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Dell Latitude E6400

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

The E6400 is powered by Intel's Centrino 2 platform, and our $2,007 review unit was packed with extras, from a backlit keyboard to a desktop speed 7,200rpm hard drive. In typical Dell fashion, the starting price is a very reasonable $1,139, but almost everything, from the fingerprint reader to the Webcam, to a built in modem costs extra. That makes the starting price illusory for most buyers, but also lets you customize the system to an incredible degree.

Still, if you don't need business friendly features such as Intel's vPro platform, a TPM chip, or a contact less Smart Card reader, Dell's Vostro line might be more suited for your needs. And if you do need such features, it's more than likely your IT staff will pick and configure a laptop for you. That being said, Dell has done an admirable job of updating its stodgy Latitude brand, and creating a business laptop that's smart looking enough to pull double duty as your personal machine.

Specification
  • Price as reviewed / Starting price $2,007 / $1,139
  • Processor 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
  • Memory 2GB, 667MHz DDR2
  • Hard drive 160GB 7,200rpm
  • Chipset Mobile Intel P45
  • Graphics Nvidia Quadro NVS 160M
  • Operating System Windows Vista Business
  • Dimensions (WDH) 13.1x9.4x1.2 inches
  • Screen size (diagonal) 14.1 inches
  • System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.7/6.6 pounds
  • Category Mainstream
The new E series is a stark departure from the familiar Latitude look, trading the tapered gray lid for a sharply squared off design with an industrial brushed metal surface. The result is a much more modern feel, and it fits in with the usage model of a work laptop being your main machine and frequently traveling from home to office to cafe the E6400 still has a professional look but can also fit in with high end designer consumer laptops.

At just less than 6 pounds, the E6400 is a bit heavier than some other 14 inch laptops we've looked at recently, but the solid metal construction gives it an impressively dense feel, and feels like it could stand up to some serious road abuse. They keyboard's keys felt tight and responsive, and the keyboard didn't flex under our fingers. The optional backlit keyboard ($49) is great, and we wish more laptops were available with backlit keyboards.

Perhaps to assuage older business laptop users, there's a ThinkPad like trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard, along with a traditional three button trackpoint control set above the regular touch pad (there are also regular left and right mouse buttons below the touch pad). We're still convinced that trackpoints are a legacy product and about as useful to most people as a serial port, but someone must still be using them if Dell made sure to include it in the redesigned Latitude.

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