Dell's Latitude 14 3000 is a solid travel companion for workers. With its optional extended battery attached, the system runs for more than 10 hours, making it one of the longer-lasting business laptops on the market. Plus, it packs solid security, a durable design and fast performance. It would be easier to recommend if it came with a more comfortable keyboard and a nicer display, but the Dell Latitude 14 3000 (starting at $449, reviewed at $1,024) is still pretty decent for the money — though there are better options.
Frequent travelers will love the Latitude 14's long battery life, but they may not be thrilled by its relative heft. The system weighs in at 4.4 lbs. (with the extended battery attached). That's noticeably heavier than rival systems like Lenovo's 3.8-lb. ThinkPad T460 or the 3.97-lb. Toshiba Tecra C40. HP's EliteBook 745 is more portable than any of those systems though, weighing just 3.4 lbs.
The Latitude 14's extended battery adds nearly a full inch of thickness to the laptop's back end. The tilt is no big deal — in fact, it actually makes typing more comfortable — but the extra thickness could be an issue when you're trying to slide it in and out of your bag.
If you do need to lug the Latitude 14 back and forth between home and the office, you'll appreciate its durable design. The notebook feels rigid and durable, and comes with MIL-STD-810G security credentials. In other words, it was tested to withstand vibrations, shocks and extreme temperatures.
Most of the ports you'll need to do your job are here. The left edge of the system includes two USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet jack and an HDMI port.
The right edge, meanwhile, adds a USB 2.0 port; a VGA video out port, which could come in handy for connecting to older monitors and projectors; and an SD card slot for expanding the system's 128GB of internal storage.
The Latitude 14 3000 offers most of the standard security features that workers need, but it might not be suited for an enterprise environment. For starters, it comes with a Trusted Platform Module that encrypts your data at a hardware level. Plus, it can be purchased with a fingerprint reader for an extra $14. My review unit didn't come with the fingerprint reader, so I didn't have a chance to test its reliability.
Enterprise IT departments might want to opt for a different system, though, since the Latitude 14 3000 isn't available with vPro remote management. That's because the laptop isn't available with a processor that supports those features. For that functionality, you'll have to opt for the pricier Latitude 14 7000, which will run you $1,249.
Workers who type all day long should steer clear of the Latitude 14 3000. The system's keyboard is just too shallow, with a meager 1.25 millimeters of travel on each stroke — noticeably less than the 1.5mm we consider to be the minimum for work laptops. There's not much in the way of tactile feedback, either, which gives the keyboard a mushy feeling overall.
The Latitude 14 sports a 14-inch, 1080p display that cranks out clear images and crisp text. Plus, it's roomy enough for such screen-intensive work tasks as viewing large documents. Split-screen multitasking feels comfortable, too.
If only the display were a bit more vibrant. The Latitude 14's screen is disappointingly dull, producing colors that look washed out and inaccurate. It could stand to be a bit brighter, too; the display maxes out at 226 nits, well below the category average of 249 nits. It's fine for typical indoor use, but a brighter display would have been easier to use outdoors.
With its extended six-cell battery attached, the Latitude 14 3000 ran for an impressive 10 hours and 35 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi. That’s more than 2 hours longer than the average laptop runtime (8:02). The Latitude 14 3000 also easily outlasted rival systems such as the Toshiba Tecra C40 and HP EliteBook 745 (5:54). The ThinkPad T460 is the battery life champ in this category, though, with an epic runtime of 13 hours and 12 minutes with its own extended battery in tow (which costs just $10 more than the standard battery.)
You'll get more than enough performance for daily work tasks out of the Latitude 14 3000. My review unit came equipped with a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6500U processor with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of solid-state drive storage. That configuration buzzed along without any noticeable slowdown when I switched between windows, even during heavy multitasking.
The Latitude 14 3000 did pretty well on the synthetic Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall system performance. It racked up a very respectable score of 6,446, which edges out the average laptop score of 6,403.
And the system shined on our real-world spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names with their addresses in 4 minutes and 3 seconds. That handily beats the average time of 5:59, and it beats all competing systems, too, including the EliteBook 745 (6:36), the ThinkPad T460 (4:13) and the Tecra C40 (4:29).
Dell sells the Latitude 14 3000 in a range of hardware configurations. The base model comes with a low-power 1.5-GHz Intel Celeron 3215 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a four-cell battery for $449.
My review configuration -- model number 3470 -- is a better bet for serious workers, offering an Intel Core i7-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a six-cell battery for $1,024.
If you need a work laptop that lasts and lasts, the Latitude 14 3000 is a pretty good option, since the system can run for more than 10 hours on a single charge. Plus, my review configuration boasts solid security, a durable design and fast performance. Its mediocre keyboard makes it hard to recommend to workers who do a lot of typing, though, and its dull display is also disappointing.
But what makes the Latitude 14 3000 really hard to recommend is the existence of Lenovo's ThinkPad T460 ($1,128), a similar system that outclasses the Dell in a few key respects. For instance, it has a much nicer keyboard and a more vibrant display. And it even outlasted the Latitude 14 on our battery test, enduring for more than 13 hours. The bottom line is that the Latitude 14 is a nice work laptop, but you can do better for around the same price.