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Corporate users who put a premium on privacy—particularly when it comes to snoopers in the immediate vicinity—will appreciate the robust security features built into the Dell Latitude 7310. This 13.3-inch convertible laptop not only comes with a proximity sensor that locks and wakes the screen as you come and go, it also boasts a privacy screen that hides sensitive data (although not necessarily images) from prying eyes.
Besides its privacy features, the Latitude 7310’s Core i7 Comet Lake CPU makes mincemeat of single-core computing tasks, and it does an impressive job at handling heavy processor loads over time. On the other hand, we felt that this laptop was a tad hefty for its size.
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing models and how we tested them.
The Dell Latitude 7310 comes in eight customizable configurations, ranging from a Core i5-10310U-powered version with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive for a list price of $2,455.71 to a Core i7-10610U system with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for an MSRP of $4,632.44.
If those prices sound steep, bear in mind their corporate-class features, which rarely or never appear on less-expensive laptops for consumers. Many of these models are also steeply discounted on Dell.com.
Here are the details for our built-to-order review unit, which currently sells for a little over $3,800 on Dell.com, or around $2,700 after discounts:
CPU: Intel Core i7-10610U vPro
Memory: 16GB DDR4-2666
Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
Storage: M.2 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 13.3-inch 1920×1080 SafeScreen
Webcam: 720p with privacy shutter
Connectivity: Two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one SuperSpeed USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, full HDMI port, microSD memory card slot, combo audio jack
Networking: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Biometrics: IR facial recognition, proximity sensor
Battery capacity: 51 watt-hour
Dimensions: 12.07 x 8 x 0.72 (rear) inches
Weight: 3.2 pounds (measured), 3.8 pounds (with power brick)
What really caught our eye with this particular configuration of the Dell Latitude 7310 is its arsenal of privacy and security features. While this particular BTO configuration of the Latitude lacks a fingerprint reader, it does come equipped with IR facial recognition, a proximity sensor, a webcam shutter, and Dell’s SafeScreen privacy display. The CPU includes Intel’s vPro technology, which is designed to optimize remote maintenance and management for IT departments,
Other features worthy of mention include the full HDMI port for connecting an external monitor, a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB-A port for legacy accessories (think mice and printers), support for cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 routers, and a relatively beefy 51-watt hour battery (keep reading for our battery drain results).
The Dell Latitude 7310, like most in this product line, feels sleek, sturdy, and a tad heavy at about 3.2 pounds (or 3.8 if you include the AC cable and power brick). The Latitude 7310 boasts a brushed-aluminum chassis whose ruggedized shell has also been designed to meet MIL-STD 810G standards for sand, dust, vibration, shock, and high/low temperature resistance.
The angled front edge of the Latitude has a wide notch that makes it easier to open the laptop with one hand. A pair of 360-degree hinges let you rotate the laptop from clamshell to “tent” to tablet mode.
The display has relatively slim left and right bezels, while the top and bottom bezels are a tad chunkier. Sitting at the top are two cameras: an IR module for facial recognition, and a 720p webcam with a physical shutter. The privacy shutter’s ridged slider is easy to use (ones we’ve tried on other models are far tougher to grip), although there’s no visual indicator of the shutter’s position.
One of the key features of the Dell Latitude 7310’s display is its support for Dell SafeScreen, a technology that boosts your privacy by drastically narrowing the screen’s field of vision. Similar to how HP’s competing Sure View technology works, SafeScreen makes the Latitude 7310’s display appear much darker when viewed from the side, rendering text on the screen practically unreadable.
When I enabled the SafeScreen feature (by pressing the F9 key) and sat off to the side of the Latitude (imagine a nosy neighbor at a crowded Starbucks, an admittedly unlikely scenario during the ongoing pandemic), I couldn’t make out the text of the open Outlook email on my screen at all, nor could I read the numbers on an Excel spreadsheet.
SafeScreen won’t hide everything from prying eyes. For example, I could faintly see the Outlook interface from my vantage point, and (in another test) I could easily identify a jumbo-sized image of Bill Gates’s face. The technology also does a better job at obscuring the screen when viewed from the sides than it does from the top or bottom. That said, I can report that with Dell SafeScreen switched on, the Latitude 7310’s side-to-side viewing angles are—intentionally—quite awful.
The Dell SafeScreen feature does have a slight impact on display brightness. According to our readings and with SafeScreen toggled off, the Latitude 7310 has a maximum screen brightness of 280 nits (at center of screen), a bit above our preferred setting of 250 nits for indoor viewing. With SafeScreen turned on, the 7310’s display brightness dimmed a tad to 275 nits—most noticeable if you rapidly turn SafeScreen on and off.
Keyboard, trackpad, speakers, and webcam
Most of the Dell Latitude models I’ve tested (including the aging Latitude that serves as my corporate laptop) come equipped with premium keyboards, and the Latitude 7310 is no exception. The keys feel solid and sturdy, with a little more travel than you normally get on laptop keyboards. The keys are also relatively quiet, which means your officemates (or, more likely, housemates) won’t shoot death rays in your direction if you’re typing away at a furious rate.
The laptop’s power button sits in the top-right of the keyboard, but its stiff design makes it tough to press by accident. Some models of the Latitude 7310 have a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button, but not ours.
The Latitude 7310’s touchpad felt exceptionally smooth and precise to my fingertips, and it did a nice job of rejecting false inputs. Even when I smushed the bottom of both palms against the corners of the trackpad, the cursor refused to budge.
The laptop’s down-firing speakers are a cut above the (admittedly poor) norm. Cranking “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings, the twin drivers sounded reasonably detailed in the mid and high ranges, with a respectably wide soundstage for a laptop. But don’t get too excited: Bass response is practically (and unsurprisingly) non-existent. As usual, you’ll be better off plugging in a pair of cans or connecting a Bluetooth speaker, but as far as laptop speakers go, I’ve heard much worse.
The Latitude 7310’s 720p webcam turned in a solid performance during the half-dozen or so Zoom calls I joined during my testing. The 30-fps video that the webcam captured looked relatively vivid and detailed, if characteristically blotchy at times.
Dell Optimizer features
The Latitude 7310 series comes with a quartet of security and optimization features, bundled in the aptly named Dell Optimizer suite. Chief among them is ExpressSign-in, which automatically locks the Latitude’s screen and puts the laptop to sleep when you leave the vicinity, and wakes it back up and unlocks the screen when you return.
I had ExpressSign-in enabled for practically the entire time I was testing the Latitude, and it worked well. Sometimes, the feature went a little too far, locking the screen after I’d merely looked away for a few minutes, although it quickly woke and unlocked the screen when I turned to face the laptop again. You can specify how long it takes before ExpressSign-in locks the screen (from one to three minutes), and you can also snooze the feature for up to two hours.
While the concept behind ExpressSign-in is easy to mock—what, you can’t be bothered to lift your fingers to lock the screen?—it does serve a purpose beyond pampering lazy users. If you’re regularly dealing with sensitive material on your laptop, ExpressSign-in does a great job at enforcing screen security, cutting to a bare minimum those “oh, I’ll only be away for a second” lapses that leave your display open to prying eyes.
Besides ExpressSign-in, the Dell Optimizer suite also comes with ExpressResponse, an AI- and Intel Adaptix-powered technology designed to optimize your favorite applications (you’ll need to add your most-used programs to an ordered list), while ExpressCharge makes on-the-fly tweaks to your laptop settings to squeeze extra juice out of the battery. Intelligent Audio lets you specify how noisy your work environment is, automatically adjusting your audio settings so you can hear over the roar.
The Latitude 7310 comes with a relatively generous selection of ports (as it should, given its steep price tag), including (on the left side) a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and a microSD memory card slot.
On the right side sits a SuperSpeed USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and a combo audio jack, along with a wedge-shaped laptop security slot.
We’re particularly pleased with the two Thunderbolt 3 interfaces, which give you options for connecting advanced display and storage devices. We’re also happy that Dell saw fit to include (at least) a single USB Type-A port for connecting legacy mice, printers, and other such peripherals.
Keep reading to see the Latitude 7310’s impressive Core i7 performance and more.
Overall, the Dell Latitude 7310 turns in an impressive performance when it comes to day-to-day computing duties, and it also turns in one of the fastest results we’ve ever seen when it comes to our lengthy multi-core HandBrake test. The Latitude’s multi-core performance in short bursts leaves something to be desired, however.
PCMark 8 Work 2.0 Conventional
Our first benchmark, PCMark Work, simulates such everyday computing activities as browsing the web, composing word documents, crunching numbers with spreadsheets, social networking, and video chat. A score of 2,000 generally indicates that a given system will run Microsoft Office apps without skipping a beat. As most of the applications simulated by PCMark 8 demand only a single CPU core, laptops with higher-core-count CPUs perform about the same as those with lower-core-count CPUs.
With a PCMark 8 score a tad north of 3,700, the Latitude 7310 and its Core i7-10610U sits among the top three. (All of the competitors in our roundup managed to break the 3,000 mark, including the Lenovo Yoga C640 and its dual-core Core i3 CPU). The upshot is that all of these laptops should be able to run Office apps without any hiccups.
Our next benchmark presents a somewhat tougher challenge than PCMark 8. Using the free HandBrake conversion tool, we tasked the Dell Latitude 7310 with encoding a 40GB MKV file video file into a format suitable for Android tablets. This CPU-crushing chore reliably spins up the internal fans as the temperature inside the chassis begins to soar. Because the HandBrake benchmark can take an hour or more to complete, it gives us a good idea of how a given laptop deals with heat over time. Unlike PCMark 8, our HandBrake test rewards the laptops with the most cores.
With its quad-core Core i7-10610U CPU, the Dell Latitude 7310 cruises into second place, easily dusting off several laptops with Core i5 Comet Lake processors. It’s still bested by the Lenovo Yoga C940-14 and its cutting-edge Core i7 Ice Lake CPU.
The laptop’s design also played an important role in its strong HandBrake showing. The Latitude 7310 is fairly thick and heavy, which means it’s easier to cool than its slimmer and lighter counterparts—and can probably afford to open its throttle wider than its competitors might.
While Handbrake is something of a marathon given its hour-plus runtime, the short and sweet Cinebench benchmark is more of a sprint. A test that measures a laptop’s multi- and single-threaded CPU performance as it renders a 3D image in real time, Cinebench typically finishes in about five minutes, which means laptops with the fastest boost clocks will have the edge.
The Dell Latitude 7310’s multi-thread Cinebench result is disappointing. While we’re not surprised to see the Ice Lake-powered HP Envy 13 and Lenovo Yoga C940-14 at the top of the chart, we are disappointed that the Latitude 7310 couldn’t best the Lenovo C740-14IML, a Core i5 Comet Lake CPU that has—on paper, anyway—a slower base and boost clock that the 7310’s Core i7 Comet Lake processor. Bottom line: The Latitude seems to shine more down the stretch than it does out of the gate.
Before we move on, though, check out the Dell’s relatively strong single-threaded Cinebench score. That’s an encouraging figure when it comes to the Latitude’s single-core efficiency, and it’s also reflective of the Latitude’s impressive results during the PCMark 8 benchmark, which (as we mentioned earlier) focuses on single-core tasks.
3DMark Sky Diver 1.0
The Dell Latitude 7310 is a business laptop, not designed to knock anyone’s socks off with its visuals. Like other Comet Lake-powered laptops, the Latitude 7310 has an integrated Intel UHD graphics core, a modest component compared to systems with dedicated graphics cards or even Intel’s Iris integrated graphics cores.
True to form, the Latitude 7310 is, indeed, hovering near the middle of our 3D Mark Sky Diver chart, well behind Iris and Intel UHD G1-powered laptops but a notch above four Comet Lake systems with the same integrated Intel UHD GPU. That’s actually a good sign when it comes to everyday graphics chores such as light photo editing or even Adobe Premiere.
We test battery life by looping a 4K video using the stock Windows Movies and TV app, with display brightness set to about 250 nits and volume dialed to 50 percent, with headphones plugged in.
With its 51 watt-hour battery (according to a Windows-generated battery report), the Dell Latitude 7310’s battery drain results sits about where we’d expect, with the top three laptops in our chart all boasting larger battery capacities (as in 60 watt-hour or better). The Lenovo C740-14IML did last somewhat longer with its similar 51-watt-hour battery, but the Dell’s battery still managed to hold out nearly 10 hours during our test. We should note, however, that real-world performance will differ, particularly if you’re processing videos or performing other CPU-intensive tasks.
Rarely have we encountered such a privacy-minded laptop as this particular configuration of the Dell Latitude 7310, what with its proximity sensor, privacy screen and camera shutter. The Comet Lake CPU should power you through most everyday and processor-intensive computing chores, particularly the lengthy ones. Those who demand quick bursts of processor speed may need to look elsewhere, however.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.