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Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged – Honest Review

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged Review: Powerful on the Inside, Stronger on the Outside


How would you feel like choosing a briefcase like a laptop? Normally you would not feel so good about choosing a very weird looking heavy device like Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged but if the laptop is packed with power, you might feel different about it. Dell has produced a number of premium laptops for normal users. Dell has not kept itself from producing rugged laptops either. Apparently, rugged laptops like Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged are manufactured mostly keeping in mind the adventurer consumers. If you travel more often and work in the field a lot, this could be the one for you.

Dell Latitude 5420 rugged is one of the bulkiest laptops in the Latitude series from Dell which can withstand extreme conditions. Latitude 5420 Rugged is not just about the sturdy exterior, it features the one the best displays along with other great specs. Dell has not ignored the importance of a larger battery for such a heavy laptop. If you can compromise on the exterior, you might go for this laptop. To make a choice we must look at all of its specs and features. Let’s dig a little deeper to see if this is the laptop you can rely on.


Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

The most obvious thing in its design is the handle. The base of the laptop features this handle to make it easy for the user to carry it around. Its design strikes as the design of a small briefcase. What more may excite you about its design is that it is exactly like a military grade laptop which you might have seen in some action movie if not seen one in real life. You will find the obvious screws which hold this laptop together. Corners of the lid are covered with more elegant patches of magnesium alloy material to prevent any damage in harsh conditions. Dell has put a lot of thought into making this laptop more and more durable. The bezels are thick enough to protect the display. It will not be appropriate to say that this sturdy exterior is immune to destruction but it is quite clear that it will take a lot more force to harm its exterior even a little bit.

Weight & Dimensions

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged weighs 6.2 pounds with dimensions of 13.7 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches. It is a 14-inch laptop but its weight makes it difficult to carry it around in a smaller backpack. The hinge mechanism is traditional but a lot stronger to support a comparatively heavy lid. A “Dell” logo is crafted on the hard plastic back side of the lid.

Fingerprint & Camera

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

Latitude 5420 Rugged also features an optional fingerprint reader and IR camera for added security. The fingerprint reader sits below the keyboard on the right side. A cover or shutter on the webcam makes sure that you are safe from monitoring through your webcam. The quality of the webcam is just fine for video calling. A lock slot makes sure that the laptop is secure physically.  You will spot the power button on the top right side of the keyboard. SmartCard security for secure and fast authorization is also optional.

Ports & Slots

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

All the ports of the laptop come with covers to protect them from water and dust. You will find 2 USB 3 Type-A ports on the left side along with a headphone jack. There is also a Thunderbolt 3 port on the left side. There is one more USB 3.0 port on the right side. You will spot an SD card reader and a SIM card slot under one cover on the right side. This laptop also features a removable SATA storage bay. The rear side of the laptop is also full of ports. You will find a Charging slot that has no protective cover, an HDMI port, a display port, and 2 Ethernet ports on the rear side. One of the Ethernet port is optional. A lock slot and a serial RS-232 port also exist on the rear side.


Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

The durability of this machine is definitely great. Sturdy chassis of this laptop makes sure that a normal force will do no harm to it. It is dust resistant and it can also survive water flow to some extent. Military grade durability of Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged is amazing. It can survive a 3 feet harsh drop. It definitely can withstand the extreme low and high temperatures and vibrations.


The display of Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged is just perfect. It sure has thick bezels but you will hardly focus on them while enjoying its amazing display. The main reason behind its brighter display is that Dell has designed it mostly for outdoor use. So the brighter display makes sure that you can easily see every tiny detail on the screen even in the sunlight. The colors are vibrant enough to enjoy videos and movies.

The touch screen is optional and you certainly can enjoy the use of a stylus on the touch screen. You may face some issues with the stylus while using it on the touch screen occasionally when you will be unable to click on the screen. This is not a big problem though as it only happens sometimes when the item or an icon on the screen is slightly smaller. However, the highlight of this display is its brightness which is much brighter than the displays on its competitor laptops. My overall experience with the display was amazing.

Touchpad and Keyboard

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

The touchpad of Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged is large enough with the dimensions of 3.8 x 2.1 inches. Right, and the left click button is also there below the touchpad. The surface of the touchpad is smooth and responsive. The touchpad does not lack the Windows’ precision pad multi-touch commands and gestures. With all the other slightly old school features, it was a surprise to me that there is no pointing stick in this laptop.

The keyboard on this laptop is amazing too. Key travel is 1.5 mm and key are backlit. Square-shaped keys with round corners are smooth enough. The typing experience is somewhat great. You can easily rest your palms on the deck while typing. If you move your hands a lot while typing, you might feel a little weird if you hit the handle attached to the base once in a while. But it is not that big a deal.

Audio and Graphics

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

This machine is not primarily for the entertainment purpose as it features only one speaker. Even the single speaker is loud enough to make a difference. Of course, the speaker is not that of high-quality. Still, you can enjoy music and movies. If you do not like the music on the default settings, you can adjust the audio settings through pre-installed MaxxAudioPro software by Dell.

When it comes to internal graphics of Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged, an AMD Radeon RX540 GPU is just enough to enjoy low-end gaming. You can also rely on this laptop for your basic graphics related work. The benchmark score reveals that this laptop has a more than average benchmark score than the other laptops in its category.

Performance and Battery Life

Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged

This particular model features an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU with 16GB RAM. You can expand the RAM to 32GB. The performance of Latitude 5420 Rugged is great. If you are doing multiple tasks on this laptop with a few apps running along with more than 2 dozen open tabs in the browser and streaming music or videos, Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged absolutely can take it. You will find no lag or graphics failure whatsoever. 512GB of SSD storage is amazing too. The speed of SSD is 508 MBs per second which is good enough.

The battery life is certainly the best feature of this laptop. As Dell has designed this laptop to survive in the field for a long time, they certainly did focus on its battery life too. The laptop also has an extra 3-cell battery which can swap in to get extra battery life. You can go through the whole day while using this laptop for work with the average brightness and Wi-Fi connectivity with nearly 10 hours of battery timing

Final Verdict

There is no doubt about the durability of Dell Latitude 5420 Rugged. You will not raise any question about its performance and battery life either. The display is also good enough. So the only debatable detail is its design. If you are an adventurer and take your laptop with you even when you go for a hike and spend days traveling, its design will not bother you, if anything this is the design you will love as it suits you according to your situation. However, if you are a normal user and mostly use your laptop in your home then this design might not strike you as the best one.

To be honest there is nothing wrong with its design but it will definitely look weird to have it on your working desk not matching to an elegant room setting. So you must be bold enough to choose such a laptop with a sturdy exterior. It comes at a great price too. It starts at $1,359 and the price will keep on increasing if you want to upgrade.

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