A lot can happen as a system is under development, especially with a relatively new family of hardware. Maybe the drivers and BIOS aren't quite tuned for the best possible performance or power efficiency, and sometimes early reviews aren't completely indicative of what a user will experience when they first purchase a laptop, even a new one that's just hitting the market. That's the case with Dell's Latitude 7320
Detachable PC, a speedy tablet hybrid that makes the current lineup of Surface Pro 7s look seriously outdated.
When we first published our review of the Latitude 7320 Detachable, Dell had just announced the system and told us early on that they didn't think the battery life would necessarily be indicative of shipping systems. It's not that the detachable's battery life was bad
per se. We did manage to pull just over six hours from it on a single charge with continuous use. Considering it only has room for a 40 Wh battery, that's pretty decent. Still, the company needed a bit of time to tune the BIOS and software to get the best performance and battery life out of the system. Now that this process is complete, Dell gave us a chance to take the 7320 for a spin once more.
No smart card reader means no bump-out.
Dell Latitude 7320 Specs Rundown
Nothing has changed in the Latitude 7320 Detachable as far as specs go. We've still got the 12-Watt Tiger Lake
Core i7-1180G7 with its four cores and eight hardware threads and Iris Xe graphics. There's still 16 GB of soldered LPDDR4x memory and a 1 TB M.2 2242 SSD as well. Even on the outside, not much is different. We still get a nice 3:2 1920x1280 touch display, Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, and optional cellular connectivity. Its body design hasn't changed all that much either -- we'll explain in a moment -- with its kickstand system and all-aluminum chassis. To get a full rundown of the specs, check out our full review of the system
In fact, the only specifications change in our production review unit is the removal of the Smart Card reader. However, our first look at the 7320 had this rather large bump on the back half, which is necessary to make room for a card reader. That's still an option, but this gives us a chance to look at what's different when a Smart Card reader isn't included. For those who don't need a physical card for authentication, the Latitude 7320 Detachable is a much slimmer machine. Rather than being upwards of 12 millimeters thick, it's now just 8.2 millimeters according to our handy calipers, which is nearly a 33% reduction in thickness.
Finally, pricing for this Dell
system is a little different than what we'd first reported. Our review unit with the Core i7-1180G7, 16 GB of LPDDR4x, a 1 TB SSD, and no biometric authentication options starts at $2,539 at Dell's website
. We say "starts at" because that does not include the optional $199 Travel Keyboard or $69 Active Pen stylus. Add in those options and we're up to $2,809. That does include a three-year on-site warranty for service and repairs, something that cannot be removed with Dell's configurator. A similarly-priced Surface Pro 7+ for Business, which has been recently upgraded with Tiger Lake processors, is $2,399 with a 1-year mail-in warranty, or $2,698 when buying the $299 extended warranty, plus $129 for the Type Cover. The Latitude is still the cheaper option by just a few bucks, but they're much closer now in both specs and price.
Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable Performance Update
The whole point of revisiting the Latitude 7320 Detachable is to see how it performs with its newly updated drivers and BIOS. As before, we tested with the default Dell Optimized power plan with a minimum of three test runs to get the cleanest numbers possible. The results have been integrated with the previous results so we can see whether the optimizations Dell made to the Latitude 7320 Detachable's UEFI and software made any difference.
Speedometer 2.0 Web Application Benchmark
Dell's focus, when the company explained what was new with this machine, was on battery life more than it was performance, and here we can kind of see why. The Latitude 7320 essentially tied itself as a ridiculously fast ultraportable notebook, rather than setting any new land-speed records. The important thing we can see is that Dell apparently did not sacrifice web app performance to make the Latitude 7320's battery last longer.
Cinebench R23 is the latest rendering test from Maxon. This isn't the sort of thing you'd normally do on a tablet, but the power load and consistent strain on the system's cooling will show us if there's enough thermal headroom to let the processor stretch its legs in both single-threaded and multi-threaded tests.
There's a greater than 12% improvement in the multi-threaded benchmark here. The Latitude 7320 Detachable is still very quiet under load, but the Core i7-1180G7 gets to run its four cores quite a bit harder in parallel in this test. It's not up to the level of other Tiger Lake
systems, but the Latitude's lower TDP means that was never in the cards. Still, this is a nice jump in multi-threaded loads and we're happy to have it.
Single and Multi-Core Performance
Geekbench comes back for another turn with its simulated workloads The test doesn't take long to run, so this is more of a burst performance examination than it is a sustained load like Cinebench R23 is.
Once again, the Latitude Detachable shows a noticeable multi-threaded gain in this test. And again, single-threaded performance isn't really any different. It just seems like Dell has opened up the full potential of this laptop hybrid under load with its production-level software and firmware. Because Geekbench is a quick test, it's actually neck-and-neck with a variety of higher-power Tiger Lake systems like the ASUS Zenbook Flip S
and its Core i7-1165G7.
|UL PCMark 10
System and Application Performance
UL's latest PCMark might just be the most relevant of all the productivity benchmarks we have, since it uses real-world applications and workloads to stress the system to its maximum, and reports a variety of subsection scores.
200 points sounds like a big jump, but the Latitude 7320 Detachable really only gains around four percentage points this time around. That comes mostly thanks to the Digital Content Creation category, which saw a sizable gain from our pre-release benchmarks. This is likely due to a round of driver optimizations for the Iris Xe integrated GPU, in addition to the increased multi-threaded CPU performance we've seen thus far. Either way, this certainly seems like a trend.
HotHardware Custom Video Loop
This is what we've all been waiting for. Dell told us early on in the review process that the pre-production system's battery life wasn't quite where the company's engineering team wanted it to be. Dell reps told us that they thought the system's performance should be around an hour longer than it was in company's own internal testing, which isn't the same as our own test. We run our own custom video on loop in VLC with the display calibrated to 115 lux, and time how long it takes the system to go from full to empty and automatically shut down.
This is where Dell's optimization efforts went, and the Latitude 7320 saw nearly a 10% improvement to battery life. That's a pretty solid gain considering the specifications haven't changed at all. We've gone from just over six hours to more than 6.5, which takes this hybrid 2-in-1 laptop from near the bottom of our charts and lifts it up towards the middle of the pack. Since the Latitude has just a 40 Wh battery in a body weighing less than two pounds, this is impressive battery life.
Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable Production Update Conclusions
This experiment with Dell's new 2-in-1 let us get a glimpse of how a system can change over time. Dell provided us initially with a pre-release detachable tablet for review when the company first announced the Latitude 7320
, and it was pretty nice at the time. Performance was adequate if not impressive in spots, and battery life was fairly solid considering its size. However, as software and firmware matured, we've seen measurable gains in both performance and battery life. This is representative of Dell putting the finishing touches on a system as it's ready to go out the door to customers, and our experience today should more accurately reflect what consumers will receive at retail.
Another aspect of the Latitude 7320 that has cleared-up somewhat over time is pricing. At the time of the system's announcement, it seemed like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ for Business might have been a better deal, thanks to its lower sticker price. In addition, some of the pricing on Dell's site at the time of our initial review seemed to us like it was still in flux. Today, however, we can use Dell's website as a guide
and compare it to what Microsoft has published for the updated Surface Pro 7
. The results are pretty close, but the Latitude is just a hair cheaper with Dell's own special software and security sauce added in, as well as its more competent and current Intel Tiger Lake platform.
Overall, the Latitude 7320 Detachable is a solid option for business travelers and mainstream consumers on the go who need the lightest load possible. Its unique mix of light weight, optional security features, software loadout and performance make it a speedy premium 2-in-1 convertible laptop. While the price tag can be pretty steep, what you get for that price is the exceptional build quality and very capable performance of a well-balanced, premium ultra portable machine. As the world returns to a more normal flow and business travel resumes, we can definitely recommend the Latitude 7320 to corporate IT staffs returning to the office who are looking for solid, portable notebook options.