Dell Latitude 3450 Notebook Review
First business contact. Dell wants to show us what equipment an affordable laptop for business routine needs with its Latitude 3450. The laptop lures with an IPS screen and a good battery life. However, minor shortcomings have to be accepted for a price of 915 Euros (~$981).
For the original German review, see here.
Dell describes its new Latitude 3450 as an entry-level business system. The manufacturer offers the basic configuration that is to cope with the conditions of the working world for 680 Euros (~$729). We will examine the 915-Euro (~$981) model (incl. tax), which is the flagship of this lineup. Dell installs an Intel Core i5-5200U from the Broadwell architecture alongside the internal Intel HD Graphics 5500. An 8 GB working memory that operates in dual-channel mode supplements that. A Full HD IPS screen is in charge of visualization in the 14-inch Latitude. Furthermore, it is possible to add a fingerprint reader for an extra 4.20 Euros (~$4.50) during the configuration. Other configuration options can be found on the manufacturer's website.
A look at the competition reveals how much business the buyer can expect for this price. Acer's TravelMate P246 is an interesting comparison model priced at 650 Euros (~$697). Our tested model featured an Intel Core i5-4210U, 4 GB of working memory, a 500 GB hard drive, and a TN screen with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels. This configuration is very similar with that of the mid-range Latitude 3450 for just below 800 Euros (~$858).
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Case & Connectivity
The choice of materials is limited to plastic parts, which only differ slightly in color. The display's back and base unit feature a dark gray color. Another, darker gray is used for the keyboard and display area when opened. Almost invisible blue dots glitter on the otherwise matte surface. The review laptop's feel is mostly satisfactory. As is often seen, the spacing between the display and the bezel is, unfortunately, too big, and thus very nasty dust will accumulate there. Opening the casing always produced a loud creaking noise. Beyond that, the keyboard and display back were easy to dent. We did not find any major flaws in terms of gaps or other processing issues. Dell's laptop is not a disagreeable companion with a weight of 2050 grams. Its maximum height of 25 mm is on par with Acer's device.
The manufacturer has chosen the positioning for the interfaces well. All ports are in the rear on the right and left side edges. Consequently, connected cables will not obstruct the work space on the desk. The only drawback is that only two of the three USB ports support the USB 3.0 standard.
Although Dell's Latitude does not have any dedicated maintenance covers, the large base unit can be lifted off after removing only two screws. The cover should, however, be removed with extreme care because many of the plastic clips might break. The battery, working memory, hard drive and Wi-Fi module are easy to take out after removal.
The keyboard has to fulfill a certain standard particularly in the office sector. Dell is also exemplary in its entry-level here. The soft yet crisp drop convinces. The pressure points are throughout even, and the keys do not yield at the corners. Hardly palpable, the space bar features a slightly softer drop. Dell installs a two-level keyboard backlight for working in the dark. The noise level does not climb into unpleasant regions even when typing more energetically but stays consistently muffled and quiet.
The trackpad's size of 10.5 x 8.1 cm is generously sized and has two incorporated buttons. Its surface has been roughened slightly, which results in a decent sleekness. The left button occasionally stuck in our review sample, which interrupted the workflow. We cannot say whether that was a hardware or software error. Inputting and gesture control functioned smoothly and without problems otherwise.
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A high-quality, matte IPS screen with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels has been installed in our review sample. Like Acer, the lower priced models of this Latitude lineup rely on a 1366x768-pixel TN model. The average brightness of 273 cd/m² is quite decent and 50 cd/m² higher than that of the TravelMate. The contrast of 681:1 is also good but does not lead to a rich black alongside the resulting black value of 0.445 cd/m².
The CalMAN assessments confirm the positive color and grayscale level reproduction common for IPS screens. However, the shift is sooner located in the midfield for this model type. We are speaking of a DeltaE rate of 4.28 in the grayscale and 3.94 in the colors.
Thanks to the matte screen and high brightness, nothing stands in the way of outdoor use. As long as direct sunlight does not impair the view, Dell's Latitude 3450 can be used as a permanent companion.
Our review sample wants to fulfill the demands of the office world. An Intel Core i5-5200U provides the needed computing power and will not falter even in multimedia applications and some programs with higher requirement. Two 4 GB working memory modules operate in dual-channel mode, which enables a decent system performance. There is enough storage available in the form of a 1 TB magnet hard drive. Dell regrettably does not offer an SSD option.
The installed Intel Core i5-5200U CPU operates with a clock speed of 2.2 GHz, which can be increased up to 2.7 GHz via Turbo Boost. The "U" in the name indicates an energy-efficient processor. Intel specifies a TDP of 15 watts for it. We will analyze how the dual-core CPU fares compared with its contenders based on Cinebench R15. In contrast to the precursor CPU from the Haswell line, Dell's laptop achieves a 9% better score in the multi-core sector.
There are no performance losses when AC mode cannot be used. Cinebench R15 clocked stably with 2.6 GHz in battery mode and achieves the same score in the multi-core test.
More comparisons and details can be found in the corresponding article in our FAQ.
Working with Dell's Latitude 3450 was always speedy. SSD users will, however, notice the difference to a HDD. The PCMark 7 system benchmark confirms exactly this subjective impression. Dell's device reaps in an approximately 19% higher score with 2856 points than our previously tested Acer TravelMate. We have to point out that this difference will be marginally lower when selecting a Latitude configuration with a price closer to that of Acer's laptop.
|PCMark 7 Score||2856 points|
As to the storage device, Dell's Latitude 3450 uses a 1 TB magnet hard drive that spins with 5400 rpm. Lower-priced models of the lineup utilize a 500 GB hard drive. Users who want more speed will have to organize a hard drive on their own because Dell does not list any options. CrystalDiskMark records normal rates for this model type.
|Dell Latitude 3450-9723|
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
|Acer TravelMate P246-M-598B|
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
|Fujitsu Lifebook E544|
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
|HP Probook 645 G1|
Radeon HD 8450G, A6-5350M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
|Write 4k QD32|
|Read 4k QD32|
An Intel HD Graphics 5500 serves as the graphics unit. The processor graphics card supports important standards like OpenCL 2.0 and DirectX 11.2. A clear performance advantage over the former version becomes obvious here. Acer's laptop with an Intel HD Graphics 4400 achieves an approximately 30% lower performance than our office laptop.
Like with the CPU, the performance remains constant in battery mode, and thus the same scores were achieved in 3DMark 11.
|3DMark 11 Performance||1100 points|
|3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score||47312 points|
|3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score||4842 points|
|3DMark Fire Strike Score||702 points|
Intel's HD Graphics 5500 provides a decent boost particularly compared with the Haswell generation. However, it does not yet enable enjoying newer games. Some older games from 2013 are rendered smoothly. We selected Tomb Raider from 2013 to acquire a comparison rate with Acer's device. Intel's HD Graphics 4400 in Acer's TravelMate P246 laptop only managed a smooth frame rate of 37 fps using minimum settings. The stronger graphics card in Dell's device benefits here and achieves 54 frames per second. The advantage over the TravelMate is that the review sample achieves playable conditions even when using medium quality settings.
|1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)|
|Dell Latitude 3450-9723||
28.1 fps ∼5%
|Acer TravelMate P246-M-598B||
18.2 fps ∼3% -35%
|Fujitsu Lifebook E544||
20.2 fps ∼4% -28%
|1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)|
|Dell Latitude 3450-9723||
54.6 fps ∼9%
|Acer TravelMate P246-M-598B||
37.1 fps ∼6% -32%
|Fujitsu Lifebook E544||
40.6 fps ∼6% -26%
|Tomb Raider (2013)||54.6||28.1||18.1||8.9||fps|
The fans are never active in idle mode. Solely a subtle HDD noise is audible every now and again. The Latitude does not really get loud under load, either. The noise changes in a perceptible range that, however, is quickly drowned out by ambient noise.
32.7 / 32.7 / 32.7 dB(A)
||34.4 / 41.9 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
The review sample does not heat up in idle although its fans are inactive. Maximum temperatures of around 30 °C during use are not perceptible. Dell's laptop heats up noticeably during load although the hot spot of 41 °C is still uncritical. This peak rate is reached on the upper side and underside. The power supply heats up to 44.3 °C then, which is not disconcerting either. However, contenders like Acer's TravelMate P236 stay 6 °C cooler.
We analyze the inner temperatures via the stress test. The programs Furmark and Prime95 run for one hour. The clock rate of 2600 MHz drops to 1.1 GHz right from the start. It settles to 1600 MHz after a few minutes and occasionally reaches peaks of 1700 MHz. The CPU's temperature reaches a temperature of 71 °C in the beginning but drops to averagely 67 °C. The clock rate instantaneously climbs to 2.5 GHz after stopping the test and 3DMark 11 records an almost identical score as in a cold start with 1050 points.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.1 °C / 106 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 41.4 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 26.3 °C / 79 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (34.8 °C / 94.6 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (-6.7 °C / -12 F).
The installed speakers correspond to the minimum standard of modern laptops. The rather medium volume limits music enjoyment when turning up the speakers. External devices will have to be used for a really pleasing sound spectrum. The balance of the existing mids and trebles nevertheless ensures very clear playback.
It ultimately becomes evident that Dell's Latitude is stronger than the TravelMate in power consumption. The review sample guzzles 2 watts more already when idling. The biggest difference between minimum and maximum power consumption is seen during load. Our office device demands between 32.2 watts and 33.6 watts. Acer's laptop requires 23.7 to 34.7 watts.
|Off / Standby||0 / 0.2 Watt|
|Idle|| 6.1 / 8.4 / 9.4 Watt|
32.2 / 33.6 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max: Voltcraft VC 940
The manufacturer treats its Latitude to a 4-cell lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 58 Wh. We ascertain a real-life runtime in our Wi-Fi test. Details about our test procedure can be found here. Dell's laptop lasts approximately 8 hours and will thus even manage a normal workday without external power. A direct comparison with the contender is not possible because its Wi-Fi runtime was analyzed using a former test procedure.
The manufacturer demands 650 to 915 Euros (~$697 to ~$981) for entering the office world. We were now allowed to closely examine the strongest version. Dell sticks to its design concept, which is unobtrusive yet elegant. Only minor shortcomings have to be accepted in terms of build. Both the display's back and keyboard in the plastic casing are easy to dent. However, we noticed the simple and quick maintainability favorably. Only two screws have to be removed to access all important components. The only drawback is that the battery cannot be taken out before removing the base tray. The screen is still first rate in our configuration: A matte, Full HD IPS screen has been installed in the Latitude 3450. Lower-priced models have to be satisfied with a lower resolution and viewing-angle dependent TN screens. The brightness and contrast are also good.
An energy-efficient and at the same time high-performance Broadwell CPU, which more than just fulfills office requirements, clocks inside. Alongside the 8 GB working memory that operates in dual-channel mode, our review sample made a speedy impression. Various benchmarks confirmed this subjective evaluation. Dell's laptop also largely does an exemplary job in terms of emissions and temperatures. Our real-life Wi-Fi test presented a maximum battery life of 8 hours, which is particularly important for routine use.
Dell's Latitude 3450 is exactly what the manufacturer advertises: An entry-level device for the business sector. The potential buyer should carefully consider whether the price for the first contact with this laptop category is justified.
Dell Latitude 3450-9723 - 03/25/2015 v4(old)