As promised, Dell’s recently announce Enterprise Chromebooks are now available directly from their site. The new Latitude lineup includes a 14″ clamshell and 13.3″ FHD 2-in-1 that can be configured up to a Core i7 Whiskey Lake processor and a Chrome OS-first 32GB of DDR4 RAM. While Dell stated the new Chromebooks will have a 1TB NVMe option, the site currently only lists up to 512GB.
Before we get into the finer details, I’ll go ahead and give you the long and short of the availability and pricing. First, it does appear that the Latitude Chromebooks are available to the public and do include the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade in the retail price. Obviously, you would need an eligible GSuite account to take advantage of the features. Additional software mentioned at the launch will cost you extra but the fact that you can grab them a la carte is a plus for those not wanting to deploy the devices under the management console.
Here’s where things get a little hinky. Some news sites noted that Dell said the cheapest model of the Latitude Chromebooks would start at $699. Well, I’ve configured both models in just about every variation they offer (there are a lot of options) and the cheapest I’ve come up with is $907.40. That includes an “instant savings” of $487.31. (Dell’s way of making you feel better about dropping a grand on a Celeron Chromebook.) Anyway, I’ll leave the entry-level pricing at that and we can move on to what the Latitude Chromebooks are offering.
Dell Latitude 5400 Chromebook
The 14″ Latitude 5400 is a traditional clamshell device that shares the majority of its design with its Windows counterpart that shares the same model number. When building out the Chromebook, you will find a choice of five different processors, all of which are from Intel’s 8th generation Whiskey Lake family. On the low end, there’s a dual-core Celeron 4305U which is very similar to the Kaby Lake Celeron found in the latest generation of Chromeboxes sans a couple of minor differences. Moving up, you have a Core i3, two Core i5s(i5-8265U and i5-8365) and a Core i7. Not sure why the two i5 options but hey, they’re there if you like choices.
In the RAM department, you can opt for as little as 4GB or step all the way up to 32GB because, you know, why not. In between, there are multiple variations of 8GB and 16GB. At first, I was a little confused at this until I clicked the “help me choose” link on the product page. Sure enough, it appears that the Latitude 5400 will have removable memory. That means you can upgrade in the future should you decide your first memory choice wasn’t enough.
Storage is a little simpler to pick out. You get three options. All three are M.2 NVMe ranging from 128GB to 512GB. (1TB presumable coming in the near future.) The bump to 256GB is only about $80 so that would be my pick unless you absolutely have to have more. Now, on to the displays.
You would think that having HD, FHD and FHD touch options would be ample but no, Dell has just as many choices for the panel as they do processors. I’ll just list them so you can see what we’re dealing with.
- 14″ FHD WVA (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Non-Touch WLAN+ $50.15
- 14″ FHD WVA (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Non-Touch WWAN/WLAN+ $56.42
- 14″ FHD WVA (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Touch WLAN+ $112.84
- 14″ FHD WVA (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Touch WWAN/WLAN+ $119.10
- 14″ HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare Non-Touch WLAN + $0.00
- 14″ HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare Non-Touch WWAN/WLAN+ $6.27
To clarify, there are actually only three screen options. The reason for the six listings is because you can opt for WWAN(Wireless Wide Area Network) antenna in the display for better connectivity on the go. Speaking of connectivity, there are also a couple of options for LTE on the Latitude.
Users can choose between a Sprint or Verizon mobile broadband card for their new Chromebook for an upcharge of $124.75, not including data usage. It is worth noting that the Celeron and Core i3 models both states they are not compatible with the LTE options. So, yeah. There’s that.
Rounding off the menu are three different battery options which are very unheard of in a Chrome OS device as well as multiple charger options including 65W and 90W along with USB-C adapters. Now for the shocker… If you max this Chromebook out, Dell has a retail listing of $3391.17. Don’t panic, there’s an instant discount and you can get it for a modest $2,179.59. I know, most consumers won’t be buying this thing and enterprises get bulk pricing and have massive IT budgets. Still, that’s a lot to take in. Moving on to the convertible.
Dell Latitude 5300 Chromebook
We’ll keep this one as short as possible as I’m sure you’re fumbling for your credit card to buy a $2000 Chromebook. The Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 offers slightly fewer configurations thanks to a single display option. The 13.3″ convertible comes with a 1920 x 1080 Anti-Reflective, IPS, Touch display equipped with WLAN and WWAN. Processor options include the Celeron, Core i3, Core i5(just the 8365U for the 5300) and Core i7.
RAM comes in the same as the 5400 with 4GB base and up-to 32GB configurable DDR4. It does appear that it will also be upgradeable after purchase. (pending confirmation from Dell) Storage is likewise the same three options of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB of NVMe SSD. Spring and Verizon LTE options are available for $129.47.
You can choose from a three or four-cell battery and multiple charging accessories. If you price out the stripped-down version, you’ll be looking at a cool $908 which may sound reasonable compared to the maxed-out 5400 but let’s be real, you can get way more Chromebook for that money elsewhere. Again, these are targeted at enterprises. I get it, sort of. If you want to top-tier 5300, it’s going to run you $2,525.73.
It is very exciting to see enterprise-class Chromebooks coming to market, for sure. Between EDU and the business sector, Chrome OS is finally becoming the mature operating system we’ve longed for but I sincerely hope that devices of this caliber will find a place in the consumer market with pricing that’s a little more palatable. We shall see.