Sunday, February 09, 2020

Dell Latitude 7250 12.5" Laptop Computer Review

Ah, yes, reviewing 5 year old hardware.  But it's what I can scrounge and a batch seems to be on the market as refurbished models now - so here's the scoop.
First, I got it at Microcenter.  Easy, quick pickup, exceptionally helpful staff.  In, out, done, 15 minutes, cursory upsell on warranty. (No thanks on a $300 refurb with completely customer replaceable parts. )


Dual core, 4 thread Intel i5 5300U at 2.3 ghz. (Broadwell)
12.5" 1900/1080 FHD screen with 10 point touch.
Intel HD Graphics 5500, shared memory.
8GB ram installed in two banks of 4GB each
128GB SSD. 
Backlit 82 key keyboard, trackpad, two discrete buttons, supports multitouch.
Ports: USB2, USB3 (A-Style); Mini Display Port, full size HDMI port, GigE RJ45 port.
Battery in the refurb was in remarkably good condition!

The Bad

Booting up the first time, it behaves just as you'd expect Windows 10 to start up - load stuff, link to your Microsoft account, set PIN etc.  However, once booted, you could NOT get many of the Win10 Builtin apps (like the Microsoft app Store) to fire, at all.  8 hours troubleshooting, created extra local users accounts, refreshed the OS to new twice, ran a screen full of Powershell commands, no go.
So, after a full business day off fussing with it, I grabbed the Lenovo mini laptop and made a Win10 install USB stick.  Fired the Dell back up, hit 'F2' and simply moved USB boot above on board hard drive.  Formatted the 118 GB partition after it boot up from the USB drive and did a fresh install of Win 10.
Word to the wise - it will restart during installation. If you miss that, and still have the USB flash drive in there, it will start the install over, creating two installations of Win10 on your hard drive. Watch the install while it runs until you can remove the USB drive.

The Good

Once the fresh copy of Windows 10 was installed - and it activated all on it's own, not taking the product key on the bottom of the laptop (?) - it ran fine.  All apps ran as expected, was able to set up Your Phone, network, printers, network shares, Bluetooth (listening to Pink Floyd on Youtube over AKG Y50BT cans right now)  
I have never used a touchscreen laptop.  I find it (at least on the bitty 12" model) very nice to check boxes and tap OK buttons.  Faster and easier than waving the mouse around to find the pointer and hit the right button.
The screen is frelling brilliant.  Deep dark blacks, saturated colors, true FHD screen.  Exceptionally impressed with the screen.  Rivals my (same age) Retina MacBook Pro, although the MacBook does have a higher resolution.  Keyboard is well within tolerance - large key caps, backlit, good key feel when typing.  And that's from a guy who, for 22 years+ would not type on anything but an IBM Model M Buckling Spring Keyboard.

Speed, so how about speed?

It's a dual core i5 from 5 years ago.  It's not going to handle your 53mpxl RAW photos or 8K video editing.  Or much video editing at all (although I guarantee I'm going to load DaVinci Resolve on there just for the fun factor).
Loads Chrome, Firefox, Edge (legacy), Edge (chrome) all fine.  Updated to the latest version of Windows. WiFi was easy to connect, solid and quick.


Still TBD if this is an all-day laptop; initial reports showed a 4 hour battery life; I'm going to run it through a few conditioning cycles and see how the battery life holds out.  Overall, a steal. Brilliant hand feel from the textured polycarbonate case to the palm rest. Excellent screen, no problems with performance for office / school work or web and video surfing.  A 4 star Good Buy rating from me if you can find one.

(ObDisclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. All products mentioned should not be considered an endorsement, and were all paid out of pocket by me)

Enjoy your new laptop!

Will England

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