The Dell Latitude 5289 2-in-1 laptop is built for business but designed like a consumer hybrid. You can flip the touchscreen all the way around and even use a pen with it.
But, does it manage to straddle those blurred lines or is it simply confused?
Dell Latitude 5289 design
Are MacBooks a little bit too much akin to the wacky tie worn by a middle-aged executive who still wants to look ‘fun’ and/or down with the kids? Well, with the Dell Latitude 5289 you get the serious styling of a business laptop but with consumer-tech touches.
Firstly, you get a tough and rigid magnesium alloy shell. This is then wrapped in a tough rubberised coating. This gives it a nice place for your wrists to live and also lends the laptop a neat matt finish. Furthermore, the coating is also more likely to shake off the daily scuffs that could mark shiny aluminium.
It might be chunkier than some ultraportables at 17.64mm but it’s not cumbersome. It also tips the scales at 1.34kg which is reasonable for a 12.5-inch screened lappy.
Continuing the business-sense of the 5289 you get a good array of hook-up options. First, you get two USB 3.0s, and two DisplayPort-capable USB-C connectors. There is also a microSD slot and, due to the extra thickness, a full-sized HDMI port.
Rounding things off is a SIM card slot, SmartCard reader and Noble security port. A dedicated Ethernet port would have been nice but a USB 3.0 to Ethernet adapter (Dell’s DA100, for instance) can have that sorted in a jiffy.
You have a half-sized enter key and no separate number pad, but these are to be expected. However, the keyboard is backlit so handy for night-time or mid-flight typing. The touchpad is a good size and the left and right buttons are well defined.
Dell Latitude 5289 performance
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.
Where it separates itself even further from consumer hybrids is that the 5289 also has enterprise-grade security. Additionally, there’s its Intel vPro CPU and a satisfyingly deep-action keyboard.
The Latitude never felt wanting more power during its day-to-day productivity. The Microsoft Office suite ran smoothly and even photo editing was undertaken without a second thought. Pro-photographers and designers may have some issues with the 5289, but it’s not because of lack of power.
Don’t get cocky though. Just because it has the grunt to power-through Powerpoint don’t think that you’ll be able to get some sneaky time on the rebooted Doom or similar. You have to remember that the laptop is using the Intel HD 620 GPU, part of the Core i5 platform. You might get away with some older titles on lowered settings, but gaming isn’t really the remit here.
My girlfriend nabbed the Dell for trips to archives and libraries (it’s what she does) and was relieved to report that the little Latitude is practically silent. Even on the occasions that the fans would kick in, the 5289 didn’t cause any eyebrows to be raised or looks to be shot across from the staff.
My intrepid test researcher also remarked on the glorious feel of the keyboard. I have to agree too. Even though the Latitude is still relatively thin, the keys have a reassuring amount of travel. Furthermore, thanks no doubt to that magnesium frame, typing whilst resting the machine on your lap doesn’t result in jelly-like flexing. This is a surefire bonus for the likes of me who passed their RSA 1 and 2 on manual typewriters and so has what I would call a firm typing style.
The key arrangement is what I expected, although the smaller enter key took my other half a while to get used to. The multi-level backlight is a handy extra and it’s good to have a few levels of brightness to play with.
The trackpad is also top notch. This is textured glass rather than plastic. For me, I found it a much better experience. However, my partner stated it didn’t feel as fast as other ones she had used and found it a bit too “draggy” but was still was responsive.
The buttons below the pad have similar properties to those of the keyboard. They have a good amount of travel but are smooth and accurate. Furthermore, it is obvious which is the left and which is the right without looking.
The 1080p display looks pretty sharp packing in 176ppi and viewing angles from the IPS LCD display are sweet. Brightness rated at 314cd/m is good enough to knock out a review in the garden.
Dabbling in some Netflix whilst on a train or flight did show some of the slight weaknesses in the Latitude’s colour and contrast performance. Looking at the specs the Latitude 5289 has a contrast of 762:1 and 61% coverage of the sRGB gamut. That lines up with what we were seeing. Again, this is more than adequate for presentations, and business use. However, not really great if you are needing colour accuracy when editing photos or art.
If you are feeling arty then the Active Pen stylus may be up your ally with its 2048-level pressure sensitivity.
The touchscreen is lovely and responsive and really makes this hybrid useful no matter which way you decide to use it.
My only concern here is that it has bumper bezels when compared to some of the more slick young things out there.
Stamina was pretty impressive from the unit’s 60Wh cell. Both of us saw the laptop last a couple of days of use on average. Being able to do a business trip without panicking about power outlets is always a plus point.
The Dell Latitude 5289 uses one of its USB-C ports to charge the battery, rather than the typical cylinder jack.
The short version is – use headphones.
The long version is that the in-built speakers are OK. They are situated underneath near the front. They’re not the clearest in the business but do go loud enough for Outlook notifications. The bass won’t rattle your trousers and it seems Dell has ramped up the mids, perhaps for punchier dialogue, but to me this just results in poor treble definition.
Dell Latitude 5289 review conclusion
The Dell Latitude 5289 is the hardworking entrepreneur with a sense of fashion. It is a hybrid in that it can flip from tablet to laptop, but also because it has business credentials as well as street cred. Furthermore., it has excellent battery life and is nicely portable.
Bundle that in with good connectivity, handy security features and a keyboard built for hours of typing, it certainly ticks the boxes.
Granted, photographers and designers will have to look elsewhere but, for boardroom battles, this would be up there as my weapon of choice.
Price and availability
The Dell Latitude 5289 is available in five core flavours starting with a Core i3 model.
The one set to us for review model was loaded with a Core i5-7300U, 8GB RAM and 256GB and costs £1,403.69 (£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.