Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 review

Dell's Latitude 7390 convertible business laptop has been refreshed with eighth-generation Intel Core processors (CPU), a couple of Thunderbolt 3 ports, and some extra security features, but otherwise it remains mostly the same as its predecessor, the Latitude 7389.

It's still a no-nonsense business laptop with mobility and durability in mind — it's undergone MIL-STD 810G testing — and it's still a compact black slab that's heavy in a good way. Is it exciting? Not really. Will it keep up with you, proving itself as a worthy partner? Let's find out.

Latitude (without) attitude

Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1

Starts at about $1,150

Bottom line: It's a business laptop with great performance, a variety of security features, and no surprises.

Pros:

  • All-day battery.
  • Crisp touch display.
  • Great performance.
  • Speedy SSD.

Cons

  • Prices rise quickly.
  • Touchpad could be larger.
  • Protruding power button on the side.

What you'll love about the Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1

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The first thing you'll notice about the Latitude 7390 is likely the soft-touch paint covering the chassis. It does a decent job of hiding grime, and it's offset nicely on the lid with a silver Dell logo. Inside, the 13.3-inch FHD touch display gets bright enough to handle a sunny room, though the glossy finish will cause a bit of glare. The display has a crisp picture, and the touch function works great.

The optional Active Pen (PN557W), using Wacom AES tech, doesn't offer any special tilt action and has 2,048 levels of pressure, perfect for jotting notes or sketching diagrams.

Signing in, you can use the fingerprint reader — set into the palm rest, though not in the way of your hand when typing — or IR camera for Windows Hello. The fingerprint method seemed to not always work perfectly, but the camera was spot on. For video conferencing, there's a 720p webcam that gets the job done.

  • Form factor: Convertible laptop.
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touch
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8650U vPro
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3-1866MHz
  • Storage: SK hynix 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Battery: Four-cell 60WHr (about 10-11 hours of regular use)
  • Ports: Two USB-A 3.1, two USB-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 1.4, uSIM (optional), microSD, Noble Wedge lock slot, 3.5mm audio jack, Smart Card reader (optional)
  • Size: 12 in x 8.26 in x 0.51-0.75 in (305.1 mm x 210 mm x 11.75-17.85 mm)
  • Weight: From 3.12 pounds (1.42kg)
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

Dell has packed this laptop with security features, including an NFC Smart Card contactless reader, a FIPS Smart Card reader, TPM 2.0 chip, their own ControlVault 2.0 system, and a bunch of other proprietary stuff that you may choose to use or not use. The vPro CPU allows for remote management, and with the laptop comes some discounts if you choose to opt in for Dell's ProSupport service. There's also optional LTE functionality for anyone who needs to stay in contact no matter where they are.

I was loaned a high-end configuration of the Latitude 7390 (about $2,150 with a year of basic warranty), with an eighth-gen Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a speedy 512GB PCIe SSD that hit a 2,635.3 MB/s read speed and 1,255.7 MB/s write speed. Benchmarking with the Home Conventional 8 test from PCMark, I saw a score of 3,066, which is pretty much what you want when it comes to a business load. When working hard, expect to hear some moderate fan whine.

Ports have been updated with a look into the future, swapping out the two standard USB-C on the 7389 with a couple of Thunderbolt 3 (one taken up part time for charging). You also have HDMI, USB-A 3.1, and an SD card reader rounding out the selection, great for anyone who doesn't have to deal with older accessories. I'm looking at you, dusty old VGA projector.

Finally, I thought the backlit keyboard was great, with decent spacing and ample key travel. I type a lot every day, and though it seemed a bit cramped at first, I quickly got used to the size.

What you'll hate about the Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1

No, this laptop doesn't take many chances, and yes, it keeps the same design that's proven successful for a long time. It's not very exciting, but that's business. Still, there's not much that sets it apart from the competition, and the high-end models do get quite expensive, even before figuring in all the extra goodies.

Like a lot of convertible laptops that you can hold like a tablet, a protruding power button on the side often gets mashed when you least expect it. It's real annoying, but it's a quick fix to log back in. At least Dell has it located in a corner, mostly out of the way of your hands.

My other gripe is with the Precision touchpad. It's not exactly large, and the two physical buttons below it take up precious real estate. If you're an aggressive touchpad user like me, you'll no doubt find yourself often hitting the edges.

As for the dual down-firing speakers, they get loud. And that's about the best thing they have going for them.

The bottom line on Dell's Latitude 7390 2-in-1

The Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is a well-built convertible laptop that works well in notebook and tablet modes, especially with the Active Pen for note-taking or a quick sketch. It offers great performance thanks to the eighth-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and SK hynix SSD, and its all contained in a compact chassis that, while sort of on the heavy side, nevertheless remains mobile.

You're getting an all-day battery here, allowing you to leave your charger at home, there are plenty of ports that will remain relevant for years to come, and you have access to plenty of security features. It's nothing too exciting and it's not a major overhaul of the previous 7389, but it's certainly a contender in the business arena — just as long as you don't mind paying top dollar.

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