Review: Dell's Latitude 7390 Blends Power With Portability

Even with the downturn in the PC market, there continue to be a seemingly endless number of new business laptops to choose from. So while reviewing laptops at the CRN Test Center, a key question often arises: Would we choose to use this laptop for our work machine?

In the case of Dell's Latitude 7390 clamshell, the answer is a definite "yes."

[Related: Dell's Latitude 7390 2-in-1 Is Our Favorite Latitude Yet]

That hasn't always been our feeling about Dell's Latitude laptops in the past. But as mentioned in our review of the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 model, Dell has brought in Microsoft's Precision Touchpad in the 2018 Latitudes, which offers a huge improvement in usability. For the Latitude 7390 clamshell, the touchpad performance is just as smooth and responsive as on the 2-in-1 model.

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There are some portability advantages to be gained from going with the clamshell model. The laptop is very lightweight at about 2.6 pounds, compared with about 3 pounds for the convertible version. It's also a bit thinner at 0.66 of an inch thick, versus 0.7 of an inch thick on the 2-in-1 model.

And while the 13.3-inch display doesn't fold all the way back, it does go 180 degrees; and because our model came with a touch screen, we found it handy to fold the screen back to "flatten" out the laptop for watching videos and scrolling through articles. The colors on the FHD display look good, and the screen is plenty bright at 300 nits. The design also features a small bezel around the display, particularly on the left and right sides, which helps enable a compact overall size for the laptop.

The performance, meanwhile, is super fast. Our model came with an eighth-gen Intel Core i7-8650U chip, and we found heavy multi-tasking to be no problem at all.

The Latitude 7390 is also strong on battery life, with our tryout getting 7.5 hours of heavy usage with the brightness set to 75 percent (our unit featured the larger, 60 Whr battery option).

Security is a major plus with the laptop as well, thanks to easy facial recognition sign-in from Windows Hello and a fingerprint reader as a backup, in addition to a range of other hardware and software security features that businesses will appreciate (including a contactless smart card reader). And in terms of ports, the Latitude 7390 has a good selection with two USB-A, one USB-C, HDMI and two card slots (SIM and SD).

In terms of overall design, we continue to like the black carbon-fiber look of the Latitude 7390. It's not as sleek as the premium EliteBook designs that HP has been releasing, but it's a notch above Lenovo's ThinkPad lineup in terms of aesthetics.

The biggest drawback we noticed with the Latitude 7390 clamshell is the speakers, which are far too quiet. Watching a video with the volume turned to 100 percent was barely sufficient—so forget about trying to use the laptop's speakers in a situation with multiple people listening or watching.

The pricing—our unit is priced at $2,200 as configured—may also be a sticking point for some buyers. For Latitude fans that want the top of the line, however, that price tag may be well worth it. As long as you're OK with sub-par speakers, we'd fully recommend the Latitude 7390 to anyone that highly values performance, portability and battery life in their work laptop.