CES has almost arrived, and Dell is kicking things off with some new versions of its Latitude laptops (designed for business customers), led by the new Latitude 9420 and 9520. The devices will add Intel’s new 11th Gen vPro chips (once available in March 2021) and new features like an automated, integrated webcam shutter to physically block your camera when it’s not in use.
Dubbed “SafeShutter,” the new optional webcam system is an almost blindingly obvious addition, especially considering the shift in focus to videoconferencing in the past year as businesses have been forced to transition to remote work. The shutter can open and close automatically when the webcam is in use, but there are also “mute” keys to manually disable the microphone or camera as needed. Anyone who’s ever stuck a sliding shutter or taped over their webcam for security concerns should be able to see the benefit of an automatic, integrated setup here, and it’s something that will hopefully extend to other laptops in Dell’s lineup in the future.
The new camera system on the Latitude 9420. Image: Dell
The other big update is the option to get Intel’s new 11th Gen vPro chips — the Latitude 9420 can be configured with up to a Core i7 model — bringing the benefits of Intel’s newest chips (including its powerful integrated Iris Xe graphics) to the new models. The updated 14-inch model will come in either a 2560 x 1600 2-in-1 form factor or a lower-resolution 1080p laptop configuration. RAM goes up to 32GB, while storage can be configured with up to a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. Lastly, the 9420 will offer both optional 5G or LTE support through Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X20 (for LTE) or X55 (for 5G and LTE) modems.
Dell will also have an updated model of the larger 15.6-inch Latitude 9510 — called, fittingly, the Latitude 9520 — available spring 2021, which will offer similar improvements, including the webcam shutter and the new 11th Gen commercial Intel chips. And given how impressive the battery life was on the 9510, it’ll be interesting to see how Dell does now that it has the benefit of the vPro versions of Intel’s 11th Gen processors.
The Latitude 9420 will start at $1,949, while the Latitude 9520 has yet to get any pricing information announced. Both will be available this spring.
The Dell Latitude 7320. Image: Dell
Dell is also upgrading its Latitude 7000 and Latitude 5000 lineups. The 7000 series receives a new model, the Latitude 7520, adding the option of a 15.6-inch configuration for the first time (alongside the 13.3-inch 7320 and 14-inch 7420 models, which are updated versions of last year’s versions). The new 7520, 7420, and 7320 models will also be configured with Intel’s 11th Gen vPro chips, offer up to 32GB of RAM, and a new, smaller design. Dell also says that it’s upgraded the camera and audio quality for better videoconferencing.
As expected, some of the more premium features of the 9420 and 9520 are missing here, though: the 7000 models can only be configured with LTE, not 5G, and the optional webcam shutter is manual, lacking the new automated system of the high-end models.
Lastly, there are the new Latitude 5000 models, which come in 13.3-inch (5320), 14-inch (5420), and 15.6-inch (5520) sizes. The new 5000 series laptops are also getting the new 11th Gen vPro chips, but take things down a step further with less aluminum and more plastic in the design. Dell is using 21 percent bioplastic content (from tree waste) in the lids of the 5000 series laptops, though, in a new environmental move to improve sustainability.
The Latitude 5000 series will be available on January 12th, while the Latitude 7000 series will be available on March 30th, starting at $999.