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Grow Your Business Technology

Dell Latitude 14 7000 (E7470) Review: Is It Good for Business?

Dell Latitude 14 7000 (E7470) Review: Is It Good for Business? The Latitude 14 7000 earns 4 out of 5 stars. / Credit: Jeremy Lips

Dell's Latitude 14 7000 is a top-notch companion for mobile workers. The well-rounded system is simply one of the slimmest and sleekest 14-inch business laptops on the market, and this Dell's long battery life means commuters can leave the charging cord at home. Plus, you get fast performance, a durable design and a really comfortable keyboard. The rear-facing ports are a nuisance, but overall, this slim system is a terrific work machine.

Measuring 13.19 x 9.13 x 0.74 inches and weighing in at 3.4 lbs., the Latitude 14 7000 is surprisingly portable for a 14-inch laptop. The system slid easily in and out of my workbag and was light enough that I didn't feel weighed down while toting the machine around. That's a perk for workers who need to lug their laptops back and forth between home and the office. However, it's not quite as portable as Lenovo's ThinkPad T460s (13 x 8.9 x 0.74 inches, 3 lbs.)

Dell's system is just as durable as the ThinkPad, though. It comes with MIL-STD 810G durability credentials, which means it was tested to survive shocks, vibrations, extreme heat, dings and drops from up to 4 feet. You're not likely to drop the Latitude 14, though; this laptop comes with a luxurious, soft-touch exterior that makes the machine easy to hang onto.

While commuters will love the Latitude 14's portable design, they won't love its rear-mounted ports. While most laptops have ports on the left and right edges, here you'll find the majority of ports on the system's backside, including the charging port, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort and the Ethernet jack.

Rear-facing connections are nice if you leave your laptop at your desk most of the time, since you won't have wires sprouting out from the sides of the system. But if you need to frequently connect and disconnect cables, you'll quickly grow tired of the setup, as it makes it hard to see where you're plugging things in.

There are a couple of inputs on the Latitude 14's right edge as well. That includes one USB 3.0 port, a SIM card slot and an SD card slot for expanding the system's 128GB of internal storage.

The Latitude 14 7000's 1080p display looks great. And at 14 inches, it's roomy enough to make split-screen multitasking feel comfortable. The panel cranks out crisp text and vibrant images, and it's nice and bright, too, topping out at 338 nits of brightness. That easily outshines the 249-nit average for thin-and-light laptops.

If you're willing to shell out a little more money, you can pick up an even sharper, 2560 x 1440-pixel touch-screen display for an extra $315. However, the extra resolution and touch functionality will drain your battery faster, without providing much extra utility.

All the security features that IT departments demand are available here. For starters, all configurations of the Latitude 14 come equipped with Trusted Platform Module-based hardware encryption to make sure your private work files stay private.

The system can also be outfitted with an optional fingerprint reader for secure logins. My review unit didn't have that $14 add-on, though. Latitude 14 models configured with a Core i5-6300U processor or better also offer Intel vPro functionality, which allows for secure remote management.

I typed this review on the Latitude e7470 without once wishing I was using my desktop keyboard. The layout is really comfortable, with a generous 1.94mm of key travel on each stroke — noticeably more than the 1.5mm we consider the minimum for a work laptop. Plus, the keys feel snappy, with a good amount of tactile feedback on each stroke. It all adds up to a really satisfying typing experience.

In addition to the standard 3.8 x 2.1-inch touchpad, the Dell Latitude 14 7000 also includes a small pointing stick located amidst the G, H and B keys. The nub can boost your productivity by giving you precise control over the mouse cursor without forcing you to ever move your fingers from the keyboard's home row. It can take some getting used to if you've never used a pointing stick before, though.

You won't ever have to fret if you forget the Latitude 14's charger at home. The system ran for a very solid 9 hours and 16 minutes on our battery-life test, which simulates continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi. That easily beats the 8:02 category average, and it also outlasts the ThinkPad T460s' disappointing time of 7 hours and 21 minutes.

The version of the Latitude 14 7000 we tested came with the extended four-cell battery, which adds an extra $34 to the cost of the system. This battery doesn't add any extra bulk or thickness to the machine compared to the standard three-cell battery, however, so it is a highly recommended upgrade to the basic configuration. 

The Dell Latitude 14 7000 didn't hiccup once during my hands-on testing, though the laptop's closest rival (Lenovo) scored a bit better on synthetic benchmark tests. The system came configured with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of solid-state drive storage. Multitasking felt smooth and zippy, without any hiccups while I switched back and forth between a large spreadsheet and my web browser, which had about a dozen tabs open, including one streaming HD video.

The system racked up a very solid score of 6,059 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That's good, but the Core i5-6300U-equipped ThinkPad T460s outpaced it, with a score of 6,796.

The Latitude 14 also fared well on our real-world spreadsheet test, matching 20,000 names to their addresses in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. That easily tops the 6-minute category average, though, again, the ThinkPad T460s was faster, finishing the same test in 4:10.

Dell sells the Latitude 14 7000 in a variety of hardware configurations. The base model comes equipped with a Core i3-6300U processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage and a low-res 1366 x 768-pixel display, all for $1,079.

The midrange configuration featured in this review — specifically the Latitude 14 E7470 — is a better sweet spot for the average worker. That configuration comes with a beefier Core i5-6200U processor, a higher-res 1920 x 1080-pixel display, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for $1,339.

The top-end model features a speedy Core i7 processor, 8GGB of RAM and WiGig functionality, so it works with Dell's wireless docks, all for $1,619.

It's hard to go wrong with the Latitude 14 7000. The sleek system is extremely well-rounded, offering zippy performance, strong security, an excellent keyboard and a crisp 14-inch display. Plus, it's compact enough for your daily commute and boasts solid durability credentials. 

On the other hand, it's easy to imagine commuters getting fed up with the Latitude 14 7000's rear-facing ports, which could leave you, at the end of your workday, groping around for wires that you can't easily see. Lenovo's slim ThinkPad T460s is a strong alternative that doesn't have that issue, but it doesn't last nearly as long on a charge as Dell's system. That's enough to make the Latitude 14 7000 a really easy laptop to recommend.

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.