Dell Latitude vs Precision: Which should you choose in 2021?

Dell’s Latitude and Precision lines of laptops are some of the most reputable business-class laptops out there, and as two of Dell’s best-selling models, it’s unsurprising that they keep pumping out updated models whenever the time is right. For the average person, though, it can be a little confusing to figure out what the difference between them is in the first place.

If you’re wondering just exactly what the difference is between the Dell Latitude and the Dell Precision, you can wonder no longer; we did the hard work of comparing them for you! Let’s look at what’s different, and what’s not so different, between them.

Dell Latitude vs Precision

The quick and dirty version of what makes these machines different is that the Latitude is meant to be a sort of all-purpose office machine, similar to your average workplace desktop, where the Precision is meant to deal with more complicated, high-intensity loads that tend to strain both the CPU and the GPU.

And Dell has a great reputation for making high-quality machines. Dell business computers compete at the highest levels with other American companies like HP, along with Chinese companies like Lenovo. In fact, in 2020 Dell was the third biggest PC vendor in the world, giving it that pandemic-tested credibility.

Dell Latitude Overview

The Latitude is a go-to for thousands of businesses across the world, and for good reason. It pretty much has all the features any given business needs, without too much frill or extra cost associated.

But business isn’t the only thing these computers are good for. In fact, Dell makes dozens of different kinds of the Latitude for dozens of different specific tasks. The Rugged, for example, is built to take on extreme temperatures and high impact, where one of the many 2 in 1 models might be great for a student or frequent presenter.

All that is to say that Dell keeps an open mind when defining what a Latitude can be, so it might be worth keeping an eye out for a model that suits you before writing it off altogether. Either way, let’s look at what makes a Latitude, a Latitude.

Latitude Design

In sharp contrast to a lot of flashy laptops out there, even the prettiest Latitude isn’t necessarily built to be shiny. It’s built to get stuff done, and that’s exactly how it looks.

It has big vents to encourage air circulation, as well as all the I/O your heart could ever need. It also comes equipped with a smart card reader in the palm rest, if that’s something you’re into. The design of the Latitude is clear – it shows up to do everything it possibly can, the true jack of all trades.

Latitude Performance

Performance is where the Latitude really plays ball. Almost all Latitudes come equipped with high-speed RAM as well as high-quality storage, and an Intel processor to tie it all together.

On top of that, Dell is known for a number of its house-developed software, like the Dell precision drivers, which help smooth out the feel of the touchpad or touch screen. That, along with all sorts of other small Dell tweaks, tends to make the experience of using a Latitude buttery smooth.

Latitude Processors

For the Latitude, Dell chooses to stick to Intel processors, using everything from the i3 to the i7 in their laptops. In sticking with Intel processors, you sacrifice the number of cores per processor to get more muscle behind each core, and the top models of the Latitude reach as high as 4.8GHz per core. Not shabby at all.

That said, the higher models of Latitude can still have as many as 8 cores in their i7 processors, but it’s going to cost a little bit more, and you might want to get used to the sound of a cooling fan first because it’s likely something like that will run pretty hot.

Latitude Display

Displays on the Latitude are, with the exception of touch-screen models, all anti-glare, making it easy to sit in front of a window in an office or conference room without issue. They feature either 250 or 400 nits of brightness, perfect for an indoor setting, but maybe a little bit dim if there are plans to be using it outside much.

Every Latitude from recent years is going to come with an FHD display at a minimum, from the 13” to the 15” models, with some of the more expensive 15” models giving the option for 4K. There are also 14” models, which is a great in-between spot for most people between form and function.

Latitude Models

With all of the complicated naming schemes, it can be a little confusing to keep up with what the difference is between each model of Latitude. Here’s a quick guide on what to look for.

Recommended: Dell Latitude 7420

The Latitude 7420 is a great high-performance laptop for pretty much whatever you might need it for. With an 11th generation i5 processor running up to 4.4GHz, it has plenty of horsepower behind it. And the 16GB of RAM it comes packed with, along with a 512GB solid-state drive means that the operating system can run fast even with a lot of things going on at the same time.

This particular model also comes with some fun features like a fingerprint reader for easy log-in, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports with both power delivery capability and display port output.

Plus, a 63Whr battery means you can get a full day of usage from it without sacrificing too much in terms of weight. And Dell’s ExpressCharge technology means that it can bring the battery from 0% to 35% in about 20 minutes, or up to 80% in an hour, meaning a charging break doesn’t have to wreck your day.

Ultimately, the Latitude 7420 is one of the best all-purpose business laptops Dell has to offer, with the perfect combination of practicality and performance all packed into a good-looking chassis.

Other Popular Latitude Series

Latitudes are broken into basically four categories, both in terms of price and performance, but that isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions to what each category means. With the ability to customize so much the way you want, all four categories of model have a bit of crossover, but understanding the basics can help narrow down what works best for you.

  • 3000 Series – The 3000 series tends to be for less performance-heavy work, and it comes at an average cost of under $1000 or so. It isn’t quite as premium as some of the higher-tier models, but it still comes with plenty of Dell’s custom software to make it worth using.
  • 5000 Series – The 5000 series is a great middle of the road machine, usually coming in between $1000 and $1600 or so. In addition to Dell’s software, it usually has a solid i5 or i7 processor, along with high-quality RAM and storage. It probably won’t have too many bells and whistles, but it’s perfect for the average user.
  • 7000 Series – The 7000 series is for the high-capacity user, costing under or around $2000 new. It comes with high-capacity hardware, as well as more features like fingerprint scanners, higher brightness screens, or even just a nicer material in the palm rest.
  • 9000 Series – The 9000 series is Dell’s highest available model, and usually costs between $2000 and $3000, though some models reach up to $4000. It comes with lots of storage and RAM, and i7 processors ready to throw down. That extra performance comes at the cost of both battery life and weight, meaning it might not be ideal for every user.

Ultimately, the customizability is what makes the Latitude so unique. There’s really a model out there for almost everyone, and though the naming scheme can be confusing, the reality is that Dell works hard to make sure each machine reaches its fullest potential.

Dell Precision Overview

Where the Latitude succeeds in covering all the bases, the Dell Precision is made to do precise jobs well, hence the name. Precisions usually have a little more going on under the hood, which can lead to a slightly bulkier and heavier laptop, but without any sacrifice to performance.

When it comes to the kinds of jobs a Precision is good for, think about high-level design, like computer aided design (CAD), or visual art, as well as things like video editing. Basically, the goal of the Precision is to put everything you need in a desktop PC for creative design, and shove it into a laptop chassis.

Precision Design

Much like the Latitude, the Precision isn’t designed to be flashy, it’s designed to get stuff done. Air vents on the side and on the bottom, along with back feet that lift it up a bit when on the table, mean that airflow is a clear priority to cool down the hardware inside.

The Precision has the same I/O as the Latitude, with two Thunderbolt ports, two USB ports, HDMI, and Ethernet. On the outside, the only big difference from the Latitude is that the Precision is a little bit bulky, but lets look at what that bulk gets us in performance.

Precision Performance

With options for up to 64GB of RAM (which is more than almost anyone would need anyways), as well as dedicated graphics cards and high cooling capacity, the Precision shows up to show down. It can handle several high-intensity tasks at once, and do all of them well.

That said, it’s still a business laptop, and its precise nature means that you can’t get too far out of the business realm of things with equal success. Small tasks, like doing spreadsheets or watching movies, are a breeze, but it doesn’t perform as well as one might expect on things like gaming. Then again, that’s not what it’s meant for.

Precision Processors

Most Precision laptops are going to carry with it either an Intel i5 or an i7 processor that is technically comparable to what’s in most Latitudes, but which clock higher, up to 5.1GHz. Higher end models can also come with an i9 processor with up to 8 cores, or a Xeon processor, with 6.

But there are essentially two things that make sure processors can work harder in the Precision. First, with a dedicated graphics card, the processor doesn’t have to do as much work dealing with graphics, putting more power into your performance. Second, with the added cooling in the chassis, the Precision can keep temperatures low, and performance high, for longer.

Precision Display

Precision laptops come in both 15” and 17” models, keeping with the big-footprint design. With that, you get either a FHD display at 60Hz, or up to 4K 120Hz on higher-end models. All the displays are 500 Nits, meaning color accurate work is easy, and use outdoors would even be better than for the Latitude.

Precision Models

Recommended: Dell Precision 7750

The Precision 7750 is exactly what is needed for someone creating media regularly from the comfort of their desk. It’s 17”, meaning it’s a bit bulky to carry around, but that space gets you a 6 core Intel i7 processor, either 32 or 64GB of RAM, and between 1 and 4 TB of SSD storage.

The big screen also means a big keyboard, with a full numpad available on the left, and a speaker above it for better sound quality. The only major downside to this laptop, other than the size, is that some versions don’t come equipped with a webcam. That said, since most of the usage with this one would likely be at a desk anyways, buying a USB webcam isn’t too much hassle.

This particular model doesn’t come with dedicated graphics, but with a 6-core processor it’s unlikely you would see any sort of graphics downgrade on normal work. Without the GPU though, this machine is more geared towards people crunching numbers rather than those doing graphic design.

It’s a big laptop, there’s no doubt about that, but what you get under the hood makes up for it.

Other Popular Precision Series

If you thought the Latitude naming schemes didn’t make any sense, prepare to be even more confused on the Precision models. There’s even more crossover between models in what they have to offer, and because these machines are so expensive (and therefore don’t tend to be sold in large batches), they have a little more customizability per-device.

All that means is that the different series are more like suggestions than real boundaries.

  • 3000 Series – The Precision 3000 series is going to be the sort of “base model” for most of the Precisions. They have a little less beef behind them, and sell for anywhere between $1000 and $2000.
  • 5000 Series – The Precision 5000 series is a little more powerful than the 3000 series, and this is where models with dedicated GPUs begin to appear. They usually sell for between $1400 and $2400.
  • 7000 Series – The Precision 7000 series is where you see high-powered machines, almost always with dedicated graphics and tons of storage and memory. They usually land between $2000 and $3000, but can go as high as $5000.

Conclusion

The Dell Latitude and Precision both have things that make them worth their price tags. They both have no-nonsense exteriors, and almost always have plenty of power under the hood, combined with a number of features that make the whole experience worthwhile.

For those looking for a “normal” laptop, something that will get relatively basic office tasks done throughout the day with plenty of battery life and a relatively small footprint, the Latitude is probably the better option. Because of its customizability and size, most people can find their laptop of choice there.

But for those looking for something with a bit more power, at the cost of portability or battery life, the Precision is the way to go. There’s a reason creative professionals like graphic designers, CAD specialists, and video editors use them so often.

Whatever it is you choose, remember that Dell has some great customization options in general, so you can always find the machine that’s best for you.

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

2 thoughts on “Dell Latitude vs Precision: Which should you choose in 2021?”

  1. Thank you so much for this review! I’ve been trying to write up a justification for my company to buy the Precision instead of the Latitude b/c I do a lot of video editing. Of course they want to go with the cheapest option. Your review will be helpful.

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