The Latitude 14 7000 Series (E7450) ($1,509.09 as tested) updates the Dell Latitude E7440 Touch with a fifth-generation Intel Core i5 processor. Both are ultrabooks that should appeal to you if you’re a midlevel businessperson who needs to stay productive on the road. It has many of its predecessor’s strengths, including premium features, excellent battery life, and MIL-SPEC ruggedization. The Latitude E7450 trumps last year’s model in performance, and it’s our Editors’ Choice for business ultrabooks.
Design and Features
Some design choices on the Latitude E7450 are decidedly old school. The ultrabook measures 0.8 by 13.25 by 9.25 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.59 pounds. It’s s MIL-SPEC rated, which means it was tested to make sure it could handle damp, dusty, high-vibration, and extremely hot and cold environments, so it is more than qualified to survive the day-to-day physical demands of an enterprise-class business laptop. If you drop it on the floor from a coffee shop table or accidentally tip your water bottle over the keyboard, the laptop should be fine after a short rest to dry out. It has a charcoal-gray top lid and black keyboard deck, and a wide touchpad, along with an integrated pointing stick. While many laptops (even those oriented for business) have eliminated dual pointing devices, this is still a welcome feature if you’re accustomed to using a pointing stick as your mouse. The newest versions of the Lenovo X1 and ThinkPad T Series have reverted to separate mouse buttons for the pointing stick, so we surmise that business users and IT buyers have made their preference for traditional controls clear to PC manufacturers.
The 14-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution LCD screen is bright, and text is particularly sharp, while the matte finish helps quell reflections. It’s not a touch screen as in the previous iteration, which may be a drawback for businesses that have transitioned to Windows 8.1 Pro. You can still configure this laptop with a touch screen for an additional $168. Dell will preinstall Windows 7 Professional at no cost, or have your IT guys install it after purchase, since the same license covers one or the other. Keep in mind that Windows 10, which is coming this summer as a free upgrade, is expected to lessen reliance on a touch screen as well.