Want something a bit better suited to desktop-replacement duty than your average 14-inch business laptop, but more portable than the usual 15.6-inch notebook? The Dell Latitude 9520 (starts at $1,989; $2,803 as tested) splits the difference with a 15.0-inch display and gives you a choice of conventional clamshell or the touch-screen convertible design seen here. It's a bit too expensive and specialized to compete for Editors' Choice honors, but it fills an intriguing niche as a mostly-deskbound-but-movable enterprise platform.

A Corporate Contender

The $1,989 base model of the Latitude 9520 is a Core i5 clamshell with 8GB of RAM, a skimpy 128GB solid-state drive, and a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) non-touch screen. A 4K (3,840-by-2,160) non-touch panel is an option, as are SSDs up to 1TB.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

For $2,803, our 2-in-1 convertible test unit features a Core i7-1185G7 processor with Intel's vPro management technology and Iris Xe integrated graphics; 16GB of RAM; a 512GB solid-state drive; a 1080p touch screen rated at 400 nits of brightness; and a larger (88- versus 49-watt-hour) battery. Windows 11 Pro is standard, as are three years of Dell's ProSupport with next-business-day on-site service. The $2,803 price is the out-the-door price for a single-unit buy. It may sound high for the specs, but as with most business laptops, Latitude pricing varies widely between one-off buys and corporate fleet purchases with volume discounts.

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At 3.3 pounds, the aluminum-clad 9520 2-in-1 is over the line to qualify as an ultraportable but nonetheless quite easy to carry; we've seen 13.3-inch convertibles that weigh as much as this 15-inch model. The Dell measures 0.71 by 13.4 by 8.5 inches, bulkier than the 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (0.59 by 12.3 by 8.8 inches) but considerably trimmer than the 15.6-inch HP Envy x360 15 (0.72 by 14.1 by 9 inches).

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The screen bezels are thin but make room for a face-recognition webcam above the display. A fingerprint reader built into the power button is available if you want a second biometric option. (You may not use the power button much, since like a growing number of laptops the 9520 switches on when you open its lid.) Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth are standard, but if travel often takes you away from hotspots the Latitude can be configured with 4G or 5G mobile broadband.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Dell Latitude 9520 2-in-1 Review

Two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports join an HDMI video output and a microSD card slot on the laptop's left side. The AC adapter has a USB-C connector. You'll find a USB 3.2 Type-A port, an audio jack, and a security lock slot on the right edge.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

You Can Take It With You

A 3.3-pound convertible is unwieldy in tablet mode, but the Latitude 9520 2-in-1 transitions among laptop, tent, kiosk, and tablet modes smoothly. Two sturdy hinges keep the screen from wobbling when tapped in laptop mode. If you're into scribbling and sketching, Dell offers an AAAA-battery-powered active pen that supports tilt and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity for $79.99.

The 1080p display offers good contrast and wide viewing angles. Brightness is fine as long as you stick to the top couple of backlight settings, though I was never tempted to turn it down from max as I am with the sunniest screens. White backgrounds are snowy instead of dingy, and colors are rich and well saturated, though they don't pop like poster paints. Fine details are reasonably sharp, if not exceptional.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

In a thoughtful touch, Dell assigned one of the top-row function keys to disable the webcam as well as one to mute the microphone. The camera has the usual, minimal 720p resolution but captures reasonably well-lit and colorful images with little noise or static. Speakers flanking the keyboard produce loud and crisp sound without booming or distortion even at top volume; there's not much bass, but it's easy to make out overlapping tracks.

The backlit keyboard has dedicated Home and End keys on the top row, though Page Up and Page Down require pairing the Fn key with the cursor up and down arrows. The latter follow the unfortunate arrangement of HP laptops as hard-to-hit, half-height keys stacked between full-size left and right arrows. Otherwise, the keyboard has a fairly comfortable, if slightly wooden, typing feel. A buttonless touchpad taps and glides smoothly.

(Photo: Molly Flores)

Dell Optimizer software does what the name suggests: optimizes audio and network traffic for videoconferencing, as well as offering settings adjustments like using the webcam as a proximity sensor to sleep and wake the system as you walk away and return. Other utilities handle software and driver updates and squeeze the max from the battery.

Testing the Latitude 9520 2-in-1: A Processor Puzzle

Finding benchmark comparison systems for the Latitude 9520 2-in-1 was a little tricky—we haven't seen any other 15-inch business convertibles, and haven't run our new test regimen on perhaps the closest 14-inch competitor, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. So we included the ultralight ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, which has a 13.5-inch display with 3:2 aspect ratio.

To complete the charts, we chose three clamshell laptops—the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 and two 14-inch business favorites, the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. You can see their basic specs in the table below.

Productivity Tests

The main benchmark of UL's PCMark 10 simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content-creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10's Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a laptop's storage.

Three further benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC's suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon's Cinebench R23 uses that company's Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs' Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).

Our final productivity test is Puget Systems' PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe's famous image editor to rate a PC's performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It's an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.

We weren't wowed by the Latitude's performance here. Though we always run our benchmarks on AC power with Windows' power profile set to best performance, Windows Settings' system information tab said the Core i7-1185G7 CPU was running at 1.8GHz instead of its usual 3.0GHz, yielding results more like a Core i5 in some tests but scoring as expected in others.

The 9520 2-in-1 underwhelmed in PCMark 10 (though all five laptops cleared the 4,000 points that indicate perfectly fine productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Workspace) and Photoshop. It posted a solid score in Geekbench, but trailed in Handbrake and Cinebench, where the Surface Laptop's eight-core Ryzen 7 dominated.

Graphics Tests

We test Windows PCs' graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL's 3DMark, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).

We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests, rendered offscreen to accommodate different display resolutions, exercise graphics and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.

While the Microsoft machine's AMD chip starred in our CPU tests, it sank to the bottom in these benchmarks. Actually, all five systems' integrated graphics are weak compared to the dedicated GPUs of real gaming rigs; these productivity laptops are strictly for casual or browser-based games or streaming video rather than shoot-em-ups.

Battery and Display Tests

We test laptops' battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100%. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.

We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure a laptop screen's color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).

The Latitude showed admirable battery life and adequate color fidelity and brightness, though none of these general-purpose displays ranks with the best digital content creation or mobile workstation screens.

A Bit Offbeat for the Office

We'd like the Latitude 9520 2-in-1 a lot more if it cost $500 less, or if there were a 4K screen option for the convertible model. As is, it reminds us of other Latitude 9000 models that make us lean toward Dell's XPS series—it falls sort of awkwardly between 14-inch business laptops that are lighter (2.5 pounds or less) and 15.6- and 16-inch desktop replacements that offer faster performance or OLED displays or other deluxe features. It'll hit the sweet spot for some buyers, but most of the rest will be satisfied with less-expensive 14-inchers in the Latitude 7000 series, of which the Latitude 7420 is our current top pick.

Dell Latitude 9520 2-in-1

3.5See It$1,989.00 at DellStarts at $1,989.00ProsView MoreConsThe Bottom Line

As 16:10 aspect ratio displays proliferate, Dell's Latitude 9520 2-in-1 sticks with 16:9 but shrinks it to 15 inches to make a more portable business laptop.

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