Having announced its new XPS 13 2-in-1 and the 27 Ultrathin Monitor this week, Dell has now unveiled a new addition to its line of business-focused Latitude devices. The Latitude 5285 is clearly inspired by Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets, but it's also available with some features that aren't offered by its Surface rival.
In many ways, the similarities between the Latitude 5285 and the latest Surface Pro 4 are obvious. Both have an integrated kickstand, a detachable keyboard option, and a touchscreen with stylus support. They have the same display size (12.3 inches), the same RAM options (4GB, 8GB and 16GB), and similar storage options (the Dell comes with 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage; the Surface is also offered with 128GB), and both come with Windows 10 Pro onboard.
There are some important differences, though. For example, the Latitude 5285's display only comes with Full HD (1920x1280px) resolution, far lower than the 2736x1824px resolution of the Surface Pro 4. And unlike the Surface, Dell's tablet doesn't include Windows Hello support by default either; instead the infrared camera that supports biometric authentication is offered as an option.
But there are some areas where - on paper at least - the Dell does have the advantage. The Latitude 5285 can be specified with 4G LTE connectivity, an option that isn't available on any Surface Pro 4 model, or on Microsoft's flagship Surface Book range, for that matter. The Dell device can also be purchased with optional WiGig support.
Additionally, the Latitude 5285 comes with Intel's latest seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) Core processors, while the Pro 4 is stuck with 6th-gen (Skylake) chips. On top of that, you'll also get a USB 3.0 port and 2 USB Type-C ports; while many expect the next-gen Surface Pro to support USB-C, it's not supported on the Pro 4.
Dell also makes a rather lofty claim about the Latitude 5285's security features:
Relax knowing that this 2-n-1 [sic] laptop is the world's most secure featuring optional multi-factor authentication including touch finger print [sic] reader, contacted FIPS 201 Smart Card Reader, contactless smart card reader/NFC with Control Vault 2 FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification.
The extra ports, connectivity options and security features mean that the Latitude 5285 isn't quite as slim and light as the Surface Pro 4. The Latitude is 9.76mm thick, compared with 8.45mm for the Surface; Dell only says that its tablet weighs "less than two pounds", but if it was as light as the Pro 4 (up to 1.73 pounds), the company would probably have provided a more precise weight on its spec sheet.
The Latitude 5285 will go on sale at the end of next month, with prices starting at $899. As with Microsoft's Surface Pro devices, the keyboard for the Latitude 5285 will be sold separately, although Dell hasn't yet revealed how much it will cost.