Hey guys, are you into business laptops? Well, you must be, if you have clicked on this review in the first place. So the Latitude 5500 is a pretty promising one on paper. The entire Latitude 5000 family is, as it provides a great number of security options for a respectable price. While it is by no means a budget laptop, now we are going to see how Dell justifies that.

As far as the configurations go, you can go for the all-budget Core i3-8145U or pay more to get more – the Core i5-8265U or vPro models – Core i5-8365U and Core i7-8665U, which quite honestly, are pretty close to each other in terms of performance.

Additionally, if you need any graphics enhancement – Dell offers the AMD Radeon 540X.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-15-5500/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Latitude 15 5500 – Specs


HDD/SSD

up to
2000GB SSD + up to 500GB HDD


OS


Windows OS, Windows 10 Pro, Linux


Dimensions


359 x 236 x 20 mm (14.13″ x 9.29″ x 0.79″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 3x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.1 (3.1 Gen 2), DisplayPort
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Card reader Micro SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet LAN 10/100/1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack Headphone/ Microphone combo

Features

  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Digital-array microphones
  • Speakers 2x 2W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the packaging, you will find the laptop, hidden (not very successfully) in a non-static transparent bag. In a part of the box that is separated by cardboard, you will find the 65W charging brick.

Design and construction

Similarly to its brothers from the Latitude 5000 line-up, the Latitude 5500 uses carbon fiber composites in its build. Moreover, Dell states the material is made from 16.5% recycled materials, which is great for the sustainability of the environment. All of that is great, but what is even greater is the 1.82 kg weight and the 20 mm profile. This makes the otherwise industrial-looking machine, feel light and easy for handling.

As it shares pretty much the same body as the Latitude 5501, the laptop we test today is also unable to open its lid without the help of two hands. Here, however, is where the push for better privacy starts with the Latitude 5500 – it has a hardware shutter on top of the camera.

Then we have the base of the laptop. Sadly, the issue from the Latitude 5501 is present here as well – the material around the keyboard bends ever so slightly when you press upon it. While it was kind of a problem with the aforementioned device, we can kind of forgive it with the Latitude 5500, because it retails a couple of hundred bucks less.

Nevertheless, the keyboard is great – it features a full-layout, including the Number Pad section. The keys themselves are well-spaced and they possess a long travel and clicky feedback. All-in-all a great one for typing. Additionally, you can see the so-called “Trackstick”. We personally don’t know why Dell is ashamed to call it a nipple, as it is exactly that, but this is a topic for another conversation.

It pairs really well with the proprietary keys above the touchpad, which also has buttons beneath it. In general, this trackpad is really nice – one of the better ones on the market.

Turning the laptop upside-down reveals a ventilation grill and the speaker cut-outs. Traditionally with these laptops, the hot air escapes the system from the left side of the machine.

Ports

In contrast to the Latitude 5501, which used a 120W charger, connected to the USB Type-C port, here, we have the barrel-style plug. Then, of course, is the free USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) connector and a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port. After that is the aforementioned exhaust grill, as well as a Smart Card reader. On the right, you can see the RJ-45 connector, followed by an HDMI port and two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports – one of them has PowerShare support. Then there is the headphone jack, as well as a MicroSD card reader and an optional SIM card tray.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

Props to Dell for keeping the design of the screws with this laptop. There were 8 of them put onto the chassis and when you do unscrew them, they stay attached to the bottom plate which makes it practically impossible to lose them.

Its cooling is very similar to the one we saw on the Latitude 5501, with the only difference seen only in the heat pipe. It is now slightly narrower to save some money and weight since the ULV processors are nearly not as power-hungry as the H-series.

Memory-wise there are two RAM DIMMs that support up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, while the storage comprises a single M.2 slot. It is also able to carry PCIe x4 speeds.

Lastly, we have the huge 68Wh battery pack, which gave the Latitude 5501 the great battery life. We expect this laptop to perform even better in terms of battery life figures.

Display quality

We are evaluating the display quality of the Dell Latitude 5500. Stay tuned for more information.

Drivers

All of the drivers and software utilities for the Latitude 5500 can be downloaded from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/latitude-15-5500-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. As we mentioned, the Latitude 5500 is equipped with a 68Wh battery unit.

Its behemoth battery gave it an incredible battery life – 17 hours and a half of Web browsing and 14 hours of video playback. It will easily last you through one or even two workdays away from the plug.

CPU options

You have the choice of basically three processors. The Core i3-8145U, Core i5-8265U, Core i5-8365U, and Core i7-8665U. the latter two are just vPro versions of their originals, which means they offer more security options and a slightly higher clock speed.


GPU options

Here, in the general case, you are going to stick with the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. However, if you need a slight edge in the graphics department, you can get the laptop with an AMD Radeon 540X.


Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-8265U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Latitude 5500 3.39 GHz (B+112%) @ 90°C 2.54 GHz (B+59%) @ 89°C 2.11 GHz (B+32%) @ 74°C
ASUS X509 2.56 GHz (B+60%) @ 75°C 2.33 GHz (B+46%) @ 97°C 1.95 GHz (B+22%) @ 94°C
Lenovo Ideapad L340 (15″) 3.27 GHz (B+104%)@ 72°C 1.99 GHz (B+24%)@ 60°C 2.01 GHz (B+26%)@ 65°C
ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 2.96 GHz (B+85%) @ 75°C 2.95 GHz (B+84%) @ 90°C 2.17 GHz (B+36%) @ 68°C
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s 2.76 GHz (B+73%)@ 75°C 2.74 GHz (B+71%)@ 84°C 2.11 GHz (B+32%)@ 74°C
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s 3.43 GHz (B+114%)@ 91°C 2.69 GHz (B+68%)@ 91°C 2.19 GHz (B+37%)@ 80°C
HP ProBook 450 G6 2.69 GHz (B+59%)@ 64°C 2.53 GHz (B+60%)@ 68°C 2.09 GHz (B+31%)@ 71°C

In a typical fashion for a business laptop, the Latitude 5500 has shown a decent cooling capacity. It started off the test with an extremely high clock speed of 3.39 GHz. As it gradually fell down to 2.11 GHz, the temperature stabilized at 74C, which is pretty cool, compared to some of its competitors.

Comfort during full load

During extreme CPU load, the laptop maintained relatively quiet in terms of fan noise, while the hottest spot was just over 39C.

Verdict

There is nothing unexpected from this laptop. Our tests proved right what we were thinking when we got the device in our hands at the beginning – it is pretty much the same laptop as the Latitude 5501. With that said, we don’t mean to discredit the Latitude 5500. Totally the opposite in fact.

It is very interesting when manufacturers offer two versions of the same device – one with a ULV CPU and one with a full-fledged H-series CPU. Generally, we would recommend the latter as it offers more performance, especially if you are doing CPU-intensive tasks, like video and 3D rendering. However, if your aim is mainly office work and short term tasks then the ULV processors are perfectly fine for the job.

One of the major advantages of using such a laptop is the battery life, as the Latitude 5500 goes more than twice longer on battery power than its more powerful twin. The figures are 17 hours and a half of Web browsing and 14 hours of video playback.

Of course, there are some setbacks as the barrel plug charger (we saw that this laptop can be powered from the USB Type-C connector), as well as a lack of a SATA 2.5″ drive option. Nevertheless, we think that the M.2 PCIe x4 slot definitely makes up for that as it offers significantly fast storage plus it has an optional LTE support.

All of the aforementioned is why we decided to give this laptop an Editor’s choice award – in our view, it is deserved.

Pros

  • Extremely long battery life
  • A lightweight carbon fiber body
  • PCIe x4 support
  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • Super snappy experience in daily work

Cons

  • Higher-end models lack a 2.5″ SATA drive slot

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-15-5500/





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