gigabit Ethernet. Optional docking ports can add legacy ports, such as serial, parallel, and PS/2. There’s another USB 3.0 port, mini-DisplayPort and headset jack on the right-hand side of the unit. A handy switch on the left-hand edge allows you to turn off the 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 and enter AirPlane Mode.
SUMMARY
  • Rugged design
  • Intel IPT, WiDi and NFC
  • Optional WiGig docking
  • Superior manageability
  • Optional touch display
  • Not very attractive
  • Touch heavy
  • Disappointing battery life
  • Too much flex in keyboard
  • Low-res screen is poor