Dell’s new Latitude 9440 is one of the smallest 14-inch business laptops you can buy
Dell’s new Latitude 9440, as far as I can glean from the photos, is a Latitude with XPS vibes. It’s a convertible made of machined aluminum, it weighs a bit over three pounds, it’s got a 16:10 display, and it’s got a 91.5 percent screen-to-body ratio — which is, according to Dell, the best screen-to-body ratio on a “14-inch commercial ultra-premium PC”. (It’s 12.2. x 8.46 x 0.59 inches.)
Hilariously specific accolades aside, this 2-in-1 device (which does not yet have announced pricing and availability, though I’ll spare you the suspense and predict that it will not be cheap) looks like a C-suite-oriented commercial product with a few funky features that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see on… well, a Dell Latitude.
For one, the keyboard is backlit by Mini LEDs, which are said to reduce the backlit keyboard power usage by up to 75 percent and increase battery life by “up to three hours.” (I’ve had battery issues with Latitudes in the past, so any improvement would be welcome.) If you look at this keyboard, it looks strikingly similar to that of the Dell XPS 13 Plus. It uses the same keyboard design, which Dell calls “zero-lattice.”
These giant keys with a teensy amount of space between them are supposed to make it easier to type. My experience using them on the XPS 13 Plus was that they took some getting used to and didn’t revolutionize my typing experience but were ultimately fine. (It was not the second coming of the butterfly keyboard, as I’d feared it might be.) The XPS 13 Plus, it must be said, also had non-physical haptic function keys, which I had a number of gripes about and which I am happy to see that the Latitude 9440 has dispensed with in favor of an old-school function row.
Elsewhere, the device has a haptic “collaboration touchpad” that includes shortcut buttons to access the microphone, camera, screen sharing, and chat controls. Ports include three Thunderbolt 4, an audio jack, a lock slot, and an optional nano SIM card tray. It’s powered by Intel’s 13th Gen.
Dell has also updated its lightweight 7000 series with the Latitude 7340 and 7440 Ultralight models, which will be among the lightest business laptops you can buy this year, with a starting weight of 2.17 pounds. These have a new 5MP camera and 5G connectivity, as well as a new “river” color (a grayish blue) option. They have the same Mini LED keyboard backlight as the 9440 as well. Port selection is more diverse than that of the 9440, including HDMI 2.0 support in addition to Thunderbolt 4 and USB 3.2 Gen 1.
I recently reviewed the Latitude 7330 (which the 7340 will succeed) and found that it didn’t quite earn its high price tag. In addition to fairly short battery life, the device had a bit of a bland design. I am particularly happy to see that Dell has finally ditched the 16:9 screen on this series in favor of 16:10. We’ll hopefully see how well Dell has addressed the battery life issues when these models begin to hit reviewers’ desks.