June 16, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Dell Latitude 9510 2-in-1 – Review 2020

11 min read

With a roomy 15-inch display, a compact and sturdy chassis, and long battery life, the Dell Latitude 9510 (starts at $1,899; $2,937 as tested) adheres closely to the recipe for a modern business 2-in-1 convertible laptop. Occupying a new rung on the Latitude product-lineup ladder above the Latitude 7000 series, this eye-wateringly expensive flagship is a no-compromise corporate laptop with a 3-pound weight, optional Intel vPro and LTE, and the ability to wake from sleep when it senses your presence. While many volume purchasers will be able to negotiate discounts on the Latitude 9510, nearly everyone else can get similar features for much less money by looking elsewhere.

Laptop or 2-in-1, Take Your Pick

In addition to the configuration reviewed here, which has a 360-degree hinge that lets you convert it into a tablet or prop it up like an easel, the Latitude 9510 is also available in a conventional clamshell form factor. There are a few minor differences between the two versions, including a slight increase in weight (from 3.1 pounds to 3.3 pounds for the 2-in-1) and the lack of an available webcam privacy shutter on the 2-in-1. But they both have the same dimensions (0.55 by 13.4 by 8.5 inches), which has Dell confident enough to claim that the Latitude 9510 is the world’s smallest, lightest 15-inch business PC.

Dell Latitude 9510 showing 2-in-1 and laptop versions

There are other similarly compact consumer-class 15-inch 2-in-1s, including the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex, but the Latitude 9510 stands out for its exceptional build quality, business-friendly feature set, and eye-watering price. Everything about this laptop exudes thoughtful design and no-expenses-spared engineering. It starts from the outside, with the lid closed, where the CNC aluminum and diamond-cut edges are on full display. Our review unit is clad in an understated silver finish, which closely resembles the aesthetic of another large-screen flagship, the Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch.

The MacBook Pro also has exceptional build quality, but its chassis is sealed shut. The Latitude 9510, by contrast, has easily accessible screws on the bottom of the chassis that let end users (most likely IT department staffers) access the internal components for service and upgrades. It’s a requirement for many large businesses, and evidence that an accessible chassis and exceptional build quality can coexist.

Luxurious Keyboard, Many Speakers

It’s possible to crack open the Latitude 9510’s display lid with a single hand, thanks to the sturdy yet forgiving twin hinges. Once the lid is open, you’re greeted with more modern, quality design flourishes.

The highlights include a supremely sturdy keyboard and touchpad, among the most comfortable I’ve ever used. The backlit keyboard is at least as comfortable as the excellent ones on the Lenovo ThinkPad T-series and X-series laptops, with extremely solid switches and virtually no flex in the middle of the board. To my fingers, it’s also more comfortable than the MacBook Pro’s redesigned Magic Keyboard, which has a slightly shallower travel distance than the Latitude 9510’s luxurious keys.

Dell Latitude 9510 laptop showing keyboard and touchpad

The touchpad on this laptop is also excellent, with a glass surface that helps your fingertips glide effortlessly and a solid, uniform clicking sensation. The Latitude 9510 lacks left- and right-click buttons, and there’s no pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard, available on some other Latitudes as well as nearly all Lenovo ThinkPads.

You get a total of four speakers on the Latitude 9510, including some that are mounted beneath the speaker grilles to the left and right of the keyboard. The grilles occupy space where the number pad typically goes on large laptops, and the entire system churns out some impressive audio. At maximum volume, the output could easily fill a small conference room or a spacious corner office, though the bass is not quite as robust as what emanates from the MacBook Pro’s dedicated woofer. The Latitude 9510 also features four microphones for better noise cancellation during conference calls.

Antennas for the optional 4G LTE radio are arranged around the speaker grilles. This prevents them from sullying the clean, smooth surface of the display lid with plastic strips or other workarounds to let the signal through. Dell will start offering 5G connectivity on the 9000 series in the near future, with the addition of an optional Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 modem, but the option was not yet available at this writing. The Latitude 9510 supports eSIM for cellular networking, and also boasts Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth connectivity.

Along the sides of the Latitude 9510, you’ll find an adequate—albeit not notably generous—port selection. This includes a full-size HDMI 2.0 port (essential for trouble-free connections to A/V systems), two USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports with power delivery and DisplayPort output, a microSD card reader, a single USB Type-A port, an audio jack, and a wedge-style slot for a physical lock.

Dell Latitude 9510 laptop showing ports

The lower left edge of the laptop can also be configured with an optional receptacle for SmartCards, to accommodate IT security policies that require their use.

Dell Latitude 9510 laptop showing ports

Breaking from the excellent build quality and luxurious keyboard, the Latitude 9510’s display is rather unremarkable, and represents the first hint that this laptop isn’t necessarily a tip-top value for money. Both the 2-in-1 and clamshell versions come with full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) displays. While colors appear accurate—the screen is rated to display 100 percent of the sRGB color space—I find the rated 400-nit maximum brightness level to be slightly dim for a business flagship, especially when viewing darker colors in a brightly lit room. HP EliteBook displays range as high as 1,000 nits.

At a starting price around $2,000 and with some configurations exceeding $3,000, I also find the Latitude 9510’s lack of higher-resolution and brighter displays disappointing. There is no QHD or 4K option like there is on many ThinkPads as well some other Latitude laptops. And while the Latitude 9510 2-in-1 has a touch screen with active pen support, the clamshell version lacks the option for touch support entirely. The Dell Premium Active Pen is a $99 optional extra for the 2-in-1 version. Both versions lack HDR capabilities, something that the ThinkPad X-series and P-series have offered for a few years now.

The option for an automatic screen privacy filter, available on the Latitude 7000 series as well as many competing ThinkPads and HP EliteBooks, is also missing from the Latitude 9510. These filters usually have negative effects on viewability and battery life, but many businesses like the additional protection they offer against physical snooping.

Express Sign-In, With Only a Glance

Above the display, there’s a camera and a sensor array that support the Latitude 9510’s most distinctive feature: Express Sign-In. Introduced last year on the Latitude 7000 series, Express Sign-In combines the standard Windows Hello face recognition with proximity detection, so the laptop will wake up, scan your face, and unlock itself with no touching required.

While this capability is already ubiquitous on high-end phones, I find Dell’s implementation even more useful because it requires no specific motion. If the laptop is asleep on your desk with its lid open, it will sense when your hands are about a foot away and automatically wake up. And unlike Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy devices, which require a swipe action between the face recognition and getting to see the apps on your home screen, Express Sign-In can take you all the way from sleep mode to the Windows desktop with no touches required.

Dell Latitude 9510 laptop showing Tent Mode

Express Sign-In also detects when you move away from the laptop. As soon as you’re out of range of the sensors, the screen brightness is reduced and the system is automatically locked. You can toggle the Walk Away Lock and the Wake on Approach on or off using the Dell Optimizer settings app.

If you’d rather use your fingerprint to log in instead, there’s a reader built into the power button at the upper right corner of the Latitude 9510’s keyboard.

Limited Component Configurations

In addition to the limited display options, unbefitting of a laptop at this price, the Latitude 9510’s computing component options are also slightly stingy. The laptop offers only Intel 10th Generation processors from the Comet Lake (U-series) family, with none of the more powerful H-series chips that are available in Dell’s flagship large XPS consumer laptops. Nor is there any option for a discrete graphics processor from AMD or Nvidia. Many 15-inch-class business laptops from HP and Lenvo priced similarly to the Latitude 9510 offer the option for at least modest discrete GPUs, and while most of these are larger and heavier, they nevertheless offer better performance.

Our Latitude 9510 review unit comes with an Intel Core i7-10810U, which features six cores, 12 threads, a 1.1GHz base clock speed, Intel UHD Graphics, and support for Intel’s vPro remote-management capabilities. The system also
has 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD.

Other configuration options include 128GB, 256GB, or 1TB SSDs, along with Intel Core i5 processors (with or without vPro) and 8GB of memory in the entry-level versions. The $1,899 starting configuration seems an exceptionally poor value, offering a non-vPro Core i5, 8GB of memory, and a skimpy 128GB SSD.

Decent Everyday Computing Performance

Our review unit handled every basic computing task I threw at it with aplomb, including demanding web browsing sessions with multiple tabs open and video streaming in the background. I especially appreciated that it was able to do so with very little fan noise, which has been a problem on previous Latitude machines. The Latitude 9510’s all-new cooling design is the star of the show here, with two heat pipes, carbon fan blades, and the same insulating gel used on NASA’s Stardust spacecraft. (See how we test laptops.)

Still, the Latitude 9510 does not benchmark all that well against other business laptops with similar features and prices. These include the Latitude 7400 2-in-1, as well as the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 OLED and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 2. While the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XB isn’t a traditional business laptop, I’m including it here because of its similar price and size, and the fact that it’s aimed at creative professionals rather than consumers.

PCMag test system configuration chart

Of this set, the Latitude 7400 and Latitude 9510 perform similarly on our PCMark 10 test, hovering around the 4,000 mark that indicates excellent everyday performance, but still far behind the 5,000-plus scores of the two Lenovos and the Gigabyte. Higher-resolution screens, like those in the ThinkPads and the Aero, can sometimes negatively affect PCMark performance, so the gap is especially notable.

Latitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark results

The PCMark 10 test we run simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. We use it to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8, meanwhile, has a Storage subtest that we use to assess the speed of the system’s storage subsystem. All SSD-based laptops perform roughly equally on this test.

The difference between the two Latitudes and their competitors is also apparent in multimedia editing tasks like transcoding video and rendering images. The Latitude’s Cinebench rendering score of 913 is excellent for a U-series chip, but it’s still a bit behind the two ThinkPads. Cinebench stresses the CPU rather than the GPU to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.

Latitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark results

Cinebench is often a good predictor of our Handbrake video-editing trial, another tough, threaded workout that’s highly CPU-dependent and scales well with cores and threads. In it, we put a stopwatch on test systems as they transcode a 12-minute clip of 4K video to a 1080p MP4 file. It’s a timed test, and lower results are better.

Latitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark results

Here, the Latitude 9510 actually performed the worst of this lot, suggesting that it may have run into thermal limitations during this long, high-stress exercise. The Core i7 it uses has a low base clock of 1.1GHz, rated for a peak boost speed of 4.9GHz (quite the wide range), and the Latitude 9510 may have been closer to this base speed more than we would have liked for much of this test’s 25-minute runtime.

The results of our photo editing exercise are clustered closer together, and the Latitude 9510 actually did surprisingly well. This test involves applying a series of 10 complex filters and effects to a standard JPEG test image in an early 2018 release of Adobe Photoshop CC. We time each operation and, at the end, add up the total execution time.

Latitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark results

The “burstier” nature of this test, with time to cool down between discrete actions, may have contributed to the 9510’s better showing here than on Handbrake’s constant grind.

Mediocre Graphics, But Excellent Battery Life

The Latitude 9510’s lack of a discrete GPU really holds it back on our gaming benchmarks. Superposition and 3DMark render and pan through highly detailed scenes, measuring how the system copes.

Latitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark resultsLatitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark results

While IT purchasing managers don’t care about gaming performance, the scores above serve as a reminder that should a Latitude 9510 user ever require additional GPU oomph for a different sort of task, it won’t be available.

In contrast to the relatively weak gaming performance, the Latitude 9510’s battery life is excellent. The laptop lasted for more than 20 hours on our battery rundown test, which involves playing a locally stored 720p video file until the system conks out, at 50 percent screen brightness and with Airplane mode turned on.

Latitude 9510 laptop performance benchmark results

Our review unit features an 88-watt-hour battery, an optional extra instead of the standard 52Whr one. The large battery joins forces with the power-sipping 400-nit display to help achieve this excellent battery-life result.

The Big 9510 Question: Can You Get a Discount?

Laptops with business-friendly features like vPro, LTE, and SmartCard readers tend to be more expensive than consumer models. Dell Latitudes are typically more expensive still, at least as far as list prices are concerned, thanks to more robust warranties and integration with VMware and the rest of the Dell enterprise ecosystem. All Latitude 9510 models come with a three-year warranty, triple the length of comparable consumer models, and the p
eriod can be extended to up to five years for hardware issues, or folded into a company’s Dell ProSupport contract.

Even with all these features, the Latitude 9510’s price is still difficult to justify for most mainstream or even small-business buyers. That’s true of the lofty price of our much-upconfigured review unit, which demands money that would otherwise be better spent on mobile-workstation-class components. It’s especially true of the entry-level config, which uses components similar to those on consumer laptops that cost a third as much.

Dell Latitude 9510 laptop showing display lid

There are really only two ways to justify purchasing the Latitude 9510. For individuals with deep pockets, a superbly designed 15-inch 2-in-1 might be worth the premium, especially if typing and touchpad comfort are paramount. For large enterprise customers who care more about security, manageability, and longevity than computing performance, the Latitude 9510 could also be worth it, since these customers can often pay significantly less than list prices via negotiated contracts.

Everyone else should consider other options. Our current top pick for business 2-in-1 convertible laptops is the HP Elite Dragonfly. It’s about $900 less than the Latitude 9510 in the configurations we reviewed, and though its screen is slightly smaller, it’s also nearly a pound lighter, with similar performance and more display options. Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for a powerful business laptop instead and can stomach a $3,000 list price, either of the two Lenovo workstation laptops mentioned above would better serve your needs.

The silver lining for people who can’t justify the Latitude 9510’s high price is that innovations introduced on Latitude flagships usually trickle down to Dell laptops lower in the food chain. If you can stand to wait a few product release cycles, the Latitude 9510’s superb touchpad, keyboard, and cooling capabilities may eventually show up on a future Latitude, XPS, or even Inspiron laptop.

Dell Latitude 9510 (2-in-1) Specs

Laptop Class Business, Convertible 2-in-1
Processor Intel Core i7-10810U
Processor Speed 1.1 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 16 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
Screen Size 15 inches
Native Display Resolution 1920 by 1080
Touch Screen Yes
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Intel UHD Graphics
Wireless Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth
Dimensions (HWD) 0.55 by 13.4 by 8.5 inches
Weight 3.3 lbs
Operating System Windows 10 Pro
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 20:47

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