Dell Latitude 5501 review – a light but rigid business device

Dell states that its Latitude 5501 is the smallest 15-inch laptop meant for business. However, they also have a little, tiny disclaimer clarifying what they mean by that. Basically, Dell is talking about all of the 15-inch laptops that feature vPro support and are build before February 2019. Indeed, if you compare it to Lenovo ThinkPad P52, it is definitely smaller, however, we’re going to see if it can withstand the power of the 9th Generation Coffee Lake processors.

In fact, this is the main difference between the Latitude 5501 and the 5500 – the former uses H-series Intel CPUs, whereas the latter is equipped with the Whiskey Lake Intel ULV processors. By the way, we have already tested and compared their respective predecessors – the Latitude 15 5591 and Latitude 15 5590, so don’t hesitate to pay it a visit.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-5501/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Latitude 15 5501 - Specs

  • LG WJDPN-156WFC (LGD05E6)
  • Color accuracy  4.5  3.8
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 M.2 NVMe slot 
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home, No OS, Windows OS, Linux
  • Battery
  • 68Wh, 4-cell, 51Wh, 3-cell
  • Body material
  • Carbon
  • Dimensions
  • 359 x 236 x 21.9-24.5 mm (14.13" x 9.29" x 0.86")
  • Weight
  • 1.82 kg (4 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 3x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Thunderbolt 3
  • HDMI
  • Card reader
  • Micro SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10/100/1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/x
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 mm combo
  • LTE card slot, SmartCard reader
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • IR face recognition (optional), Fingerprint reader (optional)

What’s in the box?

Interestingly, the laptop comes with a 130W charger that has a USB Type-C connector. If e reckon correctly, this is only the second notebook that comes with a charger of this capacity, coming with a Type-C plug that we’ve tested, with the first being the Dell XPS 15 9575 2-in-1.


Design and construction

Dell Latitude 5501 is another device of the Latitude 5000 series that is made out of Carbon fiber with some percentage being recycled material. This results in a pretty lightweight laptop – only 1.85 kg for a 15-inch business laptop. In terms of thickness, the laptop is not the thinnest – 22 mm in the thinnest spot and 24.5 mm in the thickest. However, the Latitude 5501 is right and looks like it can withstand some beating.

On the downside, you cannot open the lid with a single hand. Stability-wise the large distance between the hinges makes the screen less prone to flex.

On the base, however, we were not very satisfied with the quality of the build. Mainly the area the keyboard is sitting at, as soon as you press slightly harder than you would normally do, the base starts to bend. Its keyboard, on the other way, is super comfortable for typing – the key travel is long, the feedback is clicky and it has a pretty bright backlight.

If you haven’t noticed already, the laptop has the Nipple of the Latitudes (not to be confused with the Red Nipple of the ThinkPads) and hence, the dedicated buttons above the touchpad. Thankfully, there are two on the bottom as well, while the touchpad is fast and accurate.

Taking a look at the bottom plate reveals pretty sizeable ventilation grills and the speakers themselves, while the hot air comes out of the left side of the laptop.

Ports

The I/O of the Latitude 5501 seems pretty similar to the one of the smaller Latitude 5400. On the left side, there is a barrel-style power plug, however, this very laptop is powered by the USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3) port that comes just after that. Additionally, there is a USB 3.1 (Gen. 1) and an optional Smart Card reader. Turn the laptop 180 degrees and you see a Gigabit Ethernet connector, an HDMI port, two more USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports, an audio jack, a MicroSD card reader and below that there is the SIM card slot.


Disassembly and upgrade options

Dell Latitude 5501’s bottom plate is held in place by only 8 Phillips-head screws. Moreover, they stay in place after you unscrew them – something familiar within the Latitude series.

It cools its processor via a single but very thick heat pipe. Additionally, the fan itself has a pretty large diameter, so you shouldn’t really worry about the thermals of the Latitude 5501… should you?

So, what can you actually upgrade on this device? Well, you have pretty much all you need – two RAM DIMMs for up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory, as well as an M.2 NVMe-enabled slot and a 2.5″ SATA drive connector.

Battery-wise, this thing packs a whopping 68Wh unit – something we really like to see on business devices.


Display quality

Dell Latitude 5501 is equipped with an IPS panel, model number LG WJDPN-156WFC (LGD05E6). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 234 nits in the middle of the screen and 229 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 10%, in the bottom right corner The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6620K – slightly colder, almost matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 6490K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

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. The contrast ratio is fine – 1270:1.

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 in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. 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 5501’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers only 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 5501 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 = 20 ms.


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.

Thankfully, Dell Latitude 5501’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels at any point. This makes it comfortable for long work periods, without harming your eyes in this aspect.

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.

Conclusion

Dell Latitude 5501’s IPS display has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and adequate default settings. Additionally, its backlight doesn’t flicker, but on the downside, it covers a modest amount of sRGB colors.

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 5501 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS LG WJDPN-156WFC (LGD05E6).

*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 5501 has a relatively good quality sound. Its low frequencies have some deviations in clarity, while the mids and highs are clear.


Drivers

You can get all drivers and utilities for this laptop from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/latitude-15-5501-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. Dell has put a 68Wh battery pack in this device.

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

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


CPU options

Dell Latitude 5501 is equipped with either the Core i5-9300H, the Core i5-9400H (vPro) or the Core i7-9880H (vPro), with the last one obviously being the flagship of the bunch.

Dell Latitude 15 5501 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Dell Latitude 15 5501 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell Latitude 15 5501 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.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU options

AS of the graphics options, there is the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 and if you need that extra graphics power, there is the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (the 25W version) with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.

Dell Latitude 15 5501 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the Dell Latitude 15 5501 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell Latitude 15 5501 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.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


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.

0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Latitude 5501 (Core i5-9400H 3.58 GHz (B+43%) @ 98°C 3.26 GHz (B+30%) @ 98°C 2.91 GHz (B+16%) @ 98°C
Dell Latitude 15 5591 (Core i5-8400H) 3.35 GHz (B+34%) @ 75°C 3.26 GHz (B+30%) @ 97°C 2.92 GHz (B+17%) @ 82°C

The thermal management of this laptop is handled pretty much the same way as it was on its predecessor. However, the temperatures of the Latitude 5501 were significantly higher. And we are talking, red-hot – 98C on the cores throughout the entire test. Yes, the performance is on point, however, is it worth it to have such a warm processor, in order to get all of it?

Comfort during full load

Apparently, the situation on the outside is a little bit better. Of course, if you’re not a left-handed person.


Verdict

How did Dell downgrade with their Latitude 15 5591? We are afraid, that we can’t answer that question for you. Except for the performance figures, which it obviously managed to sustain, and the overall size of the device, we feel that the Latitude 5501 is not an upgrade by no means.

While its battery life was not bad – we got around 8 hours of web browsing and less than 7 hours of video playback, we should remind you that its predecessor was able to go for more than 11 hours of web browsing. And that, from the same capacity battery pack. Clearly, there is some weird optimization stuff going on there.

Let’s give some brighter context to this review. We really don’t think that the Latitude 5501 is worth its money from an upgrade perspective, but if you are new to the Latitude line-up this is really not a bad laptop. First, it has a great keyboard that has a reasonably long key travel, good feedback and a bright backlight behind it.

Speaking of backlights, the Latitude 5501’s IPS panel (LG WJDPN-156WFC (LGD05E6)) backlight doesn’t use PWM to adjust the brightness level of its screen. Additionally, it has a great contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles. Sadly, it covers only 53% of sRGB and the colors it produces are not the most accurate, so the laptop won’t be very suitable for Web designers.

Moreover, its I/O is astonishing – you get a lot of ports and connectors, and interestingly, you charge the laptop via the USB Type-C connector, despite the inclusion of a dedicated barrel-style plug. By the way, the Type-C port is Thunderbolt 3-certified, which means you get all of the goodies that you’d expect from a Thunderbolt 3 port.

One last thing – is it worth to go for the H-series processors on this laptop or not? Well, you will clearly get some performance advantages in doing so, however, we measured sky-high internal temperatures on this laptop. In fact, they are significantly higher than those on the Latitude 15 5591, which comes with a similar chipset. So, what would that mean – it might be better to go for the ULV-equipped Dell Latitude 5500, or just go search for an HP EliteBook 1050 G1, which has a dual-fan cooling solution.

Pros

  • vPro Coffee Lake processors inside
  • Lightweight carbon fiber body
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust screen brightness (LG WJDPN-156WFC (LGD05E6))
  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • Optional IR face recognition and fingerprint reader


Cons

  • CPU gets extremely hot under heavy load
  • Covers only 53% of sRGB (LG WJDPN-156WFC (LGD05E6))
  • Battery life is a downgrade from its predecessor

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-latitude-5501/

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helen
helen
2 years ago

Absolutely love the laptop, but mobo died a month after purchase.