The Dell Precision 5480 is a 14-inch mobile workstation not only mirrors the aesthetic appeal of the XPS line but also packs a substantial punch in terms of performance. Equipped with the Intel Core i9-1300H and Nvidia RTX 3000 series Graphics, specifically the Lovelace Graphics, it caters to the demands of professional-grade applications with ISV certification. In this Dell Precision 5480 review, we’ll delve into its Display, Performance, Battery life and more.
Table of Contents
Dell Precision 5480 Price
The base price of Dell Precision 5480 is $2069, while the tested configuration presented here is priced at $4370.36. It’s important to note that this is a premium laptop with a relatively high cost, justified by its focus on catering to professionals in specific industries. For these users, the Laptop is viewed as a tool rather than a mere purchase, and the price is secondary to obtaining the right tool for their work.
The Precision 5480 is optimized with ISV-certified drivers, making it ideal for tasks such as CAD work, solid work, 3D rendering, medical imaging, and high-end video editing. For those considering Precision 5480 laptop, it’s essential to keep in mind its target audience and the specialized requirements it meets.
Dell Precision 5480 Unboxing, Design and Build Quality
Inside the box, we find the Dell Precision 5480 laptop, accompanied by documentation and warranty information. The Precision line maintains its consistency, aligning with the XPS line. The package includes a 130-watt USB Type-C charger, appreciated for its compact design, ensuring portability on the go.
Additionally, there’s a power cord and an adapter, akin to those seen in the XPS line, featuring HDMI and USB-A connectivity via Type-C, type-a thoughtful touch in the box. The laptop, sporting a graphite or grayish color, is visually appealing. The bottom of the laptop bears the title Precision 5480, showcasing a metal design that feels solid with minimal chassis flexibility.
The design offers a subtle homage to the consumer base of the XPS line. the Precision 5480has a weight of 1.617 kilograms. When factoring in the travel weight with the included power cord and charger, the total increases to 2.08 kilograms. While it carries a bit of heft, it’s essential to note that this laptop packs a significant punch under the hood, making the weight a worthwhile trade-off for the powerful performance it delivers.
Ports and Connections on the Dell Precision 5480
The port selection on the Precision 5480, On the left side, there’s a 3.5-millimeter microphone/headphone combo jack, accompanied by two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports that offer full-service support for data, charging, and display output. Additionally, the left side features an optional smart card reader.
On the right side, there’s a Micro SD card reader, alongside two more USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports with full-service capabilities. Finally, to complete the port array on the unit itself, it has a Kensington lock port. It’s worth noting that the package includes a dongle, providing HDMI and USB Type-A connectivity, a thoughtful inclusion by Dell.
Dell Precision 5480 Display, Colors and Picture Quality
The display on the Dell Precision 5480 is truly noteworthy, Sporting an IPS panel, 14-inch screen boasts a QHD Plus resolution of 2560 x 1600. The touchscreen capability adds a practical touch for those who appreciate such functionality. With a commendable brightness of 474 nits, just a touch below the claimed 500 nits, the display shines vividly, making it suitable for various tasks.
While it may not rival OLED displays, the color gamut coverage is impressive, registering at 100% sRGB, 79% Adobe RGB, 81% DCI P3 wide color gamut, and 74% NTSC. This level of color accuracy, with a Delta E score of 1.7, ensures vibrant visuals with high contrast, deep blacks, and precise white points. Notably, during testing, there was no observed PWM or screen flickering, contributing to a comfortable viewing experience.
When it comes to downtime activities like media consumption on platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, or YouTube, the display performs admirably, even though it’s not an OLED screen. The slim bezels enhance its modern aesthetic, providing an immersive experience with excellent contrast and sharpness. It’s worth mentioning that while there is no 4K option, the QHD Plus resolution on a 14-inch screen is more than sufficient.
Additionally, the absence of a high refresh rate option might be a consideration for some users, as the display operates at 60 Hz without the availability of 90 or 120 Hz alternatives. Despite these considerations, the overall impression of the display is highly positive, showcasing a job well done by Dell in Display department.
Speakers Audio Quality
The audio of Precision 5480 is equipped with quad speakers four 2-watt speakers, providing a total output of 8 watts. I found the volume to be satisfactory, with decent mids, and the overall sound filled up the room quite nicely. The takeaway here is that, for a 14-inch mobile workstation, it boasts some really good speakers. However, when compared to something like the MacBook Pro, which I consider the standard in the business, it may not quite reach that level. Nevertheless, I believe it holds its own, especially considering its 14-inch form factor.
IR Webcam, Mics and Fingerprint Scanner
The camera on the Dell Precision 5480 for 2023 is an HD IR camera, enabling face recognition login through Windows Hello. The power button also serves as a fingerprint scanner, providing dual biometric login options. Studio Effects enhance the camera features, offering auto framing to keep users in focus, eye contact for a more engaging appearance, and a background blur effect for improved aesthetics.
While a 1080p resolution would have been preferable, the 720p camera suffices for Zoom calls and other video needs, especially for those already back to work or engaged in hybrid work settings. Although an external camera might be an option for some users, the 720p camera on the Precision 5480 gets the job done.
Dell Precision 5480 Performance and Gaming
The performance on the Dell Precision 5480 is really good, it has the Core i9-13900H, a very powerful CPU and 45W with a total of 14 cores 8 efficient cores and 6 performance cores. The single and multile performance is excellent, as indicated by below benchmark results.
|GEEKEBENCH 6 (Single-Core)||2,618|
|GEEKBENCH 6 (Multi-Core)||13,629|
|CINEBENCH R15||2,423 CB, 289 FPS|
|CINEBENCH R23||1,942 Single-Core, 16,330 Multi-Core|
|3DMARK Fire Strike||18,674|
|3DMARK Time Spy||8,723|
Graphics performance is really good because it has the RTX 3000 Ada Lovelace Graphics with a 50 Watts TDP. That would be the equivalent of an RTX 4070 GPU. We’re seeing really good graphics performance here, but the key difference is that this is optimized for professional-grade mobile workstation applications, or professional-grade applications, I should say, with ISV certifications. Applications like SolidWorks, 3D rendering, medical imaging, and more this is where Precision 5480 is going to shine.
|Asus Zenbook Pro 14 OLED (UX6404)|
|Dell Precision 5480|
|Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14|
|HP ZBook Firefly 14 G10|
|Apple MacBook Pro 14|
Now, as far as the single-core score from the Cinebench R23, there’s excellent performance, as well as the multicore performance from the Cinebench R23. Everyday tasks such as Microsoft Office, email, and web browsing all performed really well on Precision 5480. There were no issues at all; it’s handled very well.
And if you’re going to do graphics work, especially video editing in Da Vinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, and similar applications, you’re going to see excellent performance, as indicated by numbers. Speaking of video editing, when I rendered a 3-minute H.264 video in Da Vinci Resolve, it took 1 minute 37 seconds to render. It even beat out the Apple Max Studio with its M1 Max chipset, taking only 1 minute 35 seconds to render the same video in an H.265 codec.
|Dota 2 Reborn||175 FPS||161 FPS||151 FPS||142 FPS|
|GTA V||182 FPS||176 FPS||164 FPS||88 FPS|
|The Witcher 3||364 FPS||241 FPS||150 FPS||77 FPS|
|Cyberpunk 2077||92 FPS||72 FPS||61 FPS||56 FPS|
Even though Dell Precision 5480 is a professional mobile workstation, you’re still going to get very playable frame rates on some of the more popular titles. So, when you’re not working and in your downtime, you can play some games, as indicated by above very playable frame rates, especially in popular titles like Cyberpunk 2077. If you play with the settings, you can achieve some really nice frame rates on Precision 5480, very impressive graphical performance.
Thermals, Surface Temps and Fan Noise
As far regarding thermal throttling. When I ran the Time Spy stress test, Precision 5480 achieved a passing score of 99.5%. This indicates that it detected very little, if any, thermal throttling even under heavy load. That’s a positive outcome.
When it comes to surface temperatures under load, specifically where you place your fingers on the keyboard, it remains surprisingly cool. There’s no significant heat, and it stays relatively cool, even on the underside. The only noticeable warmth is near the venting at the back of the unit, where you wouldn’t typically place your fingers or on your lap.
Additionally, on the sides, there’s nothing to be concerned about. The good news extends to fan noise as well; even under heavy load, Precision 5480 didn’t exceed 34-35 decibels. This is impressively quiet, considering the workload it’s handling. The team did a commendable job in managing surface temperatures, addressing heat concerns, and ensuring minimal fan noise. Overall, it’s a job well done.
Dell Precision 5480 Battery Life Performance
|Dell Precision 5480|
|10 hours 01 minutes||11 hours 33 minutes||0 hours 55 minutes|
|Asus Zenbook Pro 14 OLED|
|7 hours 23 minutes||8 hours 20 minutes||0 hours 58 minutes|
When it comes to the battery, Dell Precision 5480 laptop boasts a 72-watt-hour battery, and it delivered an impressive 10 hours and 1 minute on the PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test. To put that into context, I recently tested the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 OLED with its larger 76-watt-hour battery, and it managed only 7 hours and 23 minutes—not quite as good as the Precision 5480.
In the video playback test, the Precision 5480 excelled, clocking in at 11 hours and 33 minutes compared to the Zenbook Pro 14 OLED’s 8 hours and 20 minutes. When it comes to gaming, one can expect around 1 hour and 55 minutes on the Precision 5480, surpassing the Zenbook Pro 14’s 58 minutes. While gaming performance on battery may not be outstanding, the Precision 5480 impresses in everyday tasks, making it a commendable choice for work with its noteworthy battery life.
User Upgradeability on the Dell Precision 5480
|All||Read MB/s||Write MB/s|
As for the RAM, it’s LPDDR5 operating in dual-channel mode. I have 64GB of RAM at a swift 6,000MHz. Regrettably, it’s soldered into the motherboard and not user-upgradeable. Nevertheless, having 64GB in a 14-inch form factor is a notable advantage.
Turning our attention to wireless capabilities, the laptop features a Wi-Fi 6E Bluetooth combo card soldered into the motherboard, making it non-upgradeable by the user. However, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionalities have been flawless, presenting no issues during usage.
Hinges, Keyboard and Touchpad
As far the hinges on Dell Precision 5480 laptop are really sturdy. I didn’t notice any screen wobble when typing, which is a significant relief as screen wobbling tends to be a major pet peeve of mine. It’s reassuring to see very little, if any, screen wobble in this case.
As for the keyboard itself, I am a big fan. The tactility and key travel are to my liking, providing a comfortable typing experience for drafting long documents and emails. I found it to work exceptionally well; there was no feeling that my fingers were going to bottom out. The keyboard also features a multi-stage backlight, which proves handy for working in a dark room or a dimly lit environment. It functions effectively.
Additionally, the Precision 5480 boasts a reasonably sized touchpad that I found to be highly responsive. Whether scrolling or using various gestures, everything worked seamlessly. The touchpad is proportionally sized, striking a balance that feels just right, not too small, not too large. Overall, my impression is positive: a good keyboard and touchpad on this mobile workstation.
My Final Thought
So what are my thoughts on the Dell Precision 5480 2023? I must say it’s a very impressive mobile workstation. I appreciate the GPU performance, the fact that it maintains a cool and quiet operation under load, and the remarkable power packed into its small 14-inch form factor. The 14-inch QHD+ IPS touch display is sharp, and the overall port selection is good. The keyboard and touchpad are comfortable, contributing to a positive user experience.
However, there are some drawbacks. The presence of a 720p webcam in 2023 is less than ideal. There’s no OLED option, no high refresh rate option, and the RAM is not user-upgradable. Additionally, there’s no support for ECC RAM. These are notable downsides.
Despite the negatives, the overall takeaway is that if you’re in the market for a professional mobile workstation in a 14-inch form factor, the Precision 5480 stands out as one of the best choices. It offers good CPU and GPU performance, impressive battery life, and an excellent display. I highly recommend the Dell Precision 5480 for those who need a portable and powerful solution on the go.
The Dell Precision 5480 for 2023 is an impressive 14-inch mobile workstation with powerful GPU performance, efficient cooling, and a sharp QHD+ display. Drawbacks include a dated webcam and non-upgradable RAM. Overall, a top choice for professionals seeking portability and power.
Thermals and Fan Noise10