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The Dell Latitude is a mainstay of laptop fleets across the globe. This becomes an odd challenge, as the needs of an organization’s IT department comes first. The user’s satisfaction is secondary. The result is the laptop equivalent of oatmeal. It does its job—very well, in fact—but it’s not what most people would pick from a menu. While we loved the keyboard and display, performance was less-than-stellar and the price tag is pretty high. IT admins should give the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight a long, hard look, but individual buyers should probably turn their attention elsewhere. Read on to learn more.
Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight specs and features
The Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight offers dozens of options that go well beyond the processor, RAM, and hard drive. Shoppers can snag this laptop with one of five displays, a Smart Card reader, and an LTE modem, among other extras. Dell will even ship the laptop with Ubuntu Linux, if you’d like. These business-friendly options really up the value of this specific laptop.
CPU: Intel Core i7-1265U
Graphics/GPU: Intel Iris Xe
Display:1920 x 1080 non-touch IPS screen
Storage: 512GB SSD
Webcam: 720p with privacy shutter
Connectivity: 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4 with Power Delivery and DisplayPort, 1x USB-A 3.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x 3.5mm audio jack.
Networking: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
MSRP: Starting around $1,800
My review laptop was a mid-range configuration. It had several hardware upgrades, including an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, but was missing extras like LTE mobile data and biometric security. These modest additions up the as-tested price to an intimidating $2,594.74.
You’ll find a vPro chip on this device, which makes it all the more enticing for business professionals. Intel’s vPro tech allows IT admins to fix, maintain, and manage a PC from a remote location. This program makes mass-installation easier, too. If your work laptop is ever stolen, vPro enables you to quickly erase the hard drive. It also supports multi-factor authentication and full disk encryption. If you need vPro, you know it, and its features are worth their premium in a large business environment.
Design and build quality
IDG / Matthew Smith
The Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight is the least attractive laptop to cross my desk this year. The black magnesium alloy chassis isn’t offensive, but it’s certainly forgettable. The display bezels are small, but not slim enough to stand out, and the laptop has no distinctive markings aside from a small Dell logo.
Pick it up, however, and you’ll notice its (lack of) weight. The Latitude 7330 Ultralight lives up to its name at a feathery 2.13 pounds. It’s among the lightest 13-inch laptops sold today. Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro 13 is the only serious contender that’s lighter, weighing a tad below two pounds.
Low weight doesn’t mean the Latitude 7330 Ultralight is fragile. It lacks the heft of a heavier premium laptop, like Apple’s MacBook Air or Dell’s XPS 13, but the chassis is rigid. It’s superior to alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 13 and LG Gram 14, both of which feel flimsy.
Keyboard and trackpad
IDG / Matthew Smith
The Latitude 7330 Ultralight is a treat for typists. It provides a spacious layout and excellent key feel with long travel and a crisp, tactile bottoming action. I also enjoyed the palm rests, which are relatively deep and wide for a 13-inch laptop.
Though fantastic to use, the keyboard looks ugly and the material used for each key is a cheap plastic that feels reminiscent of an aging action figure or a cheap storage bin.
A keyboard backlight is available but provides just two brightness settings controlled by a function key shortcut. It looks mediocre, as some keys are not evenly lit, and the brightness isn’t especially high at its maximum setting.
The touchpad is a mix bag. It’s small, measuring about four inches wide and two inches deep. Windows’ multi-touch gestures can feel cramped. It’s responsive, however, and the touchpad’s surface is distinct from the palmrest material that surrounds it.
IDG / Matthew Smith
Dell offers the Latitude 7330 Ultralight with a bewildering array of five display options. All five are 13.3-inch 1080p displays, but some models offer touch, and they differ in maximum brightness. My review laptop had a 13.3-inch, 1080p, non-touch display that claims up to 400 nits of brightness. My testing placed it close to that figure at 387 nits.
The display is functional, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s clear, sharp, and bright. An effective anti-glare coating tames reflections to keep the laptop usable in a sunlit room. The display is well suited to document editing, web browsing, and other tasks that involve working with small fonts.
If you want to enjoy entertainment, however, you won’t be pleased. The display falls short in color gamut, accuracy, and contrast. Alternative laptops with OLED displays, like the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED, Dell XPS 13 OLED, and Samsung Galaxy Book Pro2 360, look more vivid and have deeper, darker black levels.
The Latitude 7330 Ultralight’s decision to avoid OLED makes sense, as OLED displays have a glossy coat that can show significant glare. That’s not ideal when using a laptop in a bright environment like an office or airport.
Audio quality falls flat. The Latitude’s speakers are tinny, weak, and muddy. Dialogue comes through clearly, so video conferencing is enjoyable, but music sounds grating and distant.
The Latitude 7330 Ultralight comes with Waves MaxxAudio Pro software that alters audio presentation when headphones are connected. I turned it off, but was prompted again each time I connected headphones. It’s an annoying bit of bloatware that’s best uninstalled.
Webcam, microphone, biometrics
The Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight offers a variety of webcam, microphone, and biometric options. My review laptop skipped most of them, offering a basic 720p webcam with microphone. Biometric login wasn’t supported, though other configurations can include a fingerprint reader and IR camera.
Video quality isn’t good. The 720p webcam has decent color presentation and brightness, but looks soft and grainy even in good lighting. The microphones are clear, but volume is a bit low, and background noise cancellation is unreliable.
Wired connectivity is an area I’d expect a productivity laptop to stand out, but the Latitude 7330 Ultralight is rather basic. It has two Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4 ports, both of which support DisplayPort and Power Delivery, and a single USB-A Gen 3.2 port. My model also had an HDMI 2.0 video output and a 3.5mm audio jack.
That’s it. There’s no Ethernet, no additional USB-A ports, and no dedicated DisplayPort or mini-DisplayPort. An optional Smart Card Reader is available, but this feature is of use only to corporations and organizations.
Wireless connectivity, on the other hand, is excellent. The Latitude 7330 Ultralight supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard and Bluetooth 5.2. My review laptop lacked an LTE modem, but Dell offers optional LTE modems with support for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks (in the United States).
Though expensive, the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight configuration I reviewed had decidedly mid-range specifications. The most significant was the Intel Core i7-1265U processor. It has a total of ten cores, but only two are Performance-cores.
IDG / Matthew Smith
PCMark 10, a general performance benchmark, places the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight behind the competitive set with a score of just 5,100. This is an adequate score but, when compared to other modern laptops of similar price, the Latitude is clearly behind the curve. Although performance doesn’t quite line up with the consumer laptops in the graph above, it should be noted that the Latitude has those crucial vPro security features. Those features bump up the cost quite a bit. However, it’s a fair exchange, as it makes running a business much safer.
IDG / Matthew Smith
The Cinebench R15 multi-threaded benchmark places the Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight a hair behind the pack. It falls short of not only the Intel Core i7-1260P, but also AMD’s older Ryzen 7 5800U.
This may seem surprising, as the Core i7-1265U appears to occupy a higher place in Intel’s product stack. The key is in the lettering. The i7-1265U is part of a processor line that skews towards lower power draw while the i7-1260P leans towards performance.
Don’t get this wrong: the i7-1265U is a fine processor for most tasks. Even light photo or video editing should not be an issue. Still, the Core i7-1260P is better if you need sustained performance in heavily multithreaded workloads.
IDG / Matthew Smith
The Latitude 7330 Ultralight’s graphics performance also falls a tad behind the competition. It manages to slightly outpace the HP Pavilion Aero 13, which uses AMD Radeon integrated graphics. Yet the Latitude falls significantly behind Intel Iris Xe in the Lenovo Yoga 9i and Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360.
No one is buying this laptop for its graphics performance, of course, but an improved score would be preferable. This level of performance is adequate only for playing older 3D games at low detail and, in many cases, a resolution below 1080p. The Latitude will also struggle in rendering apps like Blender.
The Dell Latitude 7330 Ultralight model I tested had a small 41 watt-hour battery. That’s smaller than average for a 13-inch laptop and it has consequences.
IDG / Matthew Smith
I recorded eight hours and 56 minutes of battery life in PC World’s standard battery test, which loops a 4K file of the short film Tears of Steel. This is well short of alternatives like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and Samsung’s Galaxy Book Pro models, including the new Book Pro2 360.
Dell offers an upgrade to a 58 watt-hour battery. That’s a capacity increase of about 40 percent which, in theory, would put the Latitude 7330 Ultralight in line with competitors. This upgrade is affordable, as it’s currently priced a hair above $20, and increases the laptop’s weight to about two and a half pounds.
Dell’s Latitude 7330 Ultralight isn’t meant for an average PC shopper. It’s not meant for PC enthusiasts. It’s not even meant for prosumers. This laptop targets big organizations that want to deploy hundreds, possibly thousands of functional, reliable, and identical laptops.
It hits the mark. The Latitude 7330 Ultralight is a simple machine with a great keyboard, nice touchpad, and readable anti-glare display. It’s light, packable, and the battery can be topped off with any common USB-C charger. It supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard and offers optional mobile data. This laptop also has a vPro chip, which adds a ton of security features. It really is a phenomenal work laptop.
Unfortunately, the laptop’s flaws make it unappealing for individuals. It looks and feels much less expensive than its high price tag would suggest. Consumer laptops offer superior performance at roughly half the price. But on the other hand, this laptop offers business-focused features you simply won’t find in consumer laptops (if you need them).
This leaves the Latitude 7330 Ultralight in a rough spot. It’s actually a very good laptop for business fleets. For an IT admin, this is a four star rating as far as business laptops go. However, for just a regular buyer, the Apple MacBook Air, Lenovo Yoga 9i, or Dell XPS 13 delivers far more value.
Editor’s Note (8/10/22): We’ve edited the text to better explain vPro’s features.