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Dell Latitude 5420: A Thorough Look at Dell‘s Powerful Business Laptop

For over 25 years, Dell‘s Latitude series has been the go-to choice for business laptops. Known for their reliability, performance, and enterprise features, Latitudes have become ubiquitous in corporate offices. The latest addition, the Latitude 5420 launched in 2021, upholds this venerable legacy with a potent mix of power, portability, and IT-friendly capabilities.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at how the 5420 continues the Latitude pedigree. Whether you’re an IT buyer researching new corporate laptops or just a technology enthusiast, you’ll learn everything that makes the 5420 a leading business notebook.

The Evolution of Dell‘s Latitude Lineup

Let‘s start with some history on how the Latitude lineup has evolved over the decades:

1993 – Dell released the Latitude XP, one of the earliest lightweight notebooks optimized for business needs. Weighing under 5 pounds, it was portable for travelers.

1999 – The Latitude CPi was one of the first sub-3 pound notebooks. It pioneered Dell’s rugged design and magnesium alloy chassis.

2006 – Dell acquired Alienware, bringing gaming laptop experience to the Latitude line. The D620 offered discrete Nvidia graphics for multimedia creators.

2009 – The E6400 introduced Dell’s first Latitude with a 13-inch display, appealing to frequent fliers.

2012 – The Latitude 6430u used breakthrough Tri-Metal casing for durability and was hailed as an "enterprise dream machine."

2016 – In the Latitude 7000 series, Dell added premium features like wireless charging, Thunderbolt 3 ports, and rotating cameras.

2021 – The latest Latitude 5000 series brings 11th Gen Intel Core processors and 5G mobile connectivity.

This brief history shows how Dell consistently evolved the Latitude line, keeping it on the cutting edge of mobile technology through major laptop innovations. Now in its 29th year, the Latitude 5420 represents the pinnacle of everything Dell knows about crafting enterprise notebooks.

Dell Latitude 5420 Quick Specs

Before diving into details, let‘s quickly recap the key specs of the Latitude 5420:

-processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i5/i7

-RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200

-Storage: Up to 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD

-Display: 14-inch 1920×1080, anti-glare

-Graphics: Intel Iris Xe

-Ports: 2x USB 3.2, 2x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, Ethernet, SD reader

-Wireless: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, LTE options

-Battery: Up to 21 hours

-OS: Windows 10/11 Pro, Linux

-Weight: Starting at 3.03 lbs

-Dimensions: 12.65 x 8.22 x 0.78 inches

This outlines the essential specs, but it‘s just a glimpse of what this enterprise powerhouse offers. Next let‘s dive into all the details and capabilities.

Dell Latitude 5420 Models and Configurations

One reason enterprises love Latitudes is the breadth of customization available. The Latitude 5420 models offer numerous combinations of components to spec the perfect laptop.

Processors

The latest 11th generation Intel Core power the 5420 series:

  • Core i5-1135G7 – up to 4.2GHz, 4 cores, 8MB cache
  • Core i5-1145G7 – up to 4.4GHz, 4 cores, 8MB cache
  • Core i7-1185G7 – up to 4.8GHz, 4 cores, 12MB cache

The Core i5 offers a good balance of performance for everyday tasks. The Core i7 boosts speed for demanding applications or multitasking. All support Intel vPro for enterprise management.

RAM

Available RAM configurations:

  • 8GB DDR4-3200
  • 16GB DDR4-3200
  • 32GB DDR4-3200
  • 64GB DDR4-3200

Maxing out RAM helps for heavy workloads. Up to 64GB lets you juggle dozens of apps and browser tabs without slowdowns.

Storage

Fast PCIe NVMe solid state drives deliver quick boot times and data access:

  • 128GB SSD
  • 256GB SSD
  • 512GB SSD
  • 1TB SSD
  • 2TB SSD

Larger drives up to 2TB provide ample space for files, media, virtual machines, and more.

Display

Three display options are offered:

  • 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS, anti-glare
  • 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS, 400 nit outdoor viewable
  • 14-inch 1920×1080 IPS Touchscreen

The standard display suits most indoor use. Choose the ultra-bright 400 nit panel for outdoor visibility. Or get the touchscreen for tablet-like interaction.

This variety of component choices spans from affordable base configs to high-end spec‘d out workstations. Enterprises can customize 5420s tailored to each employee‘s needs.

Design – Durability Meets Portability

Despite its 14-inch screen size, the Latitude 5420 weighs just 3.03 pounds and measures 0.78 inches thick. It strikes a nice balance of screen real estate vs. compact portability.

The smooth, squared-off chassis is all business. The lid, base, and interior sport a durable dark gray magnesium alloy construction with carbon fiber accents. Black rubber trims along the edges absorb impacts from drops.

Dell subjected the 5420 to 19 MIL-STD-810H durability tests including shocks, vibrations, exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity, and environmental factors like sand and dust. Short of hazardous work sites, it‘s built to survive everyday business use abuse.

Carbon fiber and magnesium alloy chassis provide durability

But most importantly, the Latitude 5420 retains the enterprise-friendly serviceability of previous generations. Just one screw allows removing the bottom plate to access components for upgrades and repairs. Critical for minimizing downtime when issues arise.

The functional, business-like aesthetic may not have the wow factor of a premium ultrabook. But form follows function, and the 5420 delivers where it matters most – with reliable construction.

Display Analysis

One of the few nitpicks reviewers had on the 5420 was its display. While good, it‘s not groundbreaking compared to consumer laptops. Let‘s analyze the key display metrics:

Brightness

  • Up to 400 nits / Up to 250 nits standard

Resolution

  • 1920 x 1080 (166 PPI)

Aspect Ratio

  • 16:9

Panel

  • IPS LCD, anti-glare

Color Gamut

  • 45% NTSC

Contrast Ratio

  • 700:1

The 400 nit max brightness and 1080p resolution ensure good outdoor and indoor visibility. Contract ratio could be higher but color accuracy tested well. The anti-glare IPS screen reduces eye fatigue.

Still, while it handles documents and media fine, creative pros may want higher color gamuts and a 4K resolution. Compared to OLED displays on premium flagships, the 5420 screen looks average. But it gets the job done for most business use.

Top-Notch Productivity Performance

Performance is where the Latitude 5420 truly excels compared to consumer notebooks. The potent 11th Gen Intel Core processors, generous RAM allotments, and fast NVMe SSD storage make short work of intensive business workloads.

CPU benchmarks show the Latitude 5420 competes with top-tier ultrabooks:

CPU Benchmarks

Processor Cinebench R20 Single core Cinebench R20 Multi core
Core i5-1135G7 572 3314
Core i5-1145G7 591 3335
Core i7-1185G7 604 4447

With performance rivalling premium ultrabooks, the 5420 blazes through tasks like financial modeling, statistical analysis, data visualization, CAD software, video conferencing, and more. The generous DDR4-3200 RAM lets you juggle dozens of apps without slowdown.

Storage speeds are snappy thanks to PCIe NVMe solid state drives:

SSD Read/Write Speeds

SSD Read Speed Write Speed
128GB SSD 2.1 GB/s 1.3 GB/s
256GB SSD 2.2 GB/s 1.9 GB/s
512GB SSD 3.1 GB/s 2.2 GB/s
1TB SSD 3.3 GB/s 3.0 GB/s
2TB SSD 3.5 GB/s 3.3 GB/s

As a bonus, chipset-based Intel AES-NI encryption ensures your sensitive corporate data is secure.

For intensive number crunching, data analysis, financial work, engineering programs, video production, and other demanding business uses, the Latitude 5420 delivers workstation-class power in a portable package.

Ample Ports for Desktop-Like Connectivity

The Latitude 5420 packs an impressive range of ports into its slim frame. Let‘s look at what‘s included:

Left Side

  • 2x Thunderbolt 4
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • 1x microSD card reader
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x 3.5mm headphone jack

Right Side

  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
  • 1x Ethernet RJ-45
  • 1x SmartCard reader (optional)
  • 1x Power port
  • 1x Security lock slot

This versatile port selection allows you to connect up to three external displays. You can hook up your desktop keyboard, mouse, and monitor without a dock. Wired networks, external drives, projectors, and other peripherals are plug-and-play ready too.

The dual Thunderbolt 4 ports enable blazing 40Gbps transfers. They let you power up to two 4K displays or access high-speed external storage. There are plenty of options for wired connectivity on the go or hooking up a full desktop setup when stationary.

Long Battery Life When You Need It

Dell packed respectable battery life into the Latitude 5420‘s slim chassis. How does runtime stack up?

Battery Size

  • 42Whr
  • 63Whr
  • 68Whr

Battery Life (measured with FHD screen)

  • Up to 12 hours light use
  • Up to 21 hours idle use

Recharge Time

  • ExpressCharge can reach 80% in an hour

With nearly 21 hours of runtime on a charge, you can make it through marathon workdays away from an outlet. The quick recharge support lets you top up during short breaks.

Battery life does take a hit with intensive workloads, dropping to 5-6 hours for heavy productivity use. Overall though, the 5420 provides enough portable endurance for most business travel needs.

Built for Enterprise IT Needs

What really differentiates the Latitude line are the enterprise-specific features like:

  • Intel vPro – Enables remote management capabilities like hardware-level authentication and WLAN/LAN control.
  • ControlVault – Tamper-resistant FIPS-140-2 certified TPM 2.0 chip for hardened security.
  • Secure Boot – Boot process protections prevent injection of exploits at startup.
  • Smart Card Reader – Allow two-factor identity verification with physical smart cards.
  • Self-encrypting SSDs – Data on the SSD is secured from unauthorized access if device is lost/stolen.
  • Dell Client Command Suite – Streamlines mass deployment and allows remote BIOS configuration.
  • Warranty – Up to 5 years ProSupport Plus and Next Business Day on-site service.

These capabilities simplify integration into large corporate infrastructure. IT can remotely secure, configure, and manage fleets of Latitude 5420s deployed across global offices. For regulated industries like financial and healthcare, the 5420 provides the manageability, data security, identity protection, and resilience needed.

Who Should Buy the Latitude 5420?

With its enterprise-ready features and workstation-class performance, the Latitude 5420 is a superb choice for:

  • Large enterprises deploying secure and sturdy corporate laptops
  • Small business owners who want performance, ports, and reliability
  • Mobile professionals who need desktop-like productivity anywhere – on planes, in hotels, home office
  • Finance professionals running intensive analytics and modeling software
  • Engineers who need to run CAD programs, simulations, and engineering apps
  • Data scientists crunching datasets, building models, and visualizing insights
  • IT professionals who appreciate upgradeability, repairability, and OS imaging/deployment

In short – any professional who needs workstation-caliber power coupled with enterprise-grade security and manageability in a durable yet portable form factor. With the Latitude 5420 in your tech arsenal, you can maximize productivity wherever work takes you.

Alternatives Worth Considering

The Latitude 5420 is a superb all-around business laptop, but depending on your needs, some alternatives may be better fits:

  • Dell XPS 15 – More compact and stylish. Better for graphics work with discrete GPU.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Lighter and longer battery life.
  • HP Elite Dragonfly – Ultra-light 2-in-1 design. Excellent for frequent travelers.
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio – Unique pull-forward screen for drafting and creative work.
  • Asus ExpertBook B9 – Affordable option for tight budgets.

Each have pros and cons compared to the 5420. Analyze your specific priorities and use cases to determine if alternatives like these may serve you better.

The Verdict

The Latitude 5420 upholds the enterprise notebook tradition Dell perfected over nearly three decades. It delivers workstation-caliber performance paired with IT-friendly security and manageability features. A durable yet portable design ensures it can keep up with life on the road.

For business users who need powerhouse productivity in a secure, reliable package, the Latitude 5420 hits the mark. Its potent performance and peace of mind features justify the premium price for enterprises. For your next corporate fleet refresh, Dell Latitude continues to warrant serious consideration.

When your livelihood depends on the tools you use, you need hardware you can count on. The Latitude 5420 provides precisely that – an enterprise workhorse ready to empower productivity wherever business takes you.