Dell Latitude E6400
Style and speed.
- Performance, usability, looks great, excellent screen, chock-full of cool features
- Heats up, no ExpressCard slot, may inspire insane jealousy among others
This notebook ticks pretty much every box: style, speed, connectivity (including Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth and 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi) and usability. It packs in plenty of business-friendly features, including a smartcard reader and a fingerprint scanner. It isn't cheap, but if you're after a business notebook and aren't in the market for an ultraportable the Latitude E6400 may well be worth it. Besides, Accounts will pay for it right?
Price$ 3,049.00 (AUD)
Dell's Latitude E6400 is a notebook that means business. Its black chassis eschews the shiny surfaces and quirky patterns of some of its contemporaries for a subtle wood-grain-esque pattern on its lid.
We were well-disposed to the Latitude E6400 from the start because it avoids two irritating features of notebooks that we see frequently: glossy, reflective screens and shiny plastic surfaces that attract fingerprints.
The surface isn't totally immune to the odd thumb mark but this notebook is head and shoulders above most units we've had through our test centre recently. It is the screen that really impressed us from the outset, however. Working in an office environment with typical overhead fluorescent lighting means that glossy screens are the bane of our lives. The Latitude E6400 has a matte screen that is vibrant and possesses excellent viewing angles.
The screen is LED backlit and has a native resolution of 1440x900, which is more than enough screen real estate for office work. The quality and size of the display make it an exceptionally good notebook for on-the-spot presentations to clients, for example. Of course, it's also there if you happen to have 15 copies of The Matrix lying around your office, as we do, and want to put the 8x DVD R/W to good use. The stereo speakers do an adequate job, but they're really there for when you use the integrated webcam and microphone to collaborate with colleagues. (We should note that our test DVD continued playing without a whisper of protest while we tilted the notebook hither and thither.)
An ambient light sensor can be found on the bottom of the Latitude E6400's screen; this is supposed to adjust screen brightness to suit your environment. We found it to be more annoying than useful and preferred to adjust brightness manually. The sensor can be enabled and disabled by using the
The keyboard is supremely comfortable to use, and the keys are full-sized. The touchpad is likewise excellent, and to top it off a TrackPoint-style device sits in the middle of the keyboard. Extra buttons for left and right clicking make it easier to use the device (they are positioned above the touchpad); a third button makes it easy to scroll through documents.
Packed into the stylish body of the Latitude E6400 are components that will happily dispose of most tasks you throw at them. WorldBench 6 returned an excellent score of 98, so any programs you need for work should run without the notebook breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, however, this may not be the case for you: heat was noticeable underneath the laptop after only a short period of use, and it also traveled up through the palm rests and the keyboard. This might be okay when you're catching a train in winter, but it could be a little uncomfortable on hot days.
The notebook comes with a 160GB, 7200rpm. This is more than enough space for a business-focused laptop. Best of all it has a free fall sensor, which should reduce the risk of data-loss if the laptop is jolted.
The notebook's Intel Core 2 Duo P9500 processor, which runs at 2.53GHz, completed our iTunes test (where we convert 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s) in 1min 17sec. Using both cores of the CPU our test render in Blender completed in 1min 13sec. Less impressive was our 3DMark06 test: the Latitude E6400's NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M scored only 1678. But then this is a notebook for corporate takeovers not alien invasions, so you're probably not going to use it for gaming anyway.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to understand is that the Latitude E6400 should churn through your work with ease. More interesting are the results from our worst-case scenario battery test — 3hr 20min using its 9-cell battery, which is a great result for a notebook of this size and processing power — and the extra business-focused features, such as the fingerprint scanner and smartcard reader. Tucked around the sides of the notebook you can find a memory card reader; a Wi-Fi switch and connection button; headphone and microphone jacks; 56Kbs modem, Gigabit Ethernet and FireWire ports; and D-Sub for connecting an external monitor or projector. There is also a DisplayPort, if you have a monitor that uses this modern connection.
A PC Card slot is present; it may seem a little unusual not to have an ExpressCard slot given the modern components of this Centrino 2 notebook, but many businesses will be happy with the older standard's presence anyway.
Four USB ports are also found on the sides; one doubles as an e-SATA port for connecting speedy external storage and another is a USB PowerShare port. This is similar to the 'Sleep and Charge' ports found on Toshiba notebooks like the Portege M800 (PPM80A-01900P). It will let you power USB-connected devices using the port even when the Latitude E6400 is shut down.
At just under 2.5kg and with its 14.1in display and full-sized keyboard, we think the Latitude E6400 strikes an excellent balance between portability and usability. If you're only interested in portability then go for something like Dell's own Inspiron Mini 9. However, if you're interested in something that you can use in the office on a daily basis (perhaps taking advantage of its dock connector) as well as take on the road, then you should be happy with this notebook. As usual, it's available in a variety of configurations, so you can adjust it to suit your needs.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 3 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 4 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Hands-on: How the Asus ROG GX501 Zephyrus performs with Nvidia's Max-Q technology
- HP Omen laptops include a first: Nvidia Max-Q graphics technology
- HP's Omen Accelerator can give your laptop some guts
- HP's Omen X Compact Desktop can morph into a backpack VR PC
- Why Microsoft's ARM-based Windows 10 laptops still have a lot to prove
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- Blackberry KEYone phone: Full, in-depth review
- Alienware 13 full, in-depth review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTICT Business AnalystOther
- FTeCommerce Project ManagerOther
- FTVoice Solution Engineer - Telecommunications (cisco)Other
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskOther
- FTService Desk Analyst - Level 1 SupportQLD
- FTJunior DeveloperOther
- CCMultiple Front End Developers - Angular 2 | Bootstrap | jQueryQLD
- FTSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTWintel Server EngineerOther
- FTFront End DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Digital BA - AgileOther
- FTICT Support OfficerNSW
- TPDigital Business Analyst | Six Month Contract |Immediate StartQLD
- FTSystems Support EngineerOther
- TPSAP TrainerACT
- FTService Desk Analyst - 1st LevelACT
- FTJunior Java developer. Work Location - CanberraACT
- FTJunior Java developer. Work Location - CanberraOther
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- FTSenior Network Engineer - SMEOther
- FTeCommerce Solution ArchitectOther
- FTTechnical Business Analysts, Banking, LendingOther
- FTMicrosoft Azure Cloud EngineerNSW
- CCSAP Hana DeveloperQLD
- CCInfrastructure Engineer - Financial Services - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW