Dell Precision 5470 review: too small to be effective

“The Dell Precision 5470 is small and narrow, but it surely lacks the facility of a transportable workstation.”


  • Excellent productivity performance
  • Solid and attractive construct
  • Brilliant, color-accurate screen
  • Great keyboard and touchpad


  • Very expensive
  • Thin chassis limits performance
  • Still uses 720p webcam

Portable workstations are a unique breed of laptop. They’re aimed squarely at demanding tasks, specifically those who use intense engineering, scientific, and artistic applications. They use the fastest CPUs, as much as Intel’s Xeon processor, and depend on specialized discrete GPUs designed and authorized to work with those applications versus GPUs made for gaming.

That also means a greater emphasis on performance over portability. Dell’s Precision 5470 changes that up by packing workstation-class components right into a thin and light-weight 14-inch chassis — in accordance with Dell, it’s the world’s thinnest and lightest 14-inch workstation.

Unfortunately, the Precision 5470 represents too great a trade-off in performance to suit into its admittedly thin and light-weight chassis, and it costs far an excessive amount of to be competitive outside the world of workstations.


  Dell Precision 5470
Dimensions 12.22 inches by 8.27 inches by 0.74 inches
Weight 3.26 kilos
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H vPro
Intel Core i7-12700H vPro
Intel Core i7-12800H vPro
Intel Core i9-12900H vPro
Intel Core i9-12900HK vPro
Graphics Intel UMA graphics
Intel Iris Xe
Nvidia RTX A1000
Display 14-inch 16:10 IPS FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200) non-touch
14-inch 16:10 IPS QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) touch
Storage 256GB PCI 4.0 SSD
512GB PCIe 4.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
4TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Touch Optional
Ports 4 x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 720p with IR camera
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 72 watt-hour
Price $1,929+

Performance is the whole lot

Dell Precision 5470 rear view showing lid and logo.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit was loaded, sporting a 45-watt, 14-core/20-thread Core i9-12900H CPU with vPro running at as much as 5GHz, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, and an Nvidia RTX A1000 GPU. The value? A cool $3,787. That’s a number of money for some potent components stuffed into what looks suspiciously like a scaled-down Dell XPS 15.

And here’s the issue: While the Precision 5470 is certainly a quick 14-inch laptop, it isn’t so fast that it justifies its workstation designation or workstation pricing.

I’ll compare on to the $1,150 Dell Inspiron 14 Plus, one other 14-inch laptop I reviewed recently. That system used a 45-watt, 14-core/20-thread Core i7-12700H running at as much as 4.7GHz and an Nvidia RTX 3050. This can be a particularly good comparison because although the CPU is (theoretically) a bit slower than the Precision 5470’s Core i9, the RTX 3050 is the gaming reminiscent of the RTX A1000.

As we will see from our benchmarks, the Precision 5470’s performance was mixed when put next to the Inspiron 14 Plus. It was barely faster in Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23 but a bit slower in our Handbrake video-encoding test. As you progress up in size, the Precision 5470 falls further behind. Note that I’ve reported in our table below each balanced and performance mode results based on the manufacturer’s utility for managing CPU frequency and fan speed.

The RTX A1000 GPU just doesn’t provide enough of a lift.

Essentially the most telling test, though, is the PugetBench benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro. That’s precisely the type of application that a transportable workstation is aimed toward running, and it uses each the CPU and the GPU in tandem. While the Precision 5470 was faster than the Inspiron 14 Plus, the difference was only 12% in balanced mode and eight% in performance mode. And the Precision 5470 once more fell behind — this time more significantly — as we moved up in laptop size.

The Dell XPS 15 with the RTX 3050 Ti, for instance, is overall 16% faster, and a whopping 38% faster at exporting timelines — likely because of the more powerful GPU. But comparing it to Apple’s MacBook Pro 14, with its 10-core CPU/16-core GPU Apple M1 Pro, is much more damning.

We don’t have a collection of benchmarks specifically for portable workstations, however the PugetBench benchmark serves as an honest proxy. And the underside line is that the Precision 5470 simply isn’t fast enough. A part of that’s since the Core i9 is wasted in the skinny and light-weight chassis — it immediately hit 100-degrees Celsius and throttled back frequencies in each of our CPU-intensive benchmarks. And the RTX A1000 doesn’t provide enough of a lift. You’re paying a big price in performance for a transportable workstation that’s barely easier to hold around.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Premiere Pro
Dell Precision 5470
(Core i9/12900H / RTX A1000)
Bal: 1,461 / 11,190
Perf: 1,700 / 11,980
Bal: 102
Perf: 99
Bal: 1,504 / 12,686
Perf: 1,760 / 13,235
Bal: 639
Perf: 678
Dell Inspiron 14 Plus
(Core i7-12700H / RTX 3050)
Bal: 1,671 / 10,898
Perf: 1,644 / 10,196
Bal: 117
Perf: 89
Bal: 1,718 / 8,997
Perf: 1,774 / 11,035
Bal: 569
Perf: 627
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H / RTX 3050 Ti)
Bal: 1,470 / 9,952
Perf: 1,714 / 11,053
Bal: 100
Perf: 77
Bal: 1,509 / 11,578
Perf: 1,806 / 13,313
Bal: 760
Perf: 729
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H / RTX 3060)
Bal: 1,712 / 13,176
Perf: 1,747 / 13,239
Bal: 74
Perf: 71
Bal: 1,778 / 12,696
Perf: 1,779 / 14,086
Bal: 771
Perf: 853
MSI Creator Z16P
(Core i9/12900H / RTX 3080 Ti)
Bal: 1,769 / 14,034
Perf: 1,835 / 14,051
Bal: 71
Perf: 69
Bal: 1,844 / 15,047
Perf: 1,837 / 16,084
Bal: 727
Perf: 1,042
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(Apple M1 Pro 10/16)
Bal: 1,760 / 12,307
Perf: N/A
Bal: 99
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,624 / 12,235
Perf: N/A
Bal: 911
Perf: N/A

I won’t hassle reporting on gaming since the Precision 5470 isn’t intended for that use case. I’ll, though, indicate that within the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the RTX A1000 was barely behind the standard RTX 3050. In case you determine to run some games on the laptop, you’ll be limited to 1080p and medium or lower graphics in newest titles.

Nice sized, but so what?

Dell Precision 5470 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Yes, the Precision 5470 is an impressively small laptop. It advantages from the identical tiny bezels as Dell’s XPS line, and as I hinted above, it looks rather a lot like a smaller version of the XPS 15. It has a darker gray aluminum lid and chassis bottom and the identical type of black carbon fiber keyboard deck, with lines which are eerily just like the XPS 15. It’s barely smaller than the Inspiron 14 Plus in height and width while being around the identical thickness at 0.74 inches and weighing less at 3.29 kilos versus 3.7 kilos. In comparison with the XPS 15, the Precision 5470 is noticeably smaller and lighter, but not a lot that it’s value giving up a lot in performance.

Dell engineered a solid laptop within the Precision 5470, that’s needless to say. It’s completely rigid within the lid, keyboard deck, and bottom chassis, easily as rock-solid because the XPS 15, and really near the Apple MacBook Pro 14. I don’t have any complaints concerning the laptop’s construct quality.

Again, though, it’s hard to justify the Precision 5470’s size and price when a laptop that costs lower than a 3rd as much and is simply barely larger performs almost equally as well. Dell will argue that Intel’s vPro makes the Precision 5470 easier for an enterprise to secure and manage, and that’s true. And the RTX A1000 is designed and authorized to run those key applications more reliably, which is something we will’t test. It’s a dubious proposition, though, that these aspects are enough to justify the worth jump without an equal performance increase.

Dell Precision 5470 left side showing ports.

dell precision 5470 review right side

You furthermore may don’t get workstation-like connectivity, with 4 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. Workstations (and 14-inch laptops generally) typically support more legacy ports and niceties like Ethernet. You’ll be reaching for dongles before you recognize it. The Precision 5470 does have up-to-date wireless connectivity, nevertheless.

An appropriate display

My Precision 5470 review unit was equipped with the QHD+ 16:10 IPS display, and it’s ok to fulfill the needs of any creator who can live with the laptop’s performance.

It’s very brilliant at 549 nits, offers colours which are just wide and accurate enough, and provides an especially high contrast ratio that can please any user. If the Precision 5470 were faster and appealed to more demanding creators, then the AdobeRGB gamut coverage can be a bit low, but because it is, it’s ok.

Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is healthier)
Dell Precision 5470
549 1,640:1 100% 83% 0.95
MSI Creator Z16P
461 990:1 100% 89% 0.89
Dell XPS 17 9720
543 1,870:1 100% 100% 0.58
Dell XPS 15 9520
391 28,130:1 100% 96% 0.42
Apple MacBook Pro 16
475 475,200:1 100% 90% 1.04

The audio is provided by 4 speakers, two upward-firing and two downward-firing, that pump out loads of volume with clear mids and highs and a touch of bass. They’re likely just like those found on the XPS 15, meaning they’re among the many higher speakers you’ll find in a Windows laptop.

All the things else

Together with the general design, the Precision 5470 resembles the Dell XPS 15 in several other ways. The keyboard is one. While there’s less space on the keyboard deck, the Precision’s keyboard offers equal spacing and the identical large, comfortable keycaps. The switches also seem equivalent, with the identical light and snappy mechanism and precise bottoming motion. The XPS line has one in all my favorite Windows keyboards, in order that’s an actual plus.

Dell Precision 5470 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The touchpad is sort of a bit smaller than the XPS 15’s, though. It’s similarly designed, with the identical smooth and accurate surface and quiet, confident clicks. The display on my review unit was touch-enabled and worked in addition to usual.

Dell kept the webcam at 720p, similar to the XPS 15, which is disappointing. As such, the standard was less impressive than on another laptops I’ve reviewed recently with 1080p webcams. The infrared camera enables Windows 11 Hello passwordless login via facial recognition, with a fingerprint reader embedded in the facility button offering one other reliable method to log in.

Dell Precision 5470 top down view showing fingerprint reader.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The infrared camera also enabled Dell’s user presence detection features. Onlooker Detection can tell when someone is looking over the user’s shoulder and apply a texture to the display to obscure whatever data is on-screen. Look Away Detect knows when the user isn’t looking directly on the display and dims the screen.

Walk Away Lock turns off the display and locks the Precision 5470 when the user leaves the realm, and Wake on Approach wakes up the laptop and logs it in when the user returns. Each of those features worked well during my testing and needed to be turned off to enable my battery benchmarks.

Dell Precision 5470 side view showing lid and ports.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Finally, we must always consider the Precision 5470’s battery life, although that’s not a key metric for a workstation. Our testing emphasizes productivity battery life, which suggests just a few tests that don’t push the CPU all that onerous.

Workstation users will are inclined to burn the battery much faster with more demanding work. So while the Precision 5470 was average or higher across our various tests and may last a full day on a charge, workstation users should plan to hold their charger with them.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Dell Precision 5470
(Core i9-12900H)
8 hours, 25 minutes 14 hours, 1 minute 11 hours, 11 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 Plus
(Core i7-12700H)
7 hours, 3 minutes 9 hours, 29 minutes 8 hours, 34 minutes
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
9 hours, 38 minutes 12 hours, 40 minutes 11 hours, 14 minutes
MSI Creator Z16P
(Core i9-12900H)
4 hours, 42 minutes 5 hours, 24 minutes N/A

Too little for an excessive amount of

If I had over $3,000 to spend on a laptop and needed workstation-like performance, I’d do some extra weightlifting and choose a bigger and heavier workstation like Dell’s Precision 5570 or perhaps a mainstream powerhouse just like the MSI Creator X16P. Sure, it might be more to lug around, but its performance would greater than make up for it. And while app selection can be more limited with the Apple MacBook Pro 14, it might be one other solid alternative if it ran the apps I needed.

Because it is, the Precision 5470 is just too expensive to justify its limited performance. Simply put, if the Precision 5470 can handle your workflow, you then likely don’t need a workstation-level laptop. You may pick from amongst several 14-inch laptops and get as much portability and possibly even higher performance at a much lower cost.

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