Dell Latitude 9510 (2-in-1) review: 24-hour battery life, great audio sell this business laptop

If you need an all-day (close to 24 hours!) 2-in-1 notebook, the Dell Latitude 9510 is your PC. Did we mention that it sounds better than practically anything else, too?

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Our other CPU test uses the free utility HandBrake to transcodes a feature-length movie to a format for Android tablet. This was once a practical, real-world test that’s become more abstract since Netflix allows you to download movies to PCs and tablets. Still, HandBrake has always served as a test of how the laptop holds up under prolonged load, and measures its ability to cool itself, too.

Dell Latitude 9510 handbrake Mark Hachman / IDG

Again, the Dell Latitude 9510 does well in this real-world transcoding test.

We weren’t sure how the Latitude’s Comet Lake chip would hold up in the 3DMark test, because of the two 10th-gen CPUs—Ice Lake and Comet Lake—only the former has what you might call a decent integrated GPU. The Comet Lake chip inside the Latitude 9510 runs on Intel’s famously unremarkable UHD Graphics, and it shows in the middling result it achieves in this test.

Dell Latitude 9510 3dmark sky diver Mark Hachman / IDG

The Dell Latitude 9510 is clearly not a gaming machine, but we knew that with the bare-boned UHD Graphics GPU attached to the Comet Lake chip.

Some notebooks are defined by their performance—and the elevated clock frequencies enabled by the “Comet Lake” processor inside the Dell Latitude 9510 certainly boosted its performance. But the battery life is what makes this laptop special.

We loop a 4K movie over and over to test how long the system can remain powered up and active, keeping the brightness at a fixed, comfortable level. Most laptops fall within the 8 to 12-hour range, but the Latitude 9510...doubles that? Sure, a lot of that comes from the insane 86Wh battery, but, still! Twenty-three hours! That compares very favorably to laptops like the Lenovo Yoga C640-13IML, which lags far back in performance, but which we praised highly for its 16-plus hours of battery life.

Dell Latitude 9510 battery life Mark Hachman / IDG

Twenty-three hours and eight minutes of battery life far surpasses the longevity of even some power-sipping Qualcomm notebooks, which can’t compete in terms of performance.

The Dell Optimizer utility even lets you turn on an “adaptive battery performance” toggle, which promises to extend battery runtime based on the PC’s behavior. Toggling that on didn’t seem to adjust the display output, but battery life extended to about 25 hours. That’s simply incredible, and far beyond anything we’ve seen before. 

Conclusion: A lot to offer

Right now, during a pandemic, true all-day battery life doesn’t mean as much when “mobile” means tromping from one room to another. We’d like to think, however, that the Dell Latitude 9510 will still be relevant as business travelers resume, well, traveling. Its price looks steep until you realize this is a business buy, usually designed to fit an IT department's budget, not one's own. 

Do keep in mind, though, that this is a business laptop priced for business budgets, and it's being compared to laptops that are in some cases hundreds if not thousands of dollars cheaper. An IT department can justify all sorts of extravagant expenses in the name of business. 

In a nutshell, though, the combination of solid performance, an even sturdier build, fantastic audio, convenient software options, and that superb battery life, earn the Dell Latitude 9510 2-in-1 to our unreserved Editor’s Choice endorsement.

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At a Glance
  • Dell's Latitude 9510 two-in-one combines great performance, fantastic audio, and unheard-of battery life inside an otherwise no-nonsense business notebook.

    Pros

    • Unheard-of battery life of nearly 24 hours
    • One of the best-sounding laptops ever
    • Solid performance

    Cons

    • Webcam could be better
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