Few deskbound PCs, and certainly few business desktops as opposed to serious gaming
Fine Fit and Finish
The big-screen sibling of the Latitude 5491, the 5591 starts at $1,069 with an eighth-generation Core i5 chip, a skimpy 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and a pitiful screen—1,366 by 768 pixels, too low resolution for 11.6 inches, let alone 15.6 inches nowadays. The $2,412 configuration seen here is amply endowed with the 2.6GHz Core i7-8850H with Intel’s vPro management technologies, 16GB of fast DDR4, a 512GB Toshiba NVMe solid-state drive, and a 1,920-by-1,080 IPS touch display.
Bland basic black is the hallmark of Dell’s design, broken only by the company logo centered in the carbon fiber-reinforced polymer lid. The Latitude has passed MIL-STD tests against shock, vibration, and other road hazards; there’s hardly any flex when you grasp the screen corners and none in the center of the keyboard deck.
Even with a beefy 92-
Ports are plentiful. Along the left edge are a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB 3.0 port, and SD and SmartCard slots. The right edge holds an old-school VGA port, another USB 3.0 port, an audio jack, a SIM slot for mobile broadband configurations, and a Noble lock slot. Finally, around the back, you’ll find HDMI and Ethernet ports and a third USB 3.0 port, as well as the socket for the somewhat bulky 130-watt AC adapter. Bluetooth and 802.11ac wireless are joined by an NFC hotspot on the palm rest.
Windows Hello users can eschew typed passwords via either a fingerprint reader in the palm rest or a face-recognition camera centered above the display (the Latitude shuns today’s thin-bezel fashion for thick strips on all four sides). The webcam captures above-averagely bright and detailed images.
The screen is attractive, too—though rated at only 220 nits, it’s still bright enough to use even with the backlight dialed down several notches to save battery power, and its contrast and viewing angles are good. Colors are clear, though they don’t quite pop like poster paints, and details are as distinct as 1080p resolution can make them. My only gripe with the screen is a common one—though touch operations are smooth and sure, the glass overlay that enables them makes the panel distractingly reflective or mirror-like in dark areas.
Considering it’s a business laptop, I’m not sure why the 5591 has media playback (play/pause and next/previous track) keys instead of Home and End keys. (The latter are doubled up with the Fn key and cursor arrows.) But otherwise, the keyboard earns points for combining a virtually silent, soft touch with more than adequate travel and feedback. I reached 90 words per minute in an online typing test without hurrying too much.
Cursor captains can choose from a blue-ringed pointing stick embedded in the keyboard or a midsized touchpad below it. The stick took more finger pressure than I expected, but both worked well, with easy-to-click if slightly rubbery buttons.
Speakers beneath the front edge of the machine produce perfectly pleasant sound at moderate levels, with crisp highs and even a bit of bass, but audio is too soft below, say, 50 percent volume and too rough and ragged when turned up above 80 percent to fill a room. Dell backs the Latitude with three years of on-site service and preloads security software that offers to encrypt the SSD, saving a key to a network or removable drive, while Microsoft does its part for office productivity with Candy Crush Soda Saga, Hidden City, and Disney Magic Kingdoms.
Crushing the Competition
The Latitude 5591 flexed its six-core muscle against a squad of quad-core competitors in our performance
The Microsoft laptop got its revenge, however, in our graphics and gaming tests, where its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 simply outclassed the Dell’s GeForce MX130. While the latter did outperform the systems with Intel integrated graphics, it came only about halfway to the 30 frames per second we consider playable in our Heaven and Valley gaming simulations at high image-quality settings. As I said at the beginning, the 5591 is strictly for casual as opposed to hardcore gaming.
Not helped by
A Desktop-Replacement Dynamo
Like the Latitude 5491, the 5591 is a niche product—a laptop