Dell Latitude 15 3520 review – life in plastic, it’s budgetastic

Dell might be suffering the consequence of lack of innovation across its Inspiron lineup, but the Latitude sits ever so strong in the business market. This is mainly to the necessity of stability and security in the branch, and people see the Latitude brand as such.

And what are the best-sellers in pretty much every segment of the market? Exactly – affordable devices. The Latitude 15 3520 is one of them, and its simplistic design, combined with Dell’s security enhancements might attract a lot of customers. Especially since you can now find the laptop equipped with Tiger Lake-U processors.

In terms of display options, it is a bit disappointing that Dell still offers a 768p TN panel as a default. It is strongly advisable that you stay away from it, and go for the IPS variant. We got the non-touch option, and it is a pretty budget-friendly offering, as you will see later on.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-15-3520-intel-11th-gen/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) - Specs

  • VNCT2-156DL02 (NCP0057)
  • Color accuracy  4.9  3.6
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home
  • Battery
  • 54Wh, 4-cell, 53Wh, 4-cell, 54Wh, 3-cell, 54Wh, 4-cell, 41Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 361 x 240.9 x 18 mm (14.21" x 9.48" x 0.71")
  • Weight
  • 1.79 kg (3.9 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 1.4a
  • Card reader
  • microSD (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W, Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Wedge Lock Slot

All Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

Besides the laptop, the packaging here includes only some paper manuals, and a 65W charger.


Design and construction

As we said, the Latitude 15 3520 boasts a simplistic design. It is entirely made out of plastic, which is matte and grippy on the top, base, and bottom covers, while the sides are glossy. Structurally, the laptop is not very strong. Unfortunately, there is some flex pretty much everywhere. Interestingly, the lid is tougher than the base in this aspect. It is also rather thin at 18.06mm and weighs 1.79 kg.

Unfortunately, the lid can’t be opened with a single hand. However, this is something pretty common in this price range. On the other hand, the bezels are generally thin. Also, the top one houses an HD camera with a privacy shutter, and an optional IR face recognition scanner.

Speaking of scanners, there is an optional fingerprint reader, embedded onto the power button. The rest of the keyboard features a NumberPad section, and a backlight, that also comes as an option. So, the comfort here is not really great. Although the feedback is clicky, we feel that the travel is a bit on the short side. Especially, when you compare it to its archnemesis – the ThinkPad.

And although the texture of the touchpad isn’t the smoothest of them all, we definitely find it not bad. Mainly thanks to its big size.

If you turn the laptop upside down, you will find the speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grill, which is large. And on the back, there is an exhaust vent.

Ports

On the left side, there is the charging plug, an HDMI 1.4 connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2×2) port. Then, on the right you get a wedge-shaped security slot, an RJ-45 connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a USB Type-A 2.0 port, an audio jack, a MicroSD card slot, and an optional SIM card tray.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

There are 9 captive Phillips-head screws that you need to undo before you pry this laptop’s bottom panel. After that, remove it from the chassis.

Here, you get two battery options. There is a 3-cell 41Wh unit, as well as a 4-cell 54Wh one.

In terms of memory, there are two SODIMM slots, which support up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM in total, according to Dell. And for the storage, you get one M.2 slot that fits either 30mm or 82mm drives. Additionally, if you get the smaller battery option, you can fit a 2.5-inch SATA device.

Cooling-wise, there are two heat pipes, a heat sink, and a fan. Also, there is a small heat spreader over some VRMs.


Display quality

Dell Latitude 15 3520 comes with a Full HD IPS panel, model number Panda VNCT2-156DL02 (NCP0057). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 142 ppi, their pitch – 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

The viewing angles are good. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 348 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 321 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6610K (average) – almost matching the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 40% Brightness (White level = 142 cd/m2, Black level = 0.15 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 960:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Dell Latitude 15 3520’s color gamut coverage.

Its display is limited just to 53% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell Latitude 15 3520 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 28 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Dell Latitude 15 3520’s display backlight uses PWM up to 89 nits. This makes it generally comfortable. However, more sensitive users might notice the flickerings at lower brightness. Thankfully, our Health-Guard profile eliminates this issue entirely.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell Latitude 15 3520 configurations with 15.6″ Panda VNCT2-156DL02 (NCP0057) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

Dell Latitude 15 3520’s speakers produce a sound of very good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/latitude-15-3520-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Here, the larger 54Wh battery pack delivers 12 hours and 51 minutes of Web browsing, and 9 hours and 8 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

According to Dell’s specs sheet, this device can be found with a Celeron 6305U, Core i3-1005G1, Core i3-1115G4, Core i3-1125G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i5-1145G7, and Core i7-1165G7 – quite the choice you have here.

Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

In addition to the integrated graphics, all of the aforementioned processors offer, there is the dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX450 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.

Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell Latitude 15 3520 (Intel 11th Gen) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 49 fps 40 fps 16 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 65 fps 38 fps 22 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-1145G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Latitude 15 3520 2.85 GHz @ 92°C @ 28W 2.51 GHz @ 92°C @ 23W 2.56 GHz @ 92°C @ 24W
Dell Latitude 13 5320 3.23 GHz @ 74°C @ 34W 2.65 GHz @ 99°C @ 24W 1.98 GHz @ 67°C @ 13W

Interestingly, even when the Performance mode is applied from BIOS, the processor can’t seem to pass the 3.00 GHz mark under extreme load. Thankfully, it maintains a relatively high frequency after long periods of time.

Comfort during full load

Although the fan can be heard clearly during extreme scenarios, it is not too loud. On the other hand, the middle of the keyboard warms up a bit.


Verdict

So who is this laptop aimed at? Is it the business person that needs a secure laptop, or is it for companies, that are going to buy it in bulk? Well, we feel like it is the latter. And this is because of one thing in particular. While its simplistic design is visually appealing, the build quality is just not there. The base cracks and squeaks every time you twist it, which is definitely not a sign of attention to detail and structural rigidity.

Dell Latitude 15 3520’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. Unfortunately, it covers only 53% of the sRGB color gamut, and it uses relatively low-frequency PWM up to 89 nits. Thankfully, the more sensitive users can take advantage of our Health-Guard profile, which completely eliminates the issue.

Apart from that, there are some pretty sweet features like the wide I/O, which may not include a Thunderbolt 4 connection, but offers a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2×2). This provides a 20Gbps speed, which is twice as fast as the USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. Plus, the story on the inside is similar with two SODIMM memory slots, and an M.2 PCIe x4 slot for storage.

In terms of battery life, you get almost 13 hours of Web browsing and just over 9 hours of video playback. And while the performance is not top-notch, this makes the laptop ideal for work.

After all, it was intended for that in the first place. Once again, we doubt that any of you reading this review will be purchasing this device, but if your company happens to give it to you as a workhorse, don’t ask for another one – it is snappy, it is secure, and it can do the job for the near future.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-15-3520-intel-11th-gen/

Pros

  • Great upgradability
  • Good battery life
  • MicroSD card slot and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2×2)
  • Optional fingerprint reader and IR face recognition


Cons

  • Uses PWM below 89 nits (our Health-Guard profile fixes that)
  • Not a very rigid structure
  • Covers only half of the colors in the sRGB gamut

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