The Dell Latitude 5289 2-in-1 laptop starts at roughly £1,300 (we tested the £1,400 mid-range version) and is a very subtle yet productive 12.5-inch laptop. Like many notebooks on the market these days, the 5289 has the ability to transform in to a tablet on the go simply by flipping the screen back on itself, automatically disabling the keyboard and automatically rotating the screen to the correct orientation. But that’s not all it can do.
The mid-range model that we tested makes use of a snappy Intel Core i5-7300U vPro seventh generation processor clocked at a very respectable 2.60GHz, which was more than capable of handling moderate use of Adobe Creative Cloud for photo and publication editing, getting a thumbs up for processing power from our self-employed graphic designer (cheers Martin!).
The 10-point 1080p touchscreen display is a handy feature to have, however, all of our testers found that the screen itself was slightly too small for the rugged chassis, leaving large bezels around the edge.
To an extent, we can expect this to allow for the necessary thumb-space when holding it in tablet mode, but it’s still a bit too much bezel for a laptop, especially compared with the edge-to-edge standard in the smartphone market.
The keyboard is compact, yet well designed and tactile. Unlike some other notebooks, I never felt claustrophobic while typing, and the smart backlit keyboard will come in handy when working at 3am on that final final draft.
The trackpad however, can be frequently inaccurate and the fact that it’s so small doesn’t help. The trackpad does however score some points for having physical left and right click buttons, with very confident actuation, making it easy to decipher if you’ve clicked something even if you’re on the move.
The left IO ports include two USB-C ports, either of which can be used to charge the laptop with the compact USB-C charging cable. Fear not though as the laptop does have two USB-3 ports.
In addition to this, Dell has blessed us with a full-size HDMI port for external monitors – so no dongles required – as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack, Micro SD card reader, security card reader, and a SIM card slot.
Unfortunately, Dell has decided to use a cheaper SATA III SSD configuration, rather than a PCIe SSD; but you probably won’t notice this at all unless you try to move hours of 4k video files about, and even then, it’s not exactly slow.
Now to the body, the rugged and rubberised exterior is defiantly not faking its toughness. There is virtually no flex in the body to report on, and the hinges on the screen are so tough that you could spend hours converting between tablet and laptop modes to your heart’s content and it would still feel exactly the same.
Dell is very proud the 5289 has survived MILSTD 810G torture tests, and they should be. This impressively tough laptop is light and portable.
Overall, the 5289 is a great laptop with some superb engineering from Dell, which has earned it a solid four stars. Ideally, we would have liked to see less bezel, and if we were being picky, it could have done with some more USB ports. Importantly the price is just about what you’d expect for a laptop of this spec; it could be better but isn’t ludicrous.
• 12.5 16:9 1080p display, integrated graphics
• 10-point multitouch
• Gorilla glass
• 256gb SSd
• 3.5 mm combined stereo jack, MicroSD card reader, SIM slot, USB 3.0 Type-A, Kensington lock, 2x USB 3.0 Type-C (incl. DisplayPort/power supply), HDMI, USB 3.0 Type-A, smart card reader
By Michael Bryce