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Hands on ... Dell Latitude E7240 Ultrabook

What is it?

A high-performance hybrid of laptop and tablet.

How will it change my life? When it comes to computers, knowing what gizmos are the equivalent of Betamax and which are future-proof is half the battle.

The Latitude E7240 from Dell combines the mobility and simplicity of a tablet with the flexibility and power of a laptop. The razor-sharp touchscreen display makes browsing the internet a breeze and the calculating might of the i5-4300U processor ensures everything you can throw at it is handled with minimum fuss. The E7240 will be the benchmark business model all other devices will be set against for years to come.

Good points? The quality of components contained within the aesthetically pleasing shell is impressive; the whisper silent solid state hard drive provides instant access to any file, the integrated graphics adapter gives a feel of real depth on-screen with touchscreen devices and the processor speed negates any need for the usual coffee break while waiting for a spreadsheet to load.

Bad points? Although each component performs brilliantly, they are ultimately victims of the diminutive ultrabook's success. To enable a super slimline physique, Dell had to be creative with limited real estate within the chassis.

The model tested came with 4GB of RAM, which fails to utilise the full capability of the 64bit Windows 8 operating system. Looking closer at the solid state drive revealed another victim, the overall capacity of 128GB was diluted somewhat by a 16GB recovery partition, leaving 112GB for the OS and data. Other models provide better specifications at higher cost.

Best for? Companies utilising external file servers to host data that the E7240 would struggle to contain. All Office applications are executed the way they were meant to be run and allowed me to have multiple applications running in unison with no lag or performance degradation.

Video and file conversion can put real strain on most computers but the Latitude E7240 never faltered during these tests, making it ideal for media editing on the move or in the office. We even tried gaming for a more expansive stress test but again the ultrabook passed with flying colours.

If you are looking for a tablet alternative with a bit more bite or a laptop with less bulk then the Latitude E7240 Ultrabook is for you.

Avoid if … You need a device for storage as the Latitude's capacity leaves a lot to be desired. Compared with alternatives, the Latitude E7240 is obscenely expensive so small businesses may be better sticking to traditional mobile computing equipment.

Score 7/10, supreme computing power in a slim elegant package but with a hefty price tag.

l Dell Latitude E7240 Ultrabook, £789 (dell.co.uk)

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