Dell Latitude 5289 review
The Dell Latitude 5289 is a business laptop with some of the same design features as the most fashionable consumer models. It’s a hybrid, it has a touchscreen and superb battery life. Unlike most slim hybrids, it also has enterprise-grade security, an Intel vPro CPU and a satisfying deep-action keyboard.
Other than the hefty price the only issue is the display’s colour depth. While it looks fine, colour saturation is rather low give the Dell Latitude 5289’s high price.
Price and availability
The Dell Latitude 5289 is available in five core flavours. Starting with the most affordable, the model with a Core i3 CPU, 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD costs ?1107 (?1328 inc VAT).
Our review model has a Core i5-7300U, 8GB RAM and 256GB, a better spec for a primary work PC. It costs ?1337 (?1604 inc VAT) including Dell’s Active Pen stylus. The top-end spec has a Core i7 CPU, 256GB SSD and 16GB RAM.
This sees the price rise to ?1497 (?1796 inc VAT). All models come with Dell’s ProSupport 1-year warranty, which is an on-site next-day service.
Design and build
The Dell Latitude 5289 merges the style of a serious business laptop with the form of a consumer one. It has a 360-degree hinge, the least conspicuous kind of hybrid, and is light and highly portable despite a lack of tapering to telegraph to your fingers this is an ultra-slim laptop.
It has the substance of consumer models, without the fluff.
This plays out in its construction too. The Dell Latitude 5289 has a tough and rigid magnesium alloy shell, but the outer-most layer is a tough rubberised coating.
This gives it a no-nonsense matt black look, and soaks up the sort of grazes that might cause light scratches in aluminium. At 17.64mm thick the Dell Latitude 5289 isn’t as thin as some, but this is absolutely the sort of laptop we’d carry around between meetings on a daily basis. It weighs 1.34kg, which is fairly light for a laptop with a 12.5-inch screen.
The Dell Latitude 5289 design seems to cater for execs who feel something like a MacBook is that bit too frivolous for use in serious business meetings. We’ve not met many of these people in real life, but we’d be happy to use this low-profile laptop anywhere.
Only one part of the Dell Latitude 5289 seems dated.
Unlike Dell’s XPS models, there’s a chunky surround around the display, giving it the look of an updated classic laptop rather than the “all-screen” style rapidly becoming common.
The Dell Latitude 5289’s connections offer a pretty good excuse for laptop having a couple of extra millimetres of thickness some others lack. There’s a very wide array. You get two USB 3.0s, two DisplayPort-capable USB-C connectors, a full-size HDMI and microSD slot.
A SIM card slot, SmartCard reader and Noble security port are other extras you just won’t find in most high-end consumer laptops. There’s no dedicated Ethernet port, but an adapter will fix that. The only slight nag is the lack of Thunderbolt 3 compliance in the USB-C sockets, although it seems likely many will use these connectors for monitors anyway.
Keyboard and touchpad
Having used the Dell Latitude 5289 as our day-to-day work computer, what separates it most clearly from a comparable consumer model is the keyboard.
Key depth is deep for a slim laptop, reminding us of Lenovo’s best ThinkPad laptop keyboards. It’s no surprise when the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 is one of the obvious alternatives a CTO might consider. Typing on the Dell Latitude 5289 is a joy, and the magnesium frame makes sure the keyboard remains stiff even under the fingers of a key-battering typist.
The key arrangement is sensible too. It took no time to bed into. Underneath the keys, a multi-level backlight is on-hand for night typing.
The Dell Latitude 5289 trackpad sticks to this deep-action style too, with discrete buttons that depress by a few millimetres without taking any significant effort to press. These buttons feel great, and the clear border between them kills any potential confusion about left/right zones. As you’d hope given the price, the Dell Latitude 5289’s pad is textured glass rather than cheaper plastic, for a smoother finger glide.
However, it is rather small, another black mark against its use as a tool for designers, although this will affect any application that makes use of trackpad gestures.
Most parts of the Dell Latitude 5289’s hardware design are hard to fault, as long as the laptop equivalent of a plain black suit appeals. However, the display panel used is surprisingly pedestrian. With contrast of 762:1 and just 61% coverage of the sRGB gamut, it’s undersaturated and visibly a way off the desirable 1000:1 contrast level.
Part of our battery testing includes playing a movie on loop, and in these conditions in a dimly lit room, the blueish-ness of the Dell Latitude 5289’s screen blacks is evident. This isn’t a laptop for creative professionals or those who want the best possible experience when watching movies at conference hotels or during transatlantic flights. However, in an office with strip lighting, the difference isn’t worth worrying about.
1080p resolution across 12.5 inches looks fairly sharp, viewing angles are perfectly good thanks to the IPS LCD display and 314cd/m brightness is respectable. Its bright enough for working outdoors on occasion. The Dell Latitude 5289 also has a touchscreen to go with its hybrid hinge and Dell sells the laptop with an Active Pen stylus.
It’s also available for ?49.99 on its own. This pen uses an AAAA battery that lasts for up to 12 months, and offers 2048-level pressure sensitivity. Those doodling spider diagrams in meetings may not need it but it’s great when paired with a drawing application like Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
The Dell Latitude 5289 uses 7th Generation Intel Core series processors, and our model has the Core i5-7300U.
This is the business-grade vPro variant of the Core i5, with slightly better performance and improved remote access capabilities. It has enough power for just about any task to which a portable laptop is suited. All our day-to-day productivity software runs well, and it easily has enough power for Photoshop and Lightroom work.
Again: photographers and those who work with images professionally should be put off by the display’s limited colour depth.
The Dell Latitude 5289 scores 3134 points in PC Mark 10, and 8338 in Geekbench 4. That PC Mark 10 score is slightly lower than that of the HP EliteBook x360, perhaps down to a faster SSD in that model, but the Geekbench 4 score is very similar.
At the time of review Intel’s 8th Generation CPUs are starting to ship out in laptops. However, it’s not clear exactly when the mid-level vPro models in that generation will appear. They’re certainly not here yet (as of November 2017).
Typical of a business laptop, the Dell Latitude 5289 has no special gaming abilities. It uses the Intel HD 620 GPU, part of the Core i5 platform. This can handle some slightly older games with reduced settings, but shouldn’t be let near the latest, most demanding titles.
Alien: Isolation runs at an average 30.5fps at 720p with Low graphics, dropping to 13.5fps at 1080p, max graphics. You can play the game, but not “as intended”. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a more challenging title, and is not playable at 1080p or 720p.
With minimum graphics at 720p, it manages a very choppy 14.3fps, dropping to a dismal 3.6fps at 1080p, Ultra settings. These scores roughly match those of a consumer Core i5 laptop. The Dell Latitude 5289 is virtually silent most of the time, and its fans are relatively inoffensive under pressure.
However, there is some coil noise, which at its worst sounds a little like a classic hard drive. After a period of stress, the laptop does get a little warm on its underside. However, you may only notice it if working with the laptop on your knees.
There are several different Dell Latitude 5289 specs, some with smaller batteries than others. Dell sent us the version with the big 60Wh battery, and other than the chunky keyboard this is the lead appeal of this model. Playing a 720p movie on loop at 120cd/m screen brightness, the Dell Latitude 5289 lasts 13 hours 59 minutes.
This is terrific, and shows the battery will easily last through a day’s work using low-strain productivity applications. You might even be able to get through a two-day business trip without taking the charger. But we wouldn’t risk it.
The Dell Latitude 5289 uses one of its USB-C ports to charge the battery, rather than the cylinder type. This laptop’s speakers sit to the front of its underside. They’re acceptable, but Dell’s attempt to produce a warm sound does have an impact on its clarity.
Volume isn’t notably loud and while there’s some bulk to the mids, the bass is still anaemic.