Dell Latitude e7470

In my position I often get to play with different sorts of hardware, but occasionally I get multiple of the same product to deploy. In these instances I have to become intimately familiar with the product so that I can best support users and manage deployments, both standard and non-standard. I’ve recently begun rolling out Dell Latitude e7470’s at Royal Holloway, and thought I would share some of what I’ve discovered.

Specs

Three Dell Latitude e7470

Standard spec configuration

  • 6th Generation (Skylake) Intel Core i5-6300U (Dual Core, 2.4GHz, 3MB cache)
  • 8GB DDR4 2133Mhz RAM (1x8GB SODIMM)
  • 256GB Solid State Drive, M2 2280 SATA 3
  • 14.0-inch FHD (1920×1080) non-touch Anti-Glare LCD with Camera
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless (802.11ac) + Bluetooth
  • Fingerprint Reader and Smart Card Reader (Contact and Contactless) Palmrest (Dual Pointing Device)
  • 4-cell (55W/HR) Primary battery
  • 4-year ProSupport Plus and Next Business Day On-Site Service
  • Windows 7 Professional

High spec configuration

  • 6th Generation (Skylake) Intel Core i7-6600U (Dual Core, 2.6GHz, 4MB cache)
  • 16GB DDR4 2133Mhz RAM (2x8GB SODIMM)
  • 512GB Solid State Drive, M2 2280 SATA 3
  • 14.0-inch FHD (1920×1080) non-touch Anti-Glare LCD with Camera
  • Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC  + WiGig + Wi Fi + Bluetooth 4.2
  • Fingerprint Reader and Smart Card Reader (Contact and Contactless) Palmrest (Dual Pointing Device)
  • 4-cell (55W/HR) Primary battery
  • 4-year ProSupport Plus and Next Business Day On-Site Service
  • Windows 10 Professional

Hardware Notes

The wired ethernet adapter for the E7470 is an Intel l219-LM, which appears to be the go-to standard for Intel Skylake chipsets for the moment. Unfortunately prior to Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, use of this device in business has been problematic at best due to the apparent lack of drivers in Windows 10 or even in the standard Intel Ethernet driver package, forcing a number of us to rely on the OEM Drivers – these are especially useful if you’re trying to build a Windows PE / PXE boot image.

Overview and comparison to a Apple Macbook Pro Retina 13-inch

So why am I comparing the E7470 to an Apple machine? Simple. Over the last 5 years we’ve found an increasing demand for Apple Machines by the academics in the departments I support at Royal Holloway.

Looks & Build

Apple machines offer an exceptional build quality and unique style which is borderline fashion statement, which has been hard to match by other manufacturers. As such I always find it difficult to recommend a non-Apple machine with similar quality and style – funnily enough sitting an Apple Macbook next to a Toshiba Satelite Pro and asking someone to choose just isn’t fair on the cheap plasticy Toshiba.

The Dell Latitude has a rather more serious / business look to it than the Apple, with its black and grey chassis fairly contrasting to the iconic silver of Apple. The surface has a premium feel to the touch, with the finish being borrowed from the higher end XPS and Precision laptops (though I’d still love to see the almost fabled Carbon Fibre model of this laptop). Build quality is very good, with the magnesium alloy chassis giving the machine a good solid feeling with no flex when picked up one-handed. The screen only has a little flex (but acceptable amounts given its size and thickness), and the hinges feel sturdy.

On the top of the machine is a full sized keyboard (sans number-pad of course), with Dell’s Multi-touch Trackpad and Precision Point Device (nipple-mouse) still finding a home nestled between the G, H and B keys. Function Keys are available to control the Sound, Backlight, and Screen Brightness of the laptop when used in conjunction with the FN key, and the entire chicklet-style keyboard is backlit.

Also on the surface of the laptop is the contactless Smart Card reader and the fingerprint reader. Users of Apple iPhone and recent Android devices will probably think that this style of fingerprint reader looks fairly antiquated by todays standards, and it possibly does, looking a little out of place on the right of the wrist rest.

Power button is located to the top right of the keyboard with the hard drive activity, power and battery status lights being found on the front leading edge of the case.

Pricing

While I cannot discuss the exact pricing that we receive at Royal Holloway (different rates apply to education establishments), I can discuss the value for money vs other laptops which we purchase at roughly the same price.

Prior to the Brexit price increase that Dell levied on all UK customers, the Dell Latitude E7470 came in below the cost of a similarly spec’ed Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13″. On the other side of the Brexit, we find we’re paying more for the Dell Latitude.

Connectivity

The Dell Latitude has a good number of ports, offering 3 USB 3.0 ports over Apple’s customary 2. External Video connectivity is well catered for in the form of an HDMI Port for pure digital out, while establishments with legacy connections will be support with a multi-purpose Mini DisplayPort. This additional will make Mac-centric institutions very happy as all of Apple’s Mini DisplayPort video adapters will work fine here, and finally a Gigabit Ethernet – a must for some businesses.

Right Side

  • Multipurpose 3.5mm Headphone / Microphone / Headset
  • 1x USB 3.0 Port
  • SIM Card tray (if applicable)

Left Side

  • Smart Card slot

Rear

  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • HDMI 1.4
  • Mini DisplayPort
  • 2x USB3.0
  • Power

Bottom

  • Docking Station / Port Replicator port

Operating System Support

Windows 10

devicemanager_noupdatesIf you’re someone who likes to a fresh installation of the Microsoft Windows from the original Microsoft installation media (instead of the OEM provided version), you’ll be pleased to know that the standard specification model above works with a fresh installation of Windows 10 Anniversary Edition with no driver installation required. When the system is initially installed, Device Manager will report a number of devices without drivers. Simply connect the E7470 to the (Wired) network and all of these drivers will install automatically for you.

The included Touchpad is one of the very few that I’ve found under Windows that can hold a candle to the Apple Magic Trackpad. The Dell Latitude touchpad is really very good, and with full Windows 10 support out of the box.

Linux Support

img_1711While I have only tested the E7470 under Ubuntu Linux 16.04, I can happily report that every device works out of the box with no Additional Drivers, with the exception of the fingerprint reader (apparently it is a known problem with no current fix).

Mutlitouch trackpad support in Linux is good but not as good as in Windows.

Author: TFindley

Tristan is an IT Professional, Photographer and motorcycle enthusiast. Working full-time as a Systems Administrator for Royal Holloway, but running his own photography company, and the occasional IT Contract. Tristan has been riding motorcycles since 2016, and is the original author of "My First Motorcycle", the forerunner to this site. He built it with the intention of providing a resource to those interested in riding, and to give something back to the community that had helped get him started in the world of motorcycles.

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