Tuesday, February 26, 2013

[Article] There's a third option too: DELL Latitude 10 Essentials

Update: I have since then bought the Dell Latitude 10 Essentials tablet and read here to find out what I have to say about it. (It’s a 5 part review)

In the previous post I told you that I had my eyes on two Intel Clovertrail based tablets, namely the Asus Vivo Tab Smart and the Acer Iconia W510. Both were around the ¥50,000 mark, Asus being cheaper. When I checked kakaku.com for other available options I found out that there was a 3rd contender, attacking the same price point, made by DELL. It's called the Latitude 10 Essentials and now you must be wondering why there's an "Essentials" part in the name. That's because there is a "Standard" version of the same tablet that comes with a few more options. We'll discuss about what's missing in the Essentials later. First lets see if it has anything more to offer than the other two.

Differences between the DELL and the other two

This does not come as an advantage, but it packs some muscles it seems. It's about 70g heavier than the other two. I don't know how much of it will be felt, but it surely is getting into that uncomfortable region. The DELL Latitude Essentials weighs 650g which is exactly what the iPad Retina weighs. So it is not THAT uncomfortable to hold, but it isn't light.

I don't know if the weight and the feature that I'm going to talk about next are related, but I read in a review - but the review was about he Standard Edition - that this tablet ran significantly cooler than the Acer Iconia W510. The difference was about 15-20F. That's pretty noticeable to me. Maybe being a business grade tablet, the DELL packs more material just for insulation. Who knows, right?

There is a deal currently floating around that if you go to the product purchase page via kakaku.com, you get a free inner case. That case is worth ¥2,980. None of the other two tablets are getting anything like that.

Since I'm buying straight from DELL's online store, I am able to customize the tablet. The customization options are pretty limited though. But you can choose to get the English language version of the OS. The other two are getting the Japanese version but it seems that Windows 8 non-Pro allows you to change the display language without paying any extra fees. If you didn’t know, Windows 7 Home Premium did not allow you to change the display language. Only the Professional and Ultimate editions did. (But there is a hack which allows you to install language packs onto Home Premium.)

You get better warranty because the warranty is provided by the manufacturer himself. I don't know what will happen with the other two tablets if something goes wrong, since they are sold by some seller who might even go out of business before the warranty period expires. I can ask for extended warranty service as well, but I don't think that it is worth the price premium.

DELL says that the tablet comes with 64GB SSD, but it seems that the speed matches eMMc's performance. Technically, eMMc is solid state storage but that's not what the consumer expects when you say it has an SSD. For some reason, the DELL seems to boot into Windows about 5 seconds faster than the Acer. Since both are using the same CPU and RAM, it has to be the difference in performance of the storage subsystem. It is not as fast as Surface Pro, but it is inconclusive – don’t know because it has a faster CPU or faster storage subsystem or both. (The Surface is miles ahead of all of these 3 tablets anyways.)

Price

Finally, the price. It's ¥49,980. So it sits right in the middle of the Asus and the Acer.

From what I can see, the Acer has already lost the battle. The battle is between the Asus and the DELL.

  • The Asus is ¥2,000 cheaper and 70g lighter;
  • The DELL comes with an inner case, English version of the OS, runs cooler and comes with better warranty. It's 2 vs. 4 which means the DELL is the winner. Hmmm... I just hope the weight is not a deal breaker.

So what's the difference between the Latitude 10 Essentials and the Latitude 10 Standard?

The Standard comes with a removable battery (also double capacity battery if required, but part of the battery will be protruding out of the body!), comes with support for Wacom pen device, doesn't come with the inner case and is ¥5,000 more expensive. It comes with extra security with a TPM modules and such – I don’t really care much about that. Doesn't sound like a good buy in my book. It would have been awesome if the battery in the Essentials was removable. I don't want the pen.

So it seems that the DELL is the way to go. There aren't many reviews about these tablets out there unfortunately. On a plus side, it's my chance to write one. Hehe. Should get a tablet just for that. :P

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