Dell Precision 5470 Workstation Review: Mobile Workstation Power

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Positives

  • Strong, slim and lightweight design
  • strong performance
  • Bright color screen
  • 4 Thunderbolt / USB-C

Negatives

  • expensive
  • Modest battery life
  • FHD+ resolution (1920 x 1200)
  • 720p webcam

Dell Precision Mobile Workstations include a number of high-end 17″ laptops that deliver impressive performance, but their limited size, weight and battery life mean they’re less than ideal for working on the go.

In contrast, 14 inches Resolution 5470 Aiming to provide a more portable option, Dell claims it’s “the world’s thinnest and lightest 14-inch workstation”. In fact, at 1.48 kg, the Precision 5470 is only slightly heavier than the recently upgraded Apple device. MacBook Pro 13 inch (1.4 kg), but it beats the M2 MacBook Pro in terms of raw performance. This lightweight design comes at a heavy price, especially for the Core i7-based model reviewed here, and Dell is also making some cost-cutting decisions that are disappointing for a laptop in this price range.

Dell Precision 5470 . Workstation

Dell Precision 5470: 14:10 display (FHD+ or QHD+), 12th generation Intel Core processors (Core i5, i7, or i9), up to 64GB of RAM and up to 4TB of SSD storage. All in a MIL-STD-810H tested chassis and weighs 1.48 kg (3.26 lb).

Photo: Cliff Joseph/ZDNET

Design Features

The manufacturing quality of the Precision 5470 is impeccable. The laptop measures 19mm along the back edge, tapering to 11mm at the front, 310mm wide and 210mm deep. Its aluminum casing is light and durableMIL-STD-810H tested), and well suited for life on the road. The keyboard and trackpad feel stable and responsive, the keys shift well when typing quickly, and there’s a soft carbon fiber kickstand on the front of the keyboard.

Dell Precision 5470 Workstation: Keyboard

The backlit keyboard, surrounded by speaker grilles, provides a comfortable typing experience.

Photo: Cliff Joseph/ZDNET

However, there are signs of compromise. The FHD+ (1920 x 1200) (161.7 ppi) screen offers a 16:10 aspect ratio and the slim bezels give it a smart, compact look with a 91% screen-to-body ratio. The screen also delivers a brightness of 500 nits, producing a bold and colorful picture with viewing angles of up to 180 degrees.

However, this resolution is too modest for a laptop that costs more than $2,500, and it’s disappointing that you’ll have to pay an extra $200 to upgrade to QHD+ (2560 x 1600) resolution. The monitor only supports the sRGB color standard as well, which should be fine for basic graphics and photo editing work, but will disappoint creative users who need a more precisely calibrated display for graphics or video work.

And while the stereo speaker system – with two tweeters and a subwoofer – sounds quite full, the 720p webcam is disappointing, even though it supports infrared Face authentication in Windows Hello. The webcam performs well in low light, but the slightly grainy image reveals a low resolution so it wouldn’t be ideal for video calls or remote work.

Dell Precision 5470 Workstation: Ports

Left side (top): 3.5mm audio input/output, 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C (1x Power Delivery), optional smart card reader. Right side (above): MicroSD card reader, 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C (1x Power Delivery), lock slot.

Photo: Cliff Joseph/ZDNET

Although the Precision 5470 is well connected, it features Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax at 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) and Bluetooth 5.2, along with four Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4 ports with DisplayPort support. There is also a 3.5mm jack for audio in and out, and a MicroSD card slot. There are no HDMI or USB-A ports, so you’ll need to provide your own adapters for older displays or peripherals that use those connectors.

Prices and options

The Dell website currently offers a number of pre-made configurations of the Precision 5470, all with the same 14-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) monitor. Dell prices fluctuate a bit from day to day, but at the time of writing, prices in the US start at $1,659 for the entry-level configuration with the 12th Gen. Core i5-12500H Integrated Iris Xe processor and graphics, along with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid storage. Oddly enough, UK pricing for this model is much higher at £2,928.59 (as VAT).

We tested the Core i7 model, which costs $2,679 in the US with 12th generation Core i7-12800H Healer. It’s a 14-core processor, featuring six high-performance cores that can operate at up to 4.8GHz, along with eight “efficient” cores to preserve battery life for less demanding tasks. This price also includes 32 GB of RAM, a 512 GB discrete SSD NVIDIA RTX A1000 Graphics with 4GB dedicated video memory. The UK pays a premium here too, as this configuration weighs in at £3,666.48 (as VAT).

If you dig a little deeper, Dell’s US site also includes a file ‘build your own’ option Includes a number of additional upgrades (from the Core i7 model), including Core i9-12900H Processor for $325.05 and 14-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) touchscreen (215.6 ppi) for $257.71.

Also worth noting is another 14-inch laptop available in Dell’s resolution range, called Resolution 3470. This has a very similar design and specs to the Precision 5470 reviewed here, although its graphics capabilities are more modest, and it relies on integrated graphics, and an FHD+ display with just 250 nits of brightness. At the time of writing, the Precision 3470 starts at $1,479 for a Core i5-1250P Model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage.

performance

It’s not quite in the same league as its 17-inch stablemates, but the Precision 5470 delivers solid performance that will appeal to many professional and creative users.

The M2 processor in Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro scored 1900 points for single-core performance in Geekbench 5 CPU test, slightly ahead of the Precision 5470’s score of 1,700. However, the Dell laptop turns the tables with its multi-core performance, scoring 11,000 compared to 8986 for the M2 MacBook Pro. It’s way ahead of Geekbench’s Compute graphics performance test, scoring 51,700 while only running the MacBook Pro 30180.

This graphic performance is confirmed upon playback 3DMark Wildlife ExtremeThe MacBook Pro records 30 fps while the Precision 5470 comfortably settles at 40 fps. To be fair, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is about $2,000 less expensive, but the MacBook Pro also includes a 2560 x 1600 display at no extra cost, and offers battery life that the Precision 5470 can’t match.

In fact, Dell does its best to avoid the battery life topic, but in our battery test, the Precision 5470 lasted 7 hours 22 minutes when streaming video in full screen from BBC iPlayer using the built-in Iris Xe Graphics and with screen brightness set to 50% . If you don’t use wi-fi all day, you should certainly be able to get a full day’s work out of the Precision 5470, but that’s still close to the 19 hours 56 minutes we got from the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Conclusions

The Precision 5470 has an attractive slim and lightweight design and will appeal to professional users who need a laptop powerful and portable enough for long trips or when working outdoors.

However, the Precision 5470 probably puts too much emphasis on portability, leaving room for improvement elsewhere. Battery life is relatively modest, even when using integrated graphics, and the FHD+ display and 720p webcam are disappointing compared to what many of its competitors offer in this price range.


Dell Precision 5470 Workstation Specifications

Healer Intel Core i5-12500H, Core i5-12600H, Core i7-12700H, Core i7-12800H, Core i9-12900HK, Core i9-12900H
The operating system Windows 11 (Home, Pro), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.6, Ubuntu Linux 20.04
RAM 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB (LPDDR5)
storage 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB (M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD)
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics (integrated), 4GB Nvidia RTX A1000 (discrete)
Show 14-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) anti-glare, non-touch,
100% sRGB, 500 nits • QHD+ (2560 x 1600) 60 Hz, anti-reflective, touchscreen, 100% sRGB, 500 nits, active stylus support
ports 4 ThunderBolt 4 / USB-C Ports with Power Delivery and
DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio input/output; Also comes with USB-A and HDMI dongle
slots MicroSD card slot, lock slot, smart card reader (optional)
camera 720p @ 30 fps, HD IR Camera with ALS Sensor
My voice 4x 2W Speakers, 2x Microphone
WIFI Intel AX211 Wi-Fi 6E (WiFi 802.11ax, 2.4/5/6GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2
battery 4 cells, 72 watts per hour
The battery is charging 90 watts (integrated GPU), 130 watts (discrete GPU)
protection TPM 2.0, SmartCard/ControlVault 3 (optional), fingerprint reader (built into power button)
Dimensions 310.60 mm x 210.30 mm x 11.09 mm – 18.95 mm (12.22″ x 8.27″ x 0.43″ – 0.74″)
Weight 1.48 kg (3.26 lb)
price From $1,659 / £2,928.59 (ex. VAT)

Alternatives to consider

A number of 14-inch laptops are now aiming to deliver workstation performance levels, with Apple’s MacBook Pro range setting the standard for battery life. But if battery life isn’t a top priority, there are larger 16-inch and 17-inch laptops that can rival traditional desktop workstations.

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