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Review Update Dell Latitude E7240 Touch Notebook

Allen Ngo, 12/16/2013

The Business Touch. The well-received 12.5-inch Latitude gets a touchscreen update and an even brighter display. We take the U.S. model for a quick benchmarking round in this updated review.

Dell thrives in its ability to offer a wide range of notebooks aimed at both small and large businesses. The build quality, connectivity and reparability of Latitude E models in particular deserve praise when compared to the host of more consumer-oriented models in the market.

The 12.5-inch Latitude E7240 Touch continues the tradition by offering a lightweight 12.5-inch powerhouse for on-the-go business users. We recently and extensively tested an E7240 not too long ago, so more details on the chassis, connectivity and physical features of the E7240 Touch can be seen in the related review as both models are physically identical. Instead, the Touch update swaps out the ordinary 1366 x 768 TN matte display of the original model with a much more impressive 1920 x 1080 IPS glossy touchscreen. At the time of review, the price difference between a 720p model and a 1080p model is at least a couple hundred dollars. Are those extra pixels worth the extra price? We find out in this quick review.

Display

It is needless to say that the Full HD display of the E7240 Touch is orders of magnitude better than the modest original 768p screen. Potential buyers must be aware that they are not only getting a denser display for more screen real-estate, but also touchscreen capability, edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass NBT, a superior IPS panel, better viewing angles and a much brighter display with better colors and higher contrast. Texts and images are incredibly crisp and rich as a result that moving back to the less expensive TN model would feel like a cruel punishment.

Aside from the obvious productivity benefits of a higher resolution, the more powerful display backlight should not be underrated. At a measured average of almost 400 nits, the E7240 Touch is almost twice as bright as a standard E7240 (388.6 nits vs. 210.8 nits). Furthermore, this was accomplished without significantly affecting black levels, which in turn means a contrast level twice as high for the Touch model (682:1 vs. 334:1). When combined with a higher pixel density (176.23 PPI vs. 125.37), watching HD videos on a Dell business notebook is more fun than it ought to be.

Note: The ambient light sensor was disabled for consistency in measurements.

363
cd/m²
394.5
cd/m²
359.3
cd/m²
388.1
cd/m²
402.5
cd/m²
363.9
cd/m²
410.7
cd/m²
412.6
cd/m²
402.4
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 412.6 cd/m²
Average: 388.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 322.9* cd/m²
Black: .59 cd/m²
Contrast: 682:1

Color reproduction is only 58.04 percent and 42.66 percent of sRGB and AdobeRGB1998 standards, respectively. While a bit higher than the original E7240, color coverage continues to be a far cry from the displays of high-end mobile workstations like from Dell’s own Precision series or HP’s DreamColor notebooks. This is to be expected, of course, as the E7240 Touch is not marketed for professional graphics artists where a wide color gamut is crucial. In this respect, the Dell display is similar to other 12.5-inch notebooks like the competing ThinkPad X240.

E7240 Touch vs. AdobeRGB1998
E7240 Touch vs. AdobeRGB1998
E7240 Touch vs. sRGB
E7240 Touch vs. sRGB
E7240 Touch vs. ThinkPad X240
E7240 Touch vs. ThinkPad X240
E7240 Touch vs. Dell XPS 12
E7240 Touch vs. Dell XPS 12

Further display analyses were performed with an X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2 spectrophotometer. Color accuracy is generally good with yellow in particular doing better than others under all saturation levels. Blue and magenta are the least accurate, although the former can be explained by the cooler color temperature (>6000K) of the display. Calibration improves colors rather minimally, but will greatly smooth out RGB Balance and grayscale performances.

Grayscale Pre-calibration
Grayscale Pre-calibration
Saturation Pre-calibration
Saturation Pre-calibration
ColorChecker Pre-calibration
ColorChecker Pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation post calibration
Saturation post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

Outdoor usability is better than the original E7240, but not without a couple of noteworthy caveats. Due to the Gorilla Glass covering, the E7240 Touch is glossy by default compared to the matte E7240. This requires a stronger backlight (and thus more battery power) to deter inevitable reflections and glare when active outdoors. Secondly, the maximum screen brightness of the Touch model will drop when running on batteries from 388.6 nits to 322.9 nits. This decrease occurs even when on the High Performance profile and prevents the notebook from being a better outdoor device. As such, use under direct sunlight can still be straining and shade is preferable if possible. For indoor environments, however, the screen is plenty bright for home, office or class use.

Despite the brighter display, use under direct sunlight can still be a challenge
Despite the brighter display, use under direct sunlight can still be a challenge
Viewing angles Latitude E7240 Touch
Viewing angles Latitude E7240 Touch

Viewing angle stability is typical for an IPS display; color degradation is minimal even from extreme angles. Users familiar with most mainstream or high-end tablets or smartphones will have a good idea of the viewing angles of the E7240 Touch display. This is especially important for outdoor use as it allows for a wider viewing window to avoid as much glare as possible. Compared to the less expensive TN panel of the E7240, the viewing angles here are unmatched to say the least.

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz for a single core
Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz for a single core

The E7240 Touch on hand is equipped with an upgraded processor from our original model (Core i5-4300U vs. Core i5-4200U). Lower-end configurations house an i3-4010U instead, while higher-end models make use of an i7-4600U. Compared to the i5-4200U, the i5-4300U in our review model operates 300 MHz faster (1.9 GHz vs. 1.6 GHz). Otherwise, both processors share the same cache sizes, threads, TDP and integrated HD 4400 GPU.

RAM is provided by a single 4 GB PC3-12800 module from Micron. The bottom hatch reveals two SODIMM slots (one empty) and a free PCI-e slot for WWAN upgradeability.

System information Dell Latitude E7240 Touch

Processor

CPU performance is similar to our reviewed Latitude E7440. Since the i5-4300U was only recently made available, our database contains only two samples at the time of writing. Even so, multi-thread performance is noticeably faster than the i5-4200U according to wPrime 1024m (630 seconds vs. 718 seconds). Single-thread performance is an improvement as well according to Super Pi 32M (690 seconds vs. 745 seconds). Compared to the Ivy Bridge generation, this ULV Haswell chip is most similar to the high mid-range i7-3517U in terms of performance. Most users may not notice the difference in day-to-day use, but power users running more demanding applications may want to consider the i5-4300U upgrade.

CineBench 10 32-Bit
CineBench 10 32-Bit
CineBench 10 64-Bit
CineBench 10 64-Bit
CineBench 11.5 64-Bit
CineBench 11.5 64-Bit
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4230
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8616
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5550
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5507 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
10929 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5378 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.29 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.77 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
12.6 fps
Help

System Performance

The PCMark 7 score of 4567 points is high and no doubt aided by the fast SATA III SSD in the system. This puts the E7240 Touch in the same ballpark as the recently reviewed IdeaPad Flex 14 or Vaio Duo 13, both of which sport Haswell i5-4200U processors. The Windows 8 Experience Index shows a system bottlenecked by its integrated graphics, though this should have little significance for business users. Instead, the high CPU and hard disk scores are most important for daily multitasking and launching applications.

Like the original E7240, the system is subjectively very smooth and snappy when navigating through the graphics-heavy Windows 8 UI or first opening programs from the various menus. We ran into no issues with freezing or latency.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
4.6
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.1
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4.6
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
8.1
PC Mark
PCMark 74567 points
PCMark 8 Home2639 points
PCMark 8 Creative2446 points
PCMark 8 Work4239 points
Help

Storage Devices

Similar to most Ultrabooks and subnotebooks thus far, the E7240 Touch makes use of the increasingly common mSATA SSD. The SATA III Samsung SM841 128 GB drive is marginally faster than the Lite-On drive in our first E7240 model according to AS SSD, but otherwise imperceptible in everyday performance differences. Buyers should instead be cautious about the relatively small storage size as only 101.4 GB is available by default on the C drive. Dell does offer models with a larger 256 GB drive or users can simply upgrade on their own. Either way, the cost per GB for mSATA drives is still relatively high compared to standard 2.5-inch SSDs, not the mention the already expensive E7240 Touch.

Samsung SSD SM841 128GB
Transfer Rate Minimum: 408.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 437.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 432.3 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 175.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.6 %

Graphics Card

The integrated HD 4400 GPU is a large improvement over its previous Ivy Bridge generation. Its 3DMark 11 score of 752 points, for example, is about equal to the discrete low-end GT 525M and 420M GPUs in the Satellite Pro L770 and Samsung NP-RF710, respectively. This allows for a handful of current games to be playable in mid settings (Starcraft 2, DOTA 2, etc.), though more graphically intensive 3D titles like AC4 or BF4 will be limited to low settings and resolutions. For more information and benchmarks on the HD 4400, see our dedicated page here.

3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Fire Strike HD
3DMark Fire Strike HD
3D Mark
3DMark Vantage3408 points
3DMark 11752 points
3DMark Ice Storm27853 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3760 points
3DMark Fire Strike519 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme238 points
Help

Emissions

System Noise

35 mm system fan
35 mm system fan

We praised the original E7240 for its quiet operation and this is again true for the Touch model. Typical browsing will result in a near silent ~29 dB(A) system. Playback of 1080p YouTube content, however, will periodically raise fan speed up to about 35 dB(A), which is audible but thankfully not enough to be distracting. In general, users should not expect system noise to be any higher than 35 dB(A) if browsing, word processing or playing Flash-based games.

More intensive tasks will bump fan speed in a stepwise manner from its base 29 dB(A) to 34.9, 41.9, 46.5 and then finally 48.1 dB(A). Anything above 40 dB(A) may become distracting in classrooms or libraries. We were able to record these sound levels by subjecting the notebook to maximum CPU and GPU loads and so fan speeds this high are unrepresentative of everyday use.

Noise Level

Idle 29.1 / 29.2 / 29.4 dB(A)
Load 34.9 / 52.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Surface temperatures can be cool or warm when idling depending on the spot. The palm rests and touchpad remain cool, even under high processing loads, but the top half of the notebook can get quite warm on both sides. A full hour of maximum load resulted in a measured surface temperature of 52 degrees C, which is too uncomfortable for skin contact. For moderate or higher loads, a table is recommended for longer sessions.

Max. Load
 36.8 °C44.4 °C30.8 °C 
 37.4 °C39.6 °C29 °C 
 26.2 °C27.4 °C23.8 °C 
Maximum: 44.4 °C
Average: 32.8 °C
34.4 °C52 °C42.8 °C
33.2 °C40.2 °C40.8 °C
26.8 °C27.8 °C29.6 °C
Maximum: 52 °C
Average: 36.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  55.4 °C | Room Temperature 20 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Stress Test

We stress the notebook with monitoring tools CPU-Z, GPU-Z and HWiNFO active to identify any potential throttling issues. With Prime95 active, the CPU operated at a steady 2.5 GHz to 2.6 GHz and topped out at 80 degrees C. With FurMark active, the GPU operated at a steady 850 MHz to 950 MHz.

With both Prime95 and FurMark active simultaneously, the CPU throttled to a steady 1.2 GHz to 1.3 GHz range, which is well below its base 1.6 GHz speed. In contrast, the integrated GPU was barely affected and continued to operate between 850 MHz and 950 MHz. Core temperatures maxed out at 84 degrees C. Though the CPU throttles, a 3DMark 11 run immediately after the stress test returned results that are essentially identical to pre-stress conditions. Thus, the CPU throttling should have little to no ill effects on daily usage unless if the user intends to frequently use both the CPU and GPU at their maximum processing speeds simultaneously.

Full CPU and GPU performance is retained when running on batteries.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress

Speakers

As with the original E7240, the stereo speakers are not sufficient for a great multimedia experience. Fortunately, maximum volume is loud and will not result in distortions or static, but bass is still lacking. External speakers are recommended for better quality.

Battery Life

Whereas our first review model was equipped with a 31 Whr battery, the updated Touch model uses a denser 45 Whr module. Beyond the obvious potential for longer battery life, the higher capacity is appropriate considering the higher power demands of the 1080p IPS screen. No other larger capacities are available at this time.

A maximum runtime of almost 10.5 hours was recorded with disabled wireless and minimum screen brightness while running Battery Eater Reader’s Test on the Power Saver profile. A minimum runtime of almost 1.5 hours was recorded with wireless enabled and maximum screen brightness while running the Battery Eater Classic Test on the High Performance profile.

Our standard WLAN test at 150 nits (brightness setting 5/10) returned a runtime of exactly 5 hours, or almost half an hour longer than the original E7240. Its idling runtime is also almost 3 hours longer, which means users can squeeze more life from the system with more reserved power settings. Users who intend to run demanding applications constantly will benefit much less from the larger battery size.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
10h 21min
WiFi Surfing
5h 00min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 23min

Verdict

Dell Latitude E7240 Touch
Dell Latitude E7240 Touch

Dell has made an already solid business notebook even better. This is still a lightweight and modular system with fast application performance, but the Touch model is highly recommended over its non-touch counterpart as the benefits go beyond just a higher pixel count. The IPS upgrade, brighter screen and twice the contrast ratio of the original E7240 model make the E7240 Touch that much more productive and enjoyable to use. It’s a shame that Dell does not explicitly advertise some of these essential features as we actually find them more lucrative than the addition of a touchscreen.

As recommendable as the E7240 Touch is, the model still suffers from one major issue that it shares with the original E7240: Price. Starting at $1665 at the time of review, the Touch model can be a hard sell at both the consumer and business levels. Fortunately, the notebook is made to last as Dell throws in a 3-year warranty with onsite service on every purchase. For business users looking for a portable solution with more features and connectivity options than an often sterile Ultrabook, the E7240 Touch is the best all-rounder this year.

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In Review: Dell Latitude E7240 Touch
In Review: Dell Latitude E7240 Touch

Specifications

Dell Latitude E7240 Touch

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
4096 MB, PC3-12800 11-11-11-28
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 600 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, 9.18.10.3220
:: Display
12.5 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, 10-point capacitive, LG Philips, IPS, LGD0408, Dell P/N: PY6P2, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Samsung SSD SM841 128GB, 128 GB
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo , Card Reader: SD Kartenleser,
:: Networking
Intel I218-LM Gigabit (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 7260 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 311 x 211
:: Weight
1.35 kg Power Supply: 0.00031 kg
:: Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 7.4 V, 6000 mAh
:: Price
1665 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 0.9 MP 720p video , Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Beveled, Keyboard Light: yes, Dell Backup and Recovery, Dell Client System, Dell Digital Delivery, Dell Power Manager, Dell Touchpad, AVG, McAfee, 12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
Chassis is identical to the non-Touch configurations
Chassis is identical to the non-Touch configurations
The matte surface attracts dust quite easily
The matte surface attracts dust quite easily
The edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass NBT screen is the only glossy surface
The edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass NBT screen is the only glossy surface
The 1080p IPS display is leagues better than the base 768p TN model
The 1080p IPS display is leagues better than the base 768p TN model
A denser 45 Whr removable Li-Polymer battery
A denser 45 Whr removable Li-Polymer battery
SIM slot access requires removing the battery first
SIM slot access requires removing the battery first
Our model has a free SODIMM slot alongside a PCI-e slot for WWAN configurations
Our model has a free SODIMM slot alongside a PCI-e slot for WWAN configurations

Similar Laptops

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

» Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Convertible
Core i5 4200U, 1.584 kg
» Review Lenovo ThinkPad X240 Ultrabook
Core i7 4600U, 1.45 kg
» Review Dell Latitude E7240 Notebook
Core i5 4200U, 1.34 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+Gorgeous and bright 1080p IPS Gorilla Glass touchscreen
+Fast application performance
+Easy reparability and upgradeability
+WWAN and docking station options
+Solid construction
+Generally low system noise under typical use
+3-year warranty as standard
 

Cons

-Loud system noise under moderate-high loads
-CPU throttles under full system load
-Maximum brightness drops if running on batteries
-Expensive

Shortcut

What we like

One of the best 12.5-inch notebook for business users with a 1080p IPS touchscreen.

What we'd like to see

Lower price, cooler operation, no CPU throttling.

What surprises us

Easy upgradeability and reparability. The screen is far better than its non-touch configurations.

The competition

Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13

Dell Latitude E7240

Lenovo ThinkPad X240

Sony Vaio Pro 13

Rating

Dell Latitude E7240 Touch
04/17/2014 v4
Allen Ngo

Chassis
86 / 98 → 88%
Keyboard
88%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
75 / 95 → 79%
Weight
71 / 78 → 84%
Battery
84%
Display
82%
Games Performance
61 / 85 → 72%
Application Performance
79%
Temperature
79 / 91 → 87%
Noise
84%
Audio
50 / 91 → 55%
Camera
38 / 85 → 45%
Average
74%
83%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Update Dell Latitude E7240 Touch Notebook
Author: Allen Ngo, 2013-12-16 (Update: 2013-12-16)