Choose your keyboard for Dell's slim new Latitude 12 tablet

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Premium tablets and hybrids are finding their way into professional hands, as seen by entries such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 tablet, Surface Pro 4 or even the iPad Pro. Dell's new Latitude 12 7275 is more laptop-like (and therefore possibly better for the office) than some of these other choices, thanks to a couple of different options for the keyboard half of the hybrid equation.

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The Slim Keyboard for the Latitude 12.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Slim Keyboard (yes, that's the name) has full-size, backlit keys, despite being very thin, much like the keyboard cover on a Surface Pro. The Premium Keyboard acts more like a dock than a cover, with deeper keys, a better touchpad and a channel along the back that allow you to slot the tablet half in single-handedly.

Both use magnetic connections, rather than physical hooks, buttons or latches, making for an easy transformation between modes. Having used every manner of hybrid connection out there, this remains my favorite for a balance of security, speed and usability.

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The larger Premium Keyboard option.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Latitude 12 itself is highly portable, just 8mm thick and made of magnesium, with a Gorilla Glass front over a display that can go up to full 4K resolution (at an added cost, of course). Like Dell's other new Latitude systems at CES, it runs an Intel Core M processor, designed for slim, premium PCs that can run with minimal or no fan cooling.

If you want something a little more traditional, there's also a new twist on one of last year's favorite laptops. The Latitude 13 7370 is a business-class revamp of the Dell XPS 13, which received nearly universal praise for its Infinity display, which means the screen image went almost right to the edge of the panel, with only the smallest possibly bezel around it.

The "professional" version here is made of carbon fiber, includes Thunderbolt and USB-C, the new, smaller USB port turning up in premium laptops and hybrids. Because it's a business system, it offers a smart card reader, fingerprint reader and RFID reader.

It's also running a Core M processor (the consumer XPS 13 runs standard Core i5 and Core i7 chips), which allows it to be even thinner and lighter -- Dell says this is the "world's smallest 13-inch business-class Ultrabook."

The Latitude 12 7275 will be available beginning early February in the United States, starting at $1,049, while the Latitude 13 (7370) will be available March 8, at $1,299.

See our complete CES 2016 coverage here.

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