The E7440 has two pointing devices: The rubber-tipped pointed nub nestled in the middle of the keyboard that ThinkPads are famous for, and a multi-touch trackpad with two mouse buttons. I've never been wild about a pointing stick--it's like trying to drive a sports car using a tiny steering wheel. Those who master it love the ability to keep both hands over the keyboard's home row. Me, I still like a trackpad, and the one you get on the E7440 is great. It handles multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom with nearly perfect sensitivity, and it provides terrific palm rejection. My only beef: The trackpad can make the pointer a little grabby, occasionally snagging icons and things as I moved the pointer across the screen.
Too many Ultrabook designers drop important ports in pursuit of ever-thinner profiles. The E7440 offers nearly everything you could ask for in a laptop this size, including hardwired Ethernet, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, an SD card reader, and three USB 3.0 ports.
Many of these ports are located on the notebook's rear deck, which makes them a bit of a hassle to access. Dell outfits the E7440 with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter. But if you find yourself frequently deskbound, Dell includes a docking station port on the bottom of the computer. A combination VESA monitor stand and docking station is available for $225. You can further beef up the notebook's enterprise chops with a mobile broadband adapter, a Smart card slot, and a fingerprint scanner.
Performance and battery life
Powered by an Intel Core i5-4300U processor, 4GB of DDR3L/1600 memory, and a 256GB SSD, the Latitude E7440 ran smoothly and cranked through basic tasks just fine. Just don't expect it to rip through intense computational tasks like video rendering or playing AAA games-it's not designed for those workloads.
Still, its benchmark scores left me just a little disappointed. It finished well behind the aforementioned X1 Carbon Touch, which is powered by the same CPU; and a little behindHP's EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 , which runs on Intel's Core i5-4200U processor.
When the Latitude E7440's battery dies-our grueling battery-rundown test killed the one is this eval unit in just 4.5 hours-you can pull it out and slap in a fresh one. That's a rare attribute of modern Ultrabooks, and it's a good thing, because it took more than 4 hours to not-quite fully charge the original. Taking advantage of that feature means packing a second 10-ounce battery (or forgetting to pack, or packing it only to lose it in your travels). I'd much prefer to just have one battery that lasts a good, long time.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.