"The fact that the XT3 (a 13 inch device, remember) weighs more than 2Kg and feels about as portable as the collected works of William Shakespeare is puzzling"
The Dell Latitude XT3 is an intriguing hybrid of a laptop and a tablet, offering both touch and pen input on a 13 inch swivel display. Is its steep price justified?
What we like best
To make the convertible look work, you need to either go all out whacky or keep it simple.
Dell have seemingly opted to go for the latter, with brushed metallic tones dominating the XT3’s exterior and a thin orange line around the matte black keyboard breaking things up a bit. It’s a balanced, tasteful look not too far removed from the larger Latitude laptop models.
Despite the hinge offering a large degree of swivel (180 degrees either left or right), it feels strong and secure. There is the unusual sight of command buttons on the screen bezel (which are necessary if you want to use the Latitude XT3 in slate mode), but these don’t really have a negative effect on the overall appearance. The keyboard feels distinctive, receptive and has a pleasant texture that guides your fingers around subtly, and the palm rest is surprisingly comfortable for such a small device. The trackpad is inevitably a bit cramped, but the pinch-to-zoom command worked well enough for us.
The inbuilt speakers are a revelation: music plays back loud and clear, and at maximum level you shouldn’t have trouble conducting a webinar for a small group.
The Latitude XT3 can be used either in touch screen or stylus mode, of which the latter is definitely the more accurate and satisfying approach – Windows 7 is not designed for multitouch gestures, but using the stylus, users can make ‘handwritten’ notes on the screen with a minimum number of translation errors.
Users can choose between either i3, i5 or i7 Intel Core processors, which is a nice configuration range, and up to 8Gb RAM.
What we like least
If the concept of a convertible laptop seems a bit out of touch with a time where the tablet market is growing so rapidly, the fact that the XT3 (a 13 inch device, remember) weighs more than 2Kg and feels about as portable as the collected works of William Shakespeare is even more puzzling.
This might be due to the heavy protection measures – a reinforced base, four magnesium-coated corners – but it does make the laptop feel unwieldy and cumbersome.
The price also seems out of whack with the current market – for a little more than the Dell Latitude XT3’s price, users could buy two iPad 3s or Dell’s XPS 13 ultrabook and get arguably more lithe machines. The lack of a USB 3.0 port is another missed trick for a laptop that, on paper, is aimed at the business sector.
The vertical viewing angles are very poor for a tablet, which is a shame as the screen’s colour and contrast levels are perfectly agreeable.
The Dell Latitude XT3 is a bit of a disappointment – there is still (just about) room for convertible devices in today’s tech environment, but they need to be equipped better than this to make a good impression on people. The build is not to be faulted, but an inflated price, a lack of portability and poor viewing angles are considerate obstacles to recommending the XT3 to people.
Today's best deal
up to 2.8 Gb
Intel Core i3 2330M
Intel Core i5 2520M
Intel Core i7 2640M
Intel Graphics HD 3000
Hard Drive Storage
Up to 250 Gb SATA
up to 9-cell
High quality speakers
Stereo and microphone combo jack
Integrated noice reducing array microphone
Option HD webcam
Optional Fingerprint reader
1 x RJ-45
3 x USB 3.0 w/ Esata combo
Stereo/headphone combo jack
1 x IEEE 1394
1 x Memory Card Reader
1 x 34mm ExpressCard
1 x VGA
1 x HDMI
1 Full and 2 Half Mini Card Slots
Smart Card Reader
Weight & Size
(W) 323 mm x (H) 30.9 mm x (D) 221.7 mm
Optional Bluetooth 3.0
Genuine Windows Professional
Genuine Windows Ultimate
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