Dell’s thinnest Latitude brings video call control to the touchpad

Dell’s thinnest Latitude brings video call control to the touchpad

Dell's thinnest Latitude brings video call control to the touchpad

Dell Latitude 9330 Touchpad

Dell

Dell really wants to make video calling easier. Like many tech vendors keen on tackling the hurdles associated with remote and hybrid working, the company has toyed with different ways to simplify web calling: from a 4K monitor with a built-in 4K webcam to a webcam concept magnetic wireless that can connect in the middle of a monitor or elsewhere. Dell’s latest foray sees it augment what you can do with the touchpad, to the Asus ScreenPad and NumberPad features.

The Dell Latitude 9330 announced on Tuesday features a glass touchpad that provides direct access to Zoom’s microphone mute, video on/off, screen sharing and chat options.

The Latitude 9330 starts at 2.8 pounds.
Enlarge / The Latitude 9330 starts at 2.8 pounds.

Dell

Asus has long offered improved input control through laptop touchpads. Its latest ScreenPad technology turns the touchpad into a 2160×1080 resolution LCD touchscreen with the ability to launch different apps, app-specific menus, and apps designed specifically for the small screen. The ScreenPad is also much more colorful.

Meanwhile, Asus’ NumberPad (currently at version 2.0) turns support touchpads into a glowing number pad.

Number pad on the Asus Zenbook 14 Flip OLED.
Enlarge / Number pad on the Asus Zenbook 14 Flip OLED.

The Latitude 9330 sees Dell dipping its toes into advanced touchpad input, offering just four commands for Zoom calls on its business-focused Latitude’s touchpad. The features only work with Zoom, but a Dell spokesperson told Ars Technica that could change based on user feedback and needs.

Dell also explained how the touchpad works:

“When you join a Zoom conference call, the laptop connects to the Zoom app and speaks to the various Zoom commands to mute/unmute mic, share screen, mute/unmute video and chat window” , the Dell representative told Ars.

“The touchpad is already a touchpad, so we hijacked a section of the touchpad and turned it into buttons. When you enter a meeting, the video and mute buttons turn off by default (the default touchpad behavior depends on microphone and camera default settings set by the user in the Zoom app settings), displaying in red on the touchpad, and the chat and share buttons on the screen will be white. Once you press the “video on” or “sound off” buttons, they will turn white.

An added focus on video calls can be seen in the laptop’s 1080p resolution webcam with an “electromechanical camera shutter,” according to documents shared with press, that automatically opens and closes when on a video call. begins and ends. The laptop also has four microphones and AI-based background noise cancellation.

Dell’s latest Latitude also has additional AI-powered features increasingly found in recent laptop releases. For example, the webcam can tell if you’re no longer looking at the screen or if someone is looking over your shoulder, so the laptop can dim the screen for privacy and to save battery life.

A proximity sensor tells the laptop when you're nearby so it wakes up.
Enlarge / A proximity sensor tells the laptop when you’re nearby so it wakes up.

Dell

Dell is also updating the Latitude’s reputation as bulky, boring desktop laptops. As well as incorporating a unique touchpad, the Latitude 9330 is the thinnest Latitude, measuring 0.55 inches thick. The two-in-one laptop features the 13-inch Latitude 9000 series design with a large 13.3-inch 16:10 touchscreen display with 2560×1600 pixels and up to 500 nits of brightness.

Like the Latitude and Precision laptops Dell announced last month, the Latitude 9330 can use Wi-Fi and wired connections simultaneously.

Dell claims up to 30% faster application and application data processing with dual network connection.
Enlarge / Dell claims up to 30% faster application and application data processing with dual network connection.

Dell

Dell will sell the slim Latitude with up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with vPro support, 32GB of LPDDR5-5200 RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 x4 storage. Port selection is limited to three USB-C ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5mm jack, and an optional SIM card tray.

Dell didn’t share pricing for the Latitude 9330 but will launch the two-in-one in June.

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