Dell states that its Latitude 5501 is the smallest 15-inch laptop meant for business. However, they also have a little, tiny disclaimer clarifying what they mean by that. Basically, Dell is talking about all of the 15-inch laptops that feature vPro support and are build before February 2019. Indeed, if you compare it to Lenovo ThinkPad P52, it is definitely smaller, however, we’re going to see if it can withstand the power of the 9th Generation Coffee Lake processors.

In fact, this is the main difference between the Latitude 5501 and the 5500 – the former uses H-series Intel CPUs, whereas the latter is equipped with the Whiskey Lake Intel ULV processors. By the way, we have already tested and compared their respective predecessors – the Latitude 15 5591 and Latitude 15 5590, so don’t hesitate to pay it a visit.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-5501/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Latitude 5501 – Specs


M.2 Slot


1x 2280 M.2 NVMe slot


OS


Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10, Linux


Dimensions


359 x 236 x 21.9-24.5 mm (14.13″ x 9.29″ x 0.86″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 3x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.1 (3.1 Gen 2), Thunderbolt 3
  • HDMI
  • Card reader Micro SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet LAN 10/100/1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/x
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 3.5 mm combo
  • LTE card slot, SmartCard reader

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • IR face recognition (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)

What’s in the box?

Interestingly, the laptop comes with a 130W charger that has a USB Type-C connector. If e reckon correctly, this is only the second notebook that comes with a charger of this capacity, coming with a Type-C plug that we’ve tested, with the first being the Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1.

Design and construction

Dell Latitude 5501 is another device of the Latitude 5000 series that is made out of Carbon fiber with some percentage being recycled material. This results in a pretty lightweight laptop – only 1.85 kg for a 15-inch business laptop. In terms of thickness, the laptop is not the thinnest – 22 mm in the thinnest spot and 24.5 mm in the thickest. However, the Latitude 5501 is right and looks like it can withstand some beating.

On the downside, you cannot open the lid with a single hand. Stability-wise the large distance between the hinges makes the screen less prone to flex.

On the base, however, we were not very satisfied with the quality of the build. Mainly the area the keyboard is sitting at, as soon as you press slightly harder than you would normally do, the base starts to bend. Its keyboard, on the other way, is super comfortable for typing – the key travel is long, the feedback is clicky and it has a pretty bright backlight.

If you haven’t noticed already, the laptop has the Nipple of the Latitudes (not to be confused with the Red Nipple of the ThinkPads) and hence, the dedicated buttons above the touchpad. Thankfully, there are two on the bottom as well, while the touchpad is fast and accurate.

Taking a look at the bottom plate reveals pretty sizeable ventilation grills and the speakers themselves, while the hot air comes out of the left side of the laptop.

Ports

The I/O of the Latitude 5501 seems pretty similar to the one of the smaller Latitude 5400. On the left side, there is a barrel-style power plug, however, this very laptop is powered by the USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3) port that comes just after that. Additionally, there is a USB 3.1 (Gen. 1) and an optional Smart Card reader. Turn the laptop 180 degrees and you see a Gigabit Ethernet connector, an HDMI port, two more USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports, an audio jack, a MicroSD card reader and below that there is the SIM card slot.

Display quality

We’re currently evaluating the display quality of this device.

Drivers

You can get all drivers and utilities for this laptop from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/latitude-15-5501-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. Dell has put a 68Wh battery pack in this device.

CPU options

Dell Latitude 5501 is equipped with either the Core i5-9300H, the Core i5-9400H (vPro) or the Core i7-9880H (vPro), with the last one obviously being the flagship of the bunch.


GPU options

AS of the graphics options, there is the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 and if you need that extra graphics power, there is the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (the 25W version) with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.


Dell Latitude 5501 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Dell Latitude 5501 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell Latitude 5501 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


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.

0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Latitude 5501 (Core i5-9400H 3.58 GHz (B+43%) @ 98°C 3.26 GHz (B+30%) @ 98°C 2.91 GHz (B+16%) @ 98°C
Dell Latitude 15 5591 (Core i5-8400H) 3.35 GHz (B+34%) @ 75°C 3.26 GHz (B+30%) @ 97°C 2.92 GHz (B+17%) @ 82°C

The thermal management of this laptop is handled pretty much the same way as it was on its predecessor. However, the temperatures of the Latitude 5501 were significantly higher. And we are talking, red-hot – 98C on the cores throughout the entire test. Yes, the performance is on point, however, is it worth it to have such a warm processor, in order to get all of it?

Comfort during full load

Apparently, the situation on the outside is a little bit better. Of course, if you’re not a left-handed person.

Verdict

How did Dell downgrade with their Latitude 15 5591? We are afraid, that we can’t answer that question for you. Except for the performance figures, which it obviously managed to sustain, and the overall size of the device, we feel that the Latitude 5501 is not an upgrade by no means.

While its battery life was not bad – we got around 8 hours of web browsing and less than 7 hours of video playback, we should remind you that its predecessor was able to go for more than 11 hours of web browsing. And that, from the same capacity battery pack. Clearly, there is some weird optimization stuff going on there.

Let’s give some brighter context to this review. We really don’t think that the Latitude 5501 is worth its money from an upgrade perspective, but if you are new to the Latitude line-up this is really not a bad laptop. First, it has a great keyboard that has a reasonably long key travel, good feedback and a bright backlight behind it.

Moreover, its I/O is astonishing – you get a lot of ports and connectors, and interestingly, you charge the laptop via the USB Type-C connector, despite the inclusion of a dedicated barrel-style plug. By the way, the Type-C port is Thunderbolt 3-certified, which means you get all of the goodies that you’d expect from a Thunderbolt 3 port.

One last thing – is it worth to go for the H-series processors on this laptop or not? Well, you will clearly get some performance advantages in doing so, however, we measured sky-high internal temperatures on this laptop. In fact, they are significantly higher than those on the Latitude 15 5591, which comes with a similar chipset. So, what would that mean – it might be better to go for the ULV-equipped Dell Latitude 5500, or just go search for an HP EliteBook 1050 G1, which has a dual-fan cooling solution.

Pros

  • vPro Coffee Lake processors inside
  • Lightweight carbon fiber body
  • IPS display
  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • Optional IR face recognition and fingerprint reader

Cons

  • CPU gets extremely hot under heavy load
  • Battery life is a downgrade from its predecessor

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-5501/





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