Right until the purchase of the Apple MacBook Air M1 in early 2021, my Dell Latitude E5470 14″ had been the best laptop I’ve ever owned. I still use it on a daily basis, it is my main Windows 10 machine and I just love it. It sits on top of a docking station, on the right side of a Dell 27″ screen and on the left side is another dock with two computers: The MBAir M1 (that connects via USB-C), but also a Dell Latitude E7470 (which has its own 22″ monitor).
This E7470 only recently found its way into my home and possesion, where it substituted an aged E7440 that I sold to a client of mine. The E7440 already is a great machine, but the E7470 is even better.
Both E5470 and E7470 have the same CPU, the same RAM specs, both come with an LTE modem, they also score quite similar on Geekbench, but they are different. The E5470 is the middle business range, the E7470 the high-end executive business machine. Or so it was when it was released a few years ago. These machines with a 6th generation intel CPU aren’t expensive anymore, are often sold as refurbished computers, and certainly won’t attract many buyers anymore. But for nerds like me they are still good enough, because they come with an “E” in their name which indicates that they may be attached to a proper docking station. One that powers the laptop and lifts it from the desktop surface which helps the ventilation to keep the machine cool.
What I also like about my E5470 (and most other Latitudes) is that they have a function to bypass the constant charging of the battery (= accu). Whereas some Apple MacBooks will eventually quit with an overcharged or overheated, sometimes inflated battery (yes!!!), the battery on my E5470 still only has a low battery wear of 16,7% which is nothing for a 5 year old battery. Of course this deteriorates when you keep on charging it. But when it sits on the docking station – and it has done so for 95% of the time during the last 4 years – then the battery won’t be ruined. Quite an important feature especially when batteries aren’t removable anymore (or unless you unscrew the battery plate and disconnect it manually).
Now, when you do unscrew the bottom cover, you see these two different rechargeable Li-On batteries: One with 55Wh on the E7470 (which is also used on some E7270) and one with 62Wh on the E5470. 62 are better than 55.
So without any further introduction, the differences between the E5470 and the E7470 – apart from what is visible on the pictures – are:
- The E5470 comes with a bigger, better battery which obviously results in a better battery runtime.
- The E5470 comes with an extra VGA port.
- The placement of the USB ports is better on the E5470. One port on each side the way it should be!
- The surface on the E5470 (the palmrest) isn’t sticky as opposed to the one on my refurbished and cleaned E7470. Whoever is responsible for these materials on a laptop needs to find another job. Certainly nothing you would want to find on a business laptop that is supposed to run for 5 years (instead of 3 years on consumer laptops).
- While both keyboards are removable, swapping them on the E5470 is much easier AND also the keyboard bezel may be modified to fit QWERTZ instead of QWERTY keyboards only. On the E7470, one would have to modify the whole top cover which no one will probably do. So to get a QWERTZ keyboard on an E7470 with QWERTY, one would also need to buy another top cover frame. Not good.
- The top cover (palmrest) is also the main frame on the E7470, whereas the E5470 also comes with a middle frame. I prefer the E5470 framce, even though the “let’s screw everything against a top cover”-approach allows for a slimmer design on the E7470.
- The E7470 only fits an M2 SSD (2280, SATA or PCIE), but the E5470 also has enough room for a standard 2,5″ HDD/SSD. So that’s a huge plus for the E5470 if using standard drives is a requirement for you. These 2,5″ SSD are also cheaper than the ones in M2 form factor. And another reason I prefer 2,5″ SSD over SATA M2: They consume less energy.
- My E5470 weighs 1,9kg, my E7470 1,6kg. So the 7series is 300gr lighter. Not too bad.
- The metal frame on the E7470 is sexier and certainly it is the better machine for your mobile needs. The stickyness of the surface though…
- While the previous E5450 had the problem that it would switch off USB ports in the back while on the docking station (the laptop was designed to be that way), the E5470 doesn’t do that anymore. It’s a blessing being able to continue using all USB ports even while the laptop is on a docking station.
The E7470? Same. So that isn’t a difference between these two laptops, but a very welcome improvement that still needs to be mentioned.
- The loudspeakers: They look similar, but sound better on the E5470. I believe that this is due to the body mass of the E5470 which just has more room for the speakers to resonate.
- The BIOS battery. Whenever I refurbish older hardware, I almost always replace the thermal paste and also check the voltage on the BIOS battery. Anything below 3V is instantly replaced because at one point in the future the laptop won’t boot because of a weak BIOS battery. On the 7series (E7440, E7470 etc.), this battery is much easier to access. So that’s a huge plus for the E7470.
- The bottom cover on the E7470 is made out of an alloy, while the one on the E5470 is just some plastic part, coated with a metal film of whatever it’s supposed to be. It also comes with replaceable hooks, so the E7470 really is the better machine in this regard.
I am using the E7470 as my 2nd Win10 & Linux machine, as a side project for ham radio stuff or Linux things. It works fine and could maybe use a new battery. Also, I am glad that I was eventually able to compare both laptops and post the results on my blog (as I have done so in the past with previous Dell Latitude laptops).
My next Windows laptop? I don’t know. At the moment, I don’t feel the urge to upgrade to anything better. I don’t want Win11 and I am not convinced of the performance increase of all Latitude successors (e.g. 5480, 5490, 5400, 5410, 5420) so far. Maybe with an intel 12th gen or an AMD Ryzen CPU things could become interesting. I even thought about using a Dell Optiplex (desktop) PC instead. But these things also consume more energy and the performance increase isn’t that significant. So I’ll probably stick to both Dell Latitudes and continue using them.
My verdict: The E5470 is better than the E7470.
Apart from that, the 2020 M1 MBAir is still the best (THE BEST) laptop I’ve ever bought in my life. Also, it is my first new laptop since 1999. It is also against this background that any other Windows laptop would have to compete with the user and hardware experience I am having with the MBAir M1. I don’t need new computers though, and I am glad if my Latitudes just keep on delivering for a few more years.