Notebookcheck

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged 5404 Notebook Review

Nino Ricchizzi (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/15/2014

Problem? No Problem! A laptop has to be robust, secure, and always ready in industrial environments. Dell now presents its Latitude 14 Rugged 5454 in the Dell-Latitude-Rugged-Extreme lineup. It lacks the "Extreme" in its name, which leads to a drastically reduced price.

For the original German review, see here.

operational use. Rough handling does not exactly contribute to a technical device's service life, either. Dell offers its Latitude-Rugged-Extreme lineup that copes with all these requirements. Now the Non-Extreme Series is to also meet these demands to an equal extent. The 1850 Euro (~$2310) price tag of our review sample is clearly below the starting price of 2420 Euros (~$3006) of the Extreme models. An Intel Core i5-4310U, 4 GB of working memory and a 500 GB hard drive are inside. However, it is unlikely that an identical configuration will be made available in Germany. The price starts at 1600 Euros (~$1988), but the model features stronger hardware.

The competition is not idle in this category, though. We use some comparison models to put our review sample of the Latitude 14 Rugged in perspective. The  Bullmann C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 with an Intel Core i7-3632MQ, 8 GB of working memory and a 256 GB SSD claims to be another authentic industrial device. We also added Dell's Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme to illustrate the innovations and modifications of the Extreme Series. The device we tested only four months ago features a 256 GB SSD, 8 GB of working memory and Intel Core i5-4300U.

Review Sample Version 1 Version 2 Version 3
CPU Intel Core i5 4310U Intel Core i5 4310U Intel Core i5 4310U Intel Core i7 4650U
Working Memory 4 GB 8 GB 8 GB 16 GB
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 4400 Intel HD Graphics 4400 Nvidia GeForce GT 720M, 2 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 720M, 2 GB
Battery 6 cells, 65 Wh (manufacturer's spec) 6 cells, 65 Wh 9 cells, 97 Wh 9 cells, 97 Wh
Hard Drive 500 GB HDD 128 GB SSD 256 GB SSD 512 GB SSD
Display 1366 x 768 pixels, matte 1366 x 768 pixels, matte 1366 x 768 pixels, matte, touchscreen 1366 x 768 pixels, matte, touchscreen
Price 1850 Dollars 1600 Euros 1920 Euros 2530 Euros

Case

The casing and choice of materials are the most striking differences compared with conventional business laptops. Generous use of rubber caps protect the four corners of our review sample, and keep damage to a minimum. The display's lid is further reinforced with a magnesium alloy. The other components are comprised of an ultra-polymer plastic. Like the Extreme Series, the Rugged complies with the MIL-STD-810G military standard, which involves a range of drop, humidity, heat, etc. tests. Furthermore, it also fulfills the IEC 60529 standard, which defines the ingress of dust and liquids. In order to attain this certificate, all interfaces must be behind sealed flaps. They are slightly slimmer in our new version. Also, neither the DVD drive, nor the power socket has a dedicated flap in this model. Even the battery and hard drive are hidden behind such a cover, but can nevertheless be easily removed and replaced when required. The display lid is also closed tightly with a protective mechanism. Overall, the casing makes a very robust impression, and is thoroughly equipped for industrial use. Even when disregarding the standards and available features, all parts are impeccably and tightly assembled. A better choice could have been made for the display bezel because dust will soon accumulate in the lower area. A one-piece carrying handle with a back-tug mechanism is integrated, and makes a separate case superfluous. However, scratches cannot be avoided, but this will only be secondary to the target group, and unimportant for the application fields. Our configuration weighs 3070 grams (~6.77 lb). The Rugged is certainly not a lightweight, but it has lost approximately 700 grams (~1.5 lb). We measured a steep height of 4.5 cm (~1.77 inches) without the rubber stoppers. The more expensive Rugged Extreme measures 5.5 cm (~2.16 inches), and the Bullmann  5.6 cm (~2.2 inches). Overall, the casing of Dell's Latitude Rugged presents itself as a work machine, but the Extreme version makes a somewhat more robust impression. 

A part of the base unit has to be removed for other maintenance work, such as cleaning the fan. The existing maintenance covers do not allow opening without opening the entire device.

No matter whether a construction site...
No matter whether a construction site...
...or the office - Dell's...
...or the office - Dell's...
...Latitude is always prepared.
...Latitude is always prepared.

Connectivity

The interfaces are lowered behind flaps to protect them from external influences. We find ports on three of the four sides. The integrated carrying handle prevents using the front for this purpose. Dell supplies an option for connecting permanently used external devices, such as a monitor, on the rear. Thus, many of the unsightly cables can be hidden. All interfaces are located in the rear area on the left and right sides, which largely prevents the cables of connected peripherals from restricting the working area.

Rear: Kensington Lock, Ethernet port, USB 2.0, RS-232 serial port, VGA-out, power-in
Rear: Kensington Lock, Ethernet port, USB 2.0, RS-232 serial port, VGA-out, power-in
Left: combo audio, SIM card slot, HDMI port, USB 3.0, battery compartment
Left: combo audio, SIM card slot, HDMI port, USB 3.0, battery compartment
HDD slot, Expresscard 54, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD slot
HDD slot, Expresscard 54, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD slot
Front: carrying handle
Front: carrying handle

Communication

Intel's Wireless-AC 7260 dual-band module is integrated for wireless connections. We check the practical bandwidth by measuring the average download speeds. The review sample faces an Apple MacBook Retina 13 (Late 2013) with a Broadcom 802.11 ac (a/b/g/n/ac) module in the author's personal settings. Both rivals were one floor below the router in the first test. Although the MacBook achieved an average downstream speed of 8 Mbps, the Rugged only managed 1.7 Mbps. Similarly, our results were unchanged when both devices were moved to the same floor as the router.

An LTE module is available for mobile use. The SIM card slot is located among the other interfaces, and not inside like in many business laptops. Dell offers an optional dedicated SiRFstarV-GPS module during the configuration process for an additional 10.50 Euros (~$13).

Even the webcam is sealed behind a small flap. It has a resolution of 720p, and will suffice for video conferencing. A visible image noise is produced in low ambient light. So that not only images, but also sound is transmitted, there are two microphones installed for suppressing noise. The audio quality is satisfactory, but the background noise was only moderately suppressed in our test.

Security

Although Dell lists multiple options, they are not free of charge. The first fee-based option is a fingerprint reader that our review sample does not have. Exact prices have not yet been fixed online. Furthermore, a FIPS-complying Trusted Platform module is available. As customary for Dell's business lineup, the Dell Data Protection service can also be added to the order during the configuration. The optional GPS module allows tracing the laptop via Computrace software. A three-year license costs 77 Euros (~$95), and 87.50 Euros (~$109) for four years.

Accessories

No specific accessories are included with the Latitude Rugged. However, some interesting extras are available. Among them, a docking station that expands the interface diversity. The high price of 370 Euros (~$460) is a drawback. The Dell Portable Power Companion (115 Dollars; ~93 Euros) external battery allows recharging the device on-the-move.

Maintenance

The detailed online instruction guide (German) makes maintaining the review sample easy. Savvy hands should not have problems replacing components. Virtually every thinkable hardware replacement is described step-by-step. Cleaning the fan and heat sink or replacing the communication modules is possible after removing the base cover.

Warranty

Dell products bought in Germany include a basic warranty. Additional services are either included or can be added depending on the price of the ordered Rugged model. For example, ProSupport with Rapid Collect and Return Service, Accidental Damage Protection, and extending the battery's warranty are among them. However, the second is only available for the most expensive configuration.

Input Devices

Keyboard

We more than liked the black keyboard in the Rugged Extreme version. This has not changed. A soft and deep drop allows comfortable touch-typing. All keys feature a decent firmness and consistent pressure point. The keys' sleek surface ensures fast typing, but the needed grip might be missed in some situations. A three-level backlight is installed for typing without restrictions in the dark.

Touchpad

Although Dell's laptop does not have the "Extreme" in its name, the touchpad has been revamped to the maximum. The dimension of 9.9 x 5.4 cm (~3.9 x 2.13 inches) is even ideal for the hands of construction workers. Inputs are implemented quickly and accurately, even in the corners that are considered predestined problem zones. Multi-touch gestures are also agreeably smooth and without any noticeable problems. The two adjacent buttons are now also larger. Both feature an even pressure point, and a long, soft drop

The Extreme version had to accept some criticism.
The Extreme version had to accept some criticism.
A three-level keyboard backlight is included.
A three-level keyboard backlight is included.
A decent keyboard in Dell's Rugged
A decent keyboard in Dell's Rugged

Display

A TN screen with a maximum resolution of 1366x768 pixels ensures a clear overview. The screen's color and grayscale rates are rather secondary for a work machine, but the brightness is an especially important criterion. The competitions can boast with an average of 531 cd/m² (Bullmann C-Klasse) and 482 cd/m² (Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme). The annual average of office laptops was, for example, only 237 cd/m². Our review sample exhibits its clear superiority with an average brightness of almost 700 cd/m², which even outshines its strong rivals. However, there are high brightness differences of up to almost 120 cd/m², which are also visible.

634
cd/m²
684
cd/m²
652
cd/m²
710
cd/m²
751
cd/m²
727
cd/m²
702
cd/m²
683
cd/m²
753
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 753 cd/m² Average: 699.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 751 cd/m²
Contrast: 341:1 (Black: 2.2 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 13.47 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 14.48 | - Ø
34% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.86

The high brightness takes its toll on the contrast of just 166:1. The Bullmann C-Klasse achieves a better rate of 867:1. Dark color sequences in particular, make an evidently grayish impression.

The Latitude does not earn praise in the CalMAN tests. The DeltaE rates of over 13 in colors and 14.48 in the grayscale indicate a visibly inaccurate color reproduction compared with the sRGB color space. A bluish cast is very obvious. The AdobeRGB color space (34%) and sRGB color space (49%) coverage indicate that it is not suitable for professional image and graphic editing.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
ColMAN - Grayscale
ColMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
AdobeRGB space coverage
AdobeRGB space coverage
sRGB space coverage
sRGB space coverage
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Bullman C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 Touch 3632QM
HD Graphics 4000, 3632QM, Plextor PX-256M5M
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
Screen
-12%
34%
Brightness
700
531
-24%
482
-31%
Brightness Distribution
84
71
-15%
83
-1%
Black Level *
2.2
3.59
-63%
0.61
72%
Contrast
341
150
-56%
867
154%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
13.47
8.93
34%
10.64
21%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
14.48
8.83
39%
11.79
19%
Gamma
2.86 84%
2.44 98%
2.73 88%
CCT
15544 42%
6889 94%
6893 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
34
35
3%
34.85
3%

* ... smaller is better

No matter what kind of work is to be performed outdoors, Dell's Rugged shows its best side. It would even be possible to use the device in direct sunlight owing to the high brightness rates.

Dell's Rugged...
Dell's Rugged...
...can be used outdoors...
...can be used outdoors...
...almost without restrictions...
...almost without restrictions...
...owing to the screen's extreme brightness.
...owing to the screen's extreme brightness.

Since only a TN screen is installed, both colors and brightness distort significantly when the screen is tilted. However, thanks to Dell’s large screen tilt angle, a proper work position can always be found.

Viewing angle stability
Viewing angle stability

Performance

Although only 4 GB of working memory and a 500 GB magnetic hard drive are installed, Intel's Core i5-4310U provides enough computing power. Faster response times are ensured in the German Rugged models: All laptops feature at least 8 GB of working memory and an SSD. Our review sample coped easily with routine tasks. We would refer to the models with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 720M for the best possible utilization of company graphic programs and specialized software where applicable.

System information: Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404

Processor

Intel's Core i5-4310U CPU has been installed in our Rugged version. The processor has a clock rate of 2.0 GHz, and a Turbo mode of 3.0 GHz. Its preferred application fields are office and multimedia. However, some application fields with higher requirements would also be possible. Unlike the tested Extreme Series, a minor upgrade has been performed because it was equipped with a 100 MHz lower clocked Intel Core i5- 4300U CPU. Instead of a ULV CPU, the Bullmann relies on pure power, and installs an Intel Core i7-3632QM. This CPU's TDP of 35 Watts is exactly 20 Watts higher than the maximum power dissipation Intel specifies for Dell's Latitude Rugged. The review sample achieved a 5% higher score than the Extreme version in Cinebench version R 11.5. However, the Bullmann achieves an approximately 75% better score of 5.13 points in the multi-core sector. Both contenders are on par in the single-core test. More comparisons and benchmark scores can be found in our FAQ. Potential buyers can also make comparisons with the most powerful Rugged model based on Intel's Core i7-4650U to consolidate a purchase decision.

The review sample did not reduce its speed in battery mode. The Turbo could be maintained, and thus the Rugged achieved the same scores in the benchmarks. Throttling was not ascertained even after running Cinebench multiple times.

Cinebench R11.5
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
CPU Single 64Bit
1.3 Points ∼59%
CPU Multi 64Bit
2.94 Points ∼12%
Bullman C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 Touch 3632QM
CPU Single 64Bit
1.34 Points ∼61%
CPU Multi 64Bit
5.13 Points ∼21%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
CPU Single 64Bit
1.23 Points ∼56%
CPU Multi 64Bit
2.78 Points ∼12%
Legend
      Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404 Intel Core i5-4310U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
      Bullman C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 Touch 3632QM Intel Core i7-3632QM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Plextor PX-256M5M
      Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.3 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.94 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
15.02 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
114 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
261 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
21.07 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help

System Performance

Subjectively the laptop runs very smoothly despite its poor memory configuration. We find considerably faster response times among the competitors owing to their non-volatile memory. This knowledge and the larger working memory allow the Extreme Series to achieve better scores in the PCMark 8 benchmarks. The Bullmann achieves twice as many points in PCMark 7 because this benchmark particularly favors SSD storage devices.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
PCMark 8
15%
Work Score Accelerated v2
3354
3864
15%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
2267
2482
9%
Home Score Accelerated v2
2221
2688
21%
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
2629 Points ∼33%
Bullman C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 Touch 3632QM
HD Graphics 4000, 3632QM, Plextor PX-256M5M
5584 Points ∼69% +112%
PCMark 7 Score
2629 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2221 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
2267 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3354 points
Help

Storage Devices

A slightly unfair game is played in the storage device because our review sample is equipped with a 500 GB magnetic hard drive from Seagate. All future versions of the German Rugged model will be delivered with an SSD. Both competitors are equipped similarly, and thus our review sample is defeated in terms of read and write speeds.

Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Sequential Read: 91.4 MB/s
Sequential Write: 86.72 MB/s
512K Read: 19.58 MB/s
512K Write: 32.59 MB/s
4K Read: 0.315 MB/s
4K Write: 0.56 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 0.668 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 0.588 MB/s

Graphics Card

An Intel HD Graphics 4400 is integrated into the processor. In our case, the processor's graphics unit clocks with a core rate of 600 - 1100 MHz. The application field is in line with that of the CPU. The internal graphics card allows using newer standards, such as DirectX11.1, OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 4.0. A look at the 3DMark benchmark reveals that the Rugged Extreme achieves a 15% better result. This advantage is due to the dual-channel memory. Dell also offers an optional Nvidia GeForce GT 720M configuration for better graphics performance. We refer to our benchmark chart of mobile graphics cards for more comparisons.

As mentioned in the CPU section, mobile use (battery mode) will not be a problem. According to 3DMark 11 the same performance is available.

3DMark
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
4058 Points ∼8%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
4613 Points ∼9% +14%
Lenovo IdeaPad S510p 59-405717
GeForce GT 720M, 4200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4271 Points ∼9% +5%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
36888 Points ∼19%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
42883 Points ∼22% +16%
Lenovo IdeaPad S510p 59-405717
GeForce GT 720M, 4200U, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
46968 Points ∼24% +27%
3DMark 11 Performance
787 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
36888 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4058 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
523 points
Help

Gaming Performance

It is unlikely that the gaming section will be a big topic for a business and construction-site device such as Dell's Rugged. Nevertheless, the internal Intel HD Graphics 4400  allows rendering some older and newer games in low graphic settings. Smooth frame rates of 140.3 are achieved in the new EA box office hit SIMS 4 using a low quality setting. F1 2014 is also displayed lag-free under the same settings. However, certain games like Dragon Age: Inquisition will have to be avoided. More games that might run on the internal graphics card can be found in our benchmark chart.

low med. high ultra
Sims 4 (2014) 140.326fps
F1 2014 (2014) 4026fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 13.16fps

Emissions

System Noise

An office device should generally be quiet so that it does not disturb the concentration of colleagues. Only an occasional, quiet noise is heard from the HDD. The Latitude's fans mostly remain inactive, and are only subtly perceptible under load. Even the maximum 35.5 dB(A) are hardly audible and not at all distracting.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Bullman C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 Touch 3632QM
HD Graphics 4000, 3632QM, Plextor PX-256M5M
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
Noise
2%
11%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
31.7
29.6
7%
27.8
12%
Idle Average *
31.7
29.6
7%
27.8
12%
Idle Maximum *
31.7
29.6
7%
27.8
12%
Load Average *
33.6
35.2
-5%
31.7
6%
Load Maximum *
35.5
37.8
-6%
31.7
11%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.7 / 31.7 / 31.7 dB(A)
HDD
31.7 dB(A)
DVD
37.7 / dB(A)
Load
33.6 / 35.5 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

One would expect that an industrial device, such as Dell's Latitude Rugged, is always ready for use. However, this is only possible when the laptop has a reasonable fan and cooling strategy so that it stays cool even in warm environments. The review sample only reached 35 °C (~95 °F) under load conditions. This leaves quite a bit of headroom. Based on this test outcome, the Rugged Series is 5 °C cooler (-9 °F) than the Extreme Series and even two degrees cooler (-3.6 °F) than the Bullmann C-Klasse. The waste heat is discharged to the left, and thus that edge heats up more noticeably. The temperature development of the power supply should not be ignored. It reaches a maximum of 22.7 °C (~73 °F) while idling, and up to 48.1 °C (119 °F) are possible during load. Thus, it should not be covered by blankets or pillows.

We analyzed the behavior of our review sample during high load in our stress test using the programs FurMark and Prime95. The CPU stabilized at 61 – 63 °C (~142 – 145 °F) after one hour of testing. However, the clock rate throttled to 1400 MHz, which is 600 MHz lower than the base clock. A better strategy could be expected from a work device with such a large casing volume so that throttling (operating below base clock) does not occur even in a worst-case scenario. On the other hand, a 100% load of CPU and GPU (stress test) is not a realistic, everyday scenario.

 27.2 °C26.7 °C27.3 °C 
 25.3 °C26.8 °C25.8 °C 
 24.8 °C25 °C25.8 °C 
Maximum: 27.3 °C
Average: 26.1 °C
26.6 °C28 °C28 °C
26.8 °C27 °C27.3 °C
26.8 °C26.1 °C26.1 °C
Maximum: 28 °C
Average: 27 °C
Power Supply (max.)  29.1 °C | Room Temperature 22.3 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

A speaker with an astonishing quality is located in the front area. Although most business laptops lack bass, the Rugged stands out with rich mids and not overly dominating trebles. The volume will be an especially important criterion in everyday use, for example for conferencing via Skype. The commonly installed 3.5 mm combo audio jack or the HDMI out can be used for an enhanced sound quality.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Unlike the competition from Bullmann, Dell relies on ULV CPUs, which leads us to the decisive point. The review sample clearly consumed less power in every situation. A maximum of just 36.8 Watts was required during load. The Bullmann's power consumption is 60 Watts. However, even the larger comparison device from Dell has a considerably higher power consumption with 56 Watts than the non-Extreme Series, despite an increased screen brightness and the marginally stronger CPU. Particularly noteworthy is the three-times lower standby consumption because Dell's Latitude 5404 will frequently have to be ready to go quickly and thus will not always be completely shut down. The 65-Watts power supply generally fulfills its purpose, and is not loaded to its maximum.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.3 / 12.2 / 11.5 Watt
Load midlight 36.8 / 36 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The 6 cell battery has a capacity of 66 Wh, but can be upgraded with a 9 cell model depending on the configuration. The Bullmann has two batteries totaling 144.7 Watts.

Potential buyers may expect a maximum runtime of 13 hours and 40 minutes. However, the brightness has to be set to minimum to accomplish this. We tested this situation using the Reader's test of the Battery Eater benchmark. Both batteries of the C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 last 10% longer. Dell's Latitude Rugged Extreme shuts down 5 hours earlier than the review sample.

We simulate browsing via Wi-Fi to ascertain a practical scenario. Using a screen brightness of 150 cd/m², the Rugged shut down after 7 hours and 50 minutes, which will not be quite enough for a whole workday. The Bullmann's C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 manages even overtime without its power supply with a three and a half longer runtime. The Rugged Extreme Series will sometimes need an outlet in view of seven hours.

The Battery Eater's Classic test allows determining the minimum possible battery life. Dell's Rugged shut down after a little over two hours using the Windows high-performance profile and maximum brightness. It is thus on par with the Extreme Series. The Bullmann again scores better owing to its two batteries, and achieves 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Dell offers an optional 9 cell battery and portable recharging station for a longer battery life when required.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Bullman C-Klasse 3 SRD 14 Touch 3632QM
HD Graphics 4000, 3632QM, Plextor PX-256M5M
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
HD Graphics 4400, 4300U, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
Battery Runtime
41%
-20%
Reader / Idle
820
914
11%
505
-38%
WiFi
470
683
45%
417
-11%
Load
132
220
67%
117
-11%
H.264
328
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
13h 40min
WiFi Surfing
7h 50min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 12min

Verdict

Dell Latitude Rugged - 5404
Dell Latitude Rugged - 5404

Rugged and solid. That is just how Dell's Latitude Rugged 5404 presented itself in our test. Dell has done an exceptional job in particular with the input devices. Firstly, the keyboard features a decent drop, which leads to a good typing feel. The TrackPad has been completely revamped compared with the Extreme Series. It had obvious drawbacks that we no longer find in this unit. The casing is still robust and fulfills many industrial requirements. Nevertheless, some cutbacks have been made. The closing mechanism and the thickness of the flaps, no longer make the same indestructible impression as in the Extreme model. Some interfaces are adversely positioned behind their flaps so that wider plugs do not fit.

As for the display, Dell primarily concentrates on outdoor use and disregards properties that are unimportant for industrial use. The extreme brightness alongside the matte screen ensures potential utilization in almost every situation. However, losses in contrast and color reproduction have to be accepted. A look at the hardware proved meager compared with that of the competition. An SSD and more working memory would be desirable, as found in the competition. However, the German Dell Latitude Rugged lineup would be the better contenders because they will be configured with these components. The selected parts lead to a particularly low temperature development.

A key criterion for an industrial device is the battery life. Our review sample could almost ensure a whole workday in a practical scenario. The Bullmann achieved considerably better rates. However, a larger battery, or the optional external recharging station can be selected for the Rugged model to achieve longer battery runtime.

On the whole, this Rugged Series is well conceived. Many places have been polished with a positive outcome. However, a little too much was polished away from others in order to achieve a lower price than for the Extreme models.

static version load dynamic
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In Review: Dell Latitude Rugged 5404. Test model courtesy of Dell Germany
In Review: Dell Latitude Rugged 5404. Test model courtesy of Dell Germany

Specifications

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 600 - 1100 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, igdumdim 64 10.18.10.3412
Memory
4096 MB 
, 1600 MHz DDR3L, 1 of 2 memory banks filled
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, AU Optronics AUO333C B140XTN, TN, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Storage
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 5400 rpm
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio jack, Card Reader: SD, Sensors: brightness sensor
Networking
Intel I218-LM (Clarkville ULT) Network Adapter (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0, LTE
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GU90N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 44.4 x 347 x 243 ( = 1.75 x 13.66 x 9.57 in)
Battery
67 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
3.07 kg ( = 108.29 oz / 6.77 pounds), Power Supply: 325 g ( = 11.46 oz / 0.72 pounds)
Price
1850 Euro

 

Dell has revamped the TrackPad.
Dell has revamped the TrackPad.
The corners feature rubber caps.
The corners feature rubber caps.
A handle for mobile use.
A handle for mobile use.
Maintenance covers lift the Rugged.
Maintenance covers lift the Rugged.
The Latitude's rugged casing.
The Latitude's rugged casing.
Made in Stealth design
Made in Stealth design
Screen closure
Screen closure
Interface flaps
Interface flaps
LED lights in the handle
LED lights in the handle
The keyboard in the Extreme Series was already convincing.
The keyboard in the Extreme Series was already convincing.
First, industrial routine...
First, industrial routine...
...reveal the advantages.
...reveal the advantages.
Back-tug mechanism
Back-tug mechanism
Props up when replacing the HDD
Props up when replacing the HDD
The input devices were made for the office field.
The input devices were made for the office field.
Both hinges..
Both hinges..
...prevent the screen from wobbling.
...prevent the screen from wobbling.
Protected against external intrusions.
Protected against external intrusions.
Docking port
Docking port

Similar Laptops

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

Acer TravelMate P246-M-598B Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4210U, 2.063 kg
Dell Latitude 14 E5450 Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4310U, 1.968 kg
Toshiba Tecra Z40T-A1410 Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4310U, 1.624 kg
Dell Inspiron 14-7437 FHD Ultrabook Review Update
HD Graphics 4400, Core i7 4510U, 2 kg
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4300U, 3.69 kg

Devices with the same GPU

Lenovo B50-70 MCC2GGE Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i3 4030U, 15.6", 2.32 kg
Fujitsu LifeBook A514 Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i3 4005U, 15.6", 2.2 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+Casing
+Screen brightness
+Certification
+Upgrade options
+Maintenance
+Emissions
+Input Devices
+Carrying handle
 

Cons

-Many features only optional
-Working memory
-Magnetic hard drive
-Contrast

Shortcut

What we like

Both input devices and the extremely bright screen are compelling.

What we'd like to see

A viewing angle stable IPS screen with sufficient contrast.

What surprises us

Despite the price cut, a well-designed industrial laptop.

The competition

We chose the Bullmann C-Klasse and the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme as comparison models for operational routine in our tests.

Rating

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged - 5404 - 12/08/2014 v4(old)
Nino Ricchizzi

Chassis
93 / 98 → 95%
Keyboard
91%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
89 / 80 → 100%
Weight
56 / 67 → 77%
Battery
84%
Display
72%
Games Performance
64 / 68 → 94%
Application Performance
69 / 92 → 75%
Temperature
92%
Noise
94%
Audio
50%
Camera
46 / 85 → 54%
Average
76%
84%
Office - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Dell Latitude 14 Rugged 5404 Notebook Review
Nino Ricchizzi, 2014-12-15 (Update: 2014-12-17)