Dell unveiled a host of new products at this year’s CES including new monitors and consumer notebooks, but for the channel, the main story is new commercial notebooks with consumer features taken from Dell’s XPS line.
This week at CES, Dell unveiled what it is calling the most comprehensive commercial products redesign in company history with its new Latitude notebooks. The new models incorporate design philosophies taken from Dell’s higher-end XPS consumer devices, and are consistent with a broad industry trend over the last year to make commercial devices more appealing to users who now expect consumer level style and features in their work devices.
“Last year we launched the XPS 13 consumer-based device and our corporate customers fell in love with them as well,” said Kelli Hodges, brand experience manager for Dell’s mobility organization. “With their design and their thinnest and lightest weight, our corporate customers wanted to carry them around with them.”
Accordingly, Dell’s commercial Latitude line has been redesigned to bring the attractive features of the XPS into the commercial space, without compromising on the commercial elements like security.
“The overarching approach has been to make both IT and the user happy,” Hodges said.
The largest model is the Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series Ultrabook.
“At 2.48 lbs, it is the smallest 13-inch Ultrabook in the commercial space,” Hodges said. Like the XPS systems, it offers a choice of either a black carbon or machined aluminum build. It also has Dell’s unique InfinityEdge display, an ultra-thin bezel around the screen designed to improve the viewing experience for presentations, documents and videos.
“InfinityEdge also comes from the XPS 13, and is a beautiful screen with no glare,” Hodges said.
Hodges also noted the Latitude 13 has the commercial features IT expects. These include advanced security features – including a smartcard reader, fingerprint reader, RFID reader, and security and encryption software. The Latitude 13 contains the industry-standard USB Type-C allowing one cable for docking, power, video, audio and data. It also includes Thunderbolt 3 for 8x faster data transfer than USB 3.0 allowing end users to power two 4K displays simultaneously.
A second 7000 series model is the Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series 2-in-1, designed for those who want the full functionality of a laptop, in performance and design, easily converted into a tablet. The conversion uses magnets rather than latches, locks or alignment pins, to be more user-friendly.
The Latitude 12 comes in a magnesium design and features two keyboard options. The Dell Latitude 12 Slim Keyboard is full-sized, lightweight, well-spaced with backlit chiclet keys, and offers a full range of viewing angles. In addition, the Dell Latitude 12 Premium Keyboard, which is really designed to be used when the device is in office workstation mode, single-handedly connects to the tablet, and features backlit keys and mouse cursor control with a high precision, gesture touchpad.
“Most users will likely leave the Premium Keyboard at their desk,” Hodges said.
Other pluses for this model include its being the only business 2-in-1 with a 4K UltraSharp UHD touch display. One negative – it’s the only one of the new models announced that doesn’t have an option for a smart card reader.
The Dell Latitude 11 5000 Series 2-in-1 is a thin and light 10.8-inch business-class 2-in-1, which comes in a lightweight magnesium unit. As the smallest of the new devices, it’s also the lightest, starting at just 1.56 pounds.
This model facilitates strong pen accuracy for capturing hand-written inputs with an optional stylus. Security and manageability capabilities include comprehensive encryption, advanced authentication, cutting-edge malware prevention, and automated and streamlined system deployment, monitoring and updating.
“For advanced authentication, there is an option for a tablet with smart card reader and fingerprint reader,” Hodges said.
Hodges also stressed the importance of a robust ecosystem around all these products as a key differentiator in selling them against other vendors’ thin and light products. These include the doubling of battery life through the Dell Power Companion, multiport functionality allowing them to connect to legacy products, and multiple ports so a phone can be charged as well. In addition, the Dell Dock and the Dell Thunderbolt Dock, both announced this fall, offer commercial users the opportunity to effectively integrate displays, mice and external keyboards. Both new docks are equipped with the next generation USB Type-C ports that support data, video and power through a single cable in a slim form factor.
The Latitude 13 7000 Series Laptop (7370) will be available beginning March 8, 2016 starting at $1,479 CDN.
The Latitude 12 7000 Series 2-in-1 (7275) will be available beginning early February 2016 starting at $1,429 CDN.
The Latitude 11 5000 Series 2-in-1 (5175) will be available beginning early February 2016 starting at $1,029 CDN.
The Dell Dock and Dell Thunderbolt Dock will be available beginning January 28, 2016 in Canada at $269 CDN and $399 CDN.