Dell targets Microsoft Surface with 4K Latitude 12 tablet

Dell's Latitude 12 tablet will start at $1,000 for a model with a high-definition screen

With its new Latitude 12 7000, Dell believes it can offer a sexier, lighter and more feature-loaded tablet than Microsoft's Surface.

The standout feature in the Windows 10 tablet is an optional 12.5-inch screen that can display images at a 4K resolution. It's easy to question the need for a 4K resolution on such a small screen, but during a hands-on, the images looked amazingly sharp. The resolution could be a big deal for those who have a sharp eye for detail.

Along with Acer, Dell is an early top-five PC makers with a 4K tablet. The Latitude 12 7000 will offer roughly six to nine hours of battery life, with the displays on the 4K models dragging battery life down.

The starting price for the tablet has not yet been determined, but a base model could hover at around US$1,000 with a 1920 x 1080-pixel screen. The 4K version of the tablet could be priced much higher.

Another unique feature is the 3D camera, which could make Skype chats more fun. With the camera's abilities to recognize objects and measure distance, the tablet could also prove useful in real estate, design and other commercial applications. The front camera is 5-megapixels and the back camera is 8-megapixels.

The tablet is 8 millimeters thick and weighs about 730 grams. It was easy to hold and felt lighter than Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, which weighs 766 grams, and HP's Elite X2 1012, which weighs 816 grams.

The tablet has Intel Core M3, M5 or M7 processors, up to 512GB of storage and up to 8GB of memory. Two USB Type-C ports charge the tablet and provide connections to peripherals. A dongle can connect USB 3.0 peripherals to the smaller USB Type-C port.

Wireless features include 802.11ac and Bluetooth. An optional LTE feature is also available. A travel keyboard ships with the tablet.

The company also announced the Latitude 11 5000 tablet, which has a 10.8-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel screen. The device is thicker than the Latitude 12 7000 tablet because of a full-size USB 3.0 port, which is widely used in devices today. The tablet can be configured with Intel Core M3 or M5 processors, up to 512GB of storage and up to 8GB of RAM. Standard features include a USB Type-C port, 802.11ac Wi-Fi,  a 5-megapixel front camera and 8-megapixel back camera. The price was not immediately available.

Dell also refreshed its Latitude 5000 and 7000 series laptops with Intel's sixth-generation Core processors, code-named Skylake. The laptops are thinner than their predecessors, come with screens up to 2560 x 1600-pixels, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and USB 3.0 ports. The laptops do not have USB Type-C ports.

With external docks, the laptops can connect to multiple monitors, Thunderbolt 3.0 and external peripherals. A Dell dock also allows to connect to peripherals via WiGig, which offers faster wireless speed than Wi-Fi.

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