Dell Latitude 10 Windows 8 tablet
A well-built 10in tablet for users who need long battery life and built-in features
- Built-in ports
- Battery life
- Well built
- Performance can be sluggish at times
Dell's Latitude 10, Windows 8-based business tablet has good features and build quality, but don't expect it to be a super-fast performer. It's best suited to simple tasks, and limited multitasking.
Dell's Latitude 10 is a Windows 8-based tablet that is aimed at business users who need touchscreen functionality within a Windows environment. It's not a very powerful tablet, but it's useful for running non-CPU-intensive apps and it should benefit field workers who need something simple with which to enter data. Its big draw cards are strong build quality, built-in ports, long battery life, and a battery that can also be easily swapped — further increasing its field runtime.
Physically, the Latitude 10 has a 10in, 1366x768-pixel screen that's protected by Gorilla Glass, and the tablet overall is 11mm thick. It feels good to hold thanks to a slightly textured back, and at 690g it also feels very light. Unlike many other Windows 8 tablets we've seen, the buttons on this model are rubberised and they are hard to press. That means you will never accidentally end up switching off the screen or changing volume, but at the same time you might be frustrated with how much force you have to apply to press them. These buttons, the Gorilla Glass, and a magnesium alloy frame all combine to give this tablet more of a rugged feel than others we've tested to date.
One of the best aspects of the Latitude 10 is its connectivity. It has a USB 2.0 port built into it, which means you don't have to use an adapter or drop it in a dock to plug in any external devices. It can even be charged by USB thanks to the micro-USB port that resides next to its docking connector. You can easily charge this tablet with a phone charger or by connecting it to a laptop or desktop PC. You also get a full-sized SD card slot, a combination headphone/microphone port and mini-HDMI. All this stuff makes the Latitude 10 one of the most convenient Atom-powered, Windows 8-based business tablets on the Australian market.
The 10.1in touchscreen of the Latitude 10 was accurate and responsive in our tests. Windows 8 swipe-in gestures worked first go every time and the Windows 8 Start screen was a pleasure to use. As with all Windows 8 tablets, the touch experience isn't great when using the Desktop, especially for browsing the Web. To that end, we preferred to browse the Web through the Start screen's native Internet Explorer 10 browser in full-screen mode. This provided the best browsing experience for us, especially because the keyboard appears automatically as soon as you put the cursor in a text field (on a desktop browser like Firefox, the keyboard has to be invoked manually).
The screen's 1366x768-pixel resolution is higher than that of the competing HP ElitePad 900, and it looks a lot sharper than that tablet. Colours looked vibrant and the screen brightness was adequate. However, with Gorilla Glass on the front, reflections did become annoying, especially when we used it in the office. An ambient light sensor is built in to the tablet, and it worked much better than the sensor on many other Windows 8 tablets that we've seen to date.
Performance and battery life
As far as its performance is concerned, don't expect to be quick. In our Blender 3D and MP3 encoding tests, the Latitude 10 with its Intel Atom Z2760 CPU and 2GB of RAM recorded 3min 16sec and 5min 44sec, respectively. Its Blender 3D time is one second slower than the time recorded by the HP ElitePad 900, which is HP's Atom-based business tablet, and the Dell was also three seconds slower in the iTunes test. This performance is a little faster than what we've seen from some of the consumer Atom-based tablets such as the ASUS VivoTab 810 and HP Envy X2.
Basically, the Latitude 10's performance is good enough for basic tasks such as Web browsing and document creation (as long as you have a keyboard and dock for the tablet), and it can also be used for the playback of local video files. It isn't designed to be used for multitasking, nor for running CPU-intensive applications, and it's best suited to running one application at a time only.
It can sometimes struggle with Web sites that have a lot of Flash elements. Indeed, sites that required a lot of CPU usage for their Flash elements made the tablet slow down to a crawl, and this was manifested through unresponsive scrolling actions and an unresponsive on-screen keyboard. There is not enough grunt from the CPU to run many Web-based video streams. For example, we had poor experiences with Vimeo HD files, and high-quality NBA.TV streams were also sluggish, but most YouTube clips we tried, even at 1080p, worked well.
Storage is handled by a 64GB solid state drive (SSD), which has a formatted capacity of 52.2GB, but only just over 32GB of space was left for us to use. There is an SD card slot that allows more data to be stored, if needed. The SSD put up read and write rates of 80.34 megabytes per second (MBps) and 33.16MBps in CrystalDiskMark, respectively, which is similar to what we've seen from other Atom-based tablets such as the HP Envy X2 and Samsung Ativ 500T.
Battery life was excellent during our tests, especially when the ambient light sensor was enabled. In our rundown tests, in which we maximise screen brightness, enable Wi-Fi and loop an Xvid-encoded video file, the tablet lasted 6hr 42min, which is very good. When we did the same test with the ambient light sensor enabled, it lasted 7hr 40min.
You could get even more out of it with a manually-set, low brightness level, but then reflections might make the screen a little too hard to see. The ability to remove the battery and replace it in the field should be appealing for environments where a full day of life away from a mains power source is required. A version of this tablet with a sealed battery is also available.
Because it's aimed at business users, the Latitude 10 comes with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) and it also has options for fingerprint and smartcard security, as well as data encryption. Other business features include Windows 8 Pro (rather than the standard version of Windows 8, which can be found on consumer models), an option for a productivity dock that allows for the tablet to sit upright on a desk and gives it more ports, and also an option for a Wacom active stylus for handwriting and more accurate navigation. We also feel that the built-in USB port and SD card slot are great productivity features — on some other tablets such as the ElitePad 900, we've had to go hunting for a USB adapter, which has been inconvenient.
Other features of the Latitude 10 include built-in, dual-band Wi-Fi (using a Broadcom chip), Bluetooth, and front and rear cameras (2-megapixel on the front and 8-megapixel on the rear). The rear camera is assisted by a flash.
While its performance is only good enough for basic tasks and minimal multitasking, the Latitude 10 is, nevertheless, a more than decent Windows 8 tablet. Its screen, build quality and included features are all top-notch, and we actually had fun using it for basic Web browsing, viewing photos, listening to music and watching videos. A dock and keyboard will be required if you want to be productive with it though.
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