First thing this morning we reported on Dell’s upcoming Chromebook duo slated for release later this month. These Chromebooks come with the most insane top-teir specs we’ve yet to see on any Chromebook up to this point, including configurations up to 1TB of NVMe storage and 32GB of RAM.
Those specs are paired up with a unique qualifier both Chromebooks have as the first to be branded as Chromebook Enterprise with no additional licenses needed after purchase to fully leverage Chrome Enterprise. Digital Trends had the opportunity to go hands-on with this new Chromebook duo and their latest post about the Dell Latitude Chromebook Enterprise gives us a few details that the press release did not.
First up, the build materials and quality will be familiar to anyone who has used a Dell Latitude Windows notebook in the past. Actually, it turns out Dell used about 90% of the current Windows Latitude design for these new Chromebooks. This means the same carbon fiber lid, durable hings and 17 MIL-STD spec come along for the ride along with the spill-proof keyboard. All that ruggedness makes the utilitarian look of these Chromebooks a tad more palatable.
Oddly enough, the trackpad on the Latitude Chromebook Enterprise also retains the distinct left and right mouse buttons that we never see on Chromebooks. It is an odd addition and I’m a tad curious as to why Google allowed this and why it was desired. I suppose from a purely functional standpoint, having the two discrete buttons makes usability better, but I’ve never been a fan of physical trackpad buttons. A few other elements these Chromebooks pack in from days gone by are an ethernet port, full-sized HDMI port, and multiple USB-A ports. Function trumps form here, folks.
Second, screen brightness is a bit of a let down. At 220 nits, the clamshell 5400 model feels a tad disappointing and the 255 nits of the 5300 convertible doesn’t do much better. I’m not sure why the current trend feels skewed towards dimmer displays on Chromebooks, but I’m hoping that some of the newer devices we see later this year do away with that particular result of corner-cutting.
Third, LTE support is included in both Chromebooks and is leveraged via a good old SIM card tray. This means all you need to get an LTE data connection up and running on either of these devices is a SIM ejector tool and a working SIM card. Though an eSIM would be a tad less clunky, having a tray on board gives businesses a much easier way to swap devices between users without needing to contact the mobile provider to get the data plan from one device to the next.
Finally, we have some pricing and availability. These two Chromebooks will be available from Dell starting August 27th with the clasmshell 5400 variant starting at $699 and the convertible 5300 starting at $819. Dell hasn’t been clear on what the configurations or specs of those base devices are, but as we see these Chromebooks become available for sale, we’ll keep you updated.