Dell Latitude 10 Windows 8 tablet (preview)

Dell serves up a 10-inch Atom-based tablet aimed at business users

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Dell Latitude 10 Windows 8 tablet (preview)

Pros

  • Performance should be zippy for everyday tasks
  • Nice design
  • Removeable battery

Cons

  • Won't know until we test it

Bottom Line

Dell's first Windows 8 tablet is an Atom SoC soluton that's aimed primarily at business users thanks to a slew of security options, including TPM, biometrics, SmartCard and encryption software for local and USB drives.

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The Dell Latitude 10 is a 10.1-inch Windows 8-based tablet that's scheduled for release next month -- at about the same time as the operating system itself. It's a business-oriented tablet that's designed to appeal to IT managers who are wanting to roll out secure slate devices to their users, as well as to those very users who will end up operating the device on a daily basis. And it does look and feel very desirable.

For businesses looking to deploy companion computing devices to their workers, the Latitude 10 should be a very desirable slate once it's released. It runs a full version of Windows 8, it has a removable battery that can be replaced once it starts deteriorating during the long life cycle of the product, and it's supported by an on-site, next business day, global warranty.

It also has a slew of features that are available depending on the needs of each business environment -- it's definitely not a one size fits all solution. It has options for SmartCard and Biometric security, it has an option for TPM, it offers optional custom Dell Data Protection encryption that can work on its own or in conjunction with BitLocker, there is an option for mobile broadband (HSPA+) and there is also an optional Wacom Active Stylus.

What powers the Latitude is an Intel Atom SoC (system on a chip) solution with 2GB of RAM and up to 128GB of solid state storage. Contrary to what we have thought of Atom solutions before, this one should supply more than ample power for basic Web browsing tasks, office document creation and media consumption. Seeing it in action and flicking through multiple open Windows 8 apps, the unit felt very swift and responsive. We're not sure how the unit will perform with more advanced tasks such as handwriting recognition (there is an optional pen to facilitate this), but it's something we look forward to testing once this unit is released in the wild.

Physically, the 10.1-inch tablet weighs about 725g and it's 274mm wide, 11mm thick and 177mm deep. The touchscreen uses capacitive technology, so it's responsive and accurate, and its protected by Gorilla Glass. It supports the maximum number of inputs required for Windows 8, which is 10. Its resolution is 1366x768, which satisfies the requirement for Windows 8's Snap feature when running new-style apps side-by-side with other applications, and the screen is based on IPS (in-plane switching) display technology, which means it should be almost perfectly viewable from any angle as you turn the tablet (reflections from the glossy finish notwithstanding).

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Cameras are integrated on the front and rear of the tablet (the front-facing camera offering a webcam-like resolution of 720p, while the rear camera is eight megapixels), and there is a built-in LED flash for the rear camera. Along the edges, there is one full-sized USB 2.0 port, one full-sized SD card slot, a combination headphone and microphone port, mini-HDMI, a micro-USB charging port and a docking connector. Units with the mobile broadband option will also have a micro-SIM slot.

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For wireless connectivity, you get 802.11n Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth. The optional dock can supply power to the unit through an AC adapter, it has four USB 2.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI port for plugging in to a bigger monitor, there is a speaker jack to plug in to bi speakers and Gigabit Ethernet for zippy wired networking.

Two battery options are available for the Latitude 10: one is a 2-cell, 30 Watt-hour lithium ion pack, while the other is a 4-cell, 60 Watt-hour pack. The latter will make the tablet a little heavier than its quoted 725g weight. Dell touts the environmentally friendly credentials of its tablet as being very high, and part of this is due to the fact that the battery can be easily removed when it comes time to finally dispose of the unit.

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It's not yet known how much the Dell Latitude 10 will cost, but the price will vary depending on the options that are selected.

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