With everyone blurring their work and home areas these days, laptop makers are looking for ways to stand out in terms of privacy. You could use an antiquated physical shutter for the webcam, but Dell’s taking a more sophisticated approach with its refreshed Latitude line. The newly-announced 9000 series features “SafeShutter,” a fully automatic webcam shutter.
What does that mean? It’s essentially saying that the webcam shutter on the Latitude 9420 won’t physically open until you’re in a video call, which is (hopefully!) automatically detected by Dell’s proprietary software. That should be more dependable than the old blinking indicator light system, though fans of analog security might decide to fall back on ye olde tape cover. The keyboard also has dedicated “secure camera and mic keys” in the function row—no need to hunt for the mute button on Zoom.
The 14-inch Latitude 9420 will come in standard and 2-in-1 configurations, both with Intel 11th-gen processors topping out at an i7 VPro with 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. They’re using taller-than-normal 16:10 screens, too: 2560×1600 on the 2-in-1, 1920×1280 on the standard model, both with impressive 500-nit brightness. Both versions have one UAB-A port and two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, as well as more conventional HDMI-out.
Optional upgrades include IR sensors and a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello, LTE or 5G mobile connections, and an upgraded 3-cell battery. Prices start at a hefty $1949 when the Latitude 9420 goes on sale this spring, along with a larger 9520 model with no estimated price as yet. Refreshed members of the cheaper Latitude 5000 and 7000 series will also roll out, neither of which feature that nifty shutter technology.