On the whole I was very impressed by the performance levels, although with a 3DMark06 score of 1,165 this isn't a gaming behemoth. Graphics drivers were left at the default (balanced) setting, and if you're more interested in benchmark numbers than visual quality I can tell you that setting the drivers for optimal performance resulted in a 3DMark06 score of 1,168 - clearly not worth the effort.
As a multimedia workstation the 6400 fares considerably better with a commendable MobileMark performance rating of 264 and 246 minutes' battery life, all recorded with no active CPU power management.
The MobileMark-measured 155 minutes' DVD playback time was also acceptable especially when testing was carried out using higher than normal screen brightness with the internal speakers set to full volume. However, I should stress that Dell supplied us with the upgraded nine-cell 85Whr battery rather than the standard six-cell 56Whr option - a £12 extra.
Dell Inspiron 9400 fares similarly
I have a Dell Inspiron 9400 with Core2Duo T7400 processors, 17" WUXGA screen. 2GB of memory, and a 100 GB SATA 7200 RPM disk. I concur with your assessment. The 9400 does come with a DVI connector on it.
I don't like the Bluetooth implementation in conjunction with the Logitech mouse. I find its performance spotty.
I have used CPUz and another benchmark to compare this performance to my Dell XPS Generation 3 with Pentium 3.6GHz HT processor. Other than the RAID disk performance, the laptop literally womps the desktop.
Your comment about the extra Dell software is right on target. I stripped off as much as I could and still could not tolerate the performance. After one week, I blew away the laptop and rebuilt it from the Dell media -- way better!
New laptops causing headaches
Interesting that the specs (other than the screen size) are similiar to the new Philips X56 which I have recently purchased.
Alas it came with the new Express Card so my T-Mobile data card is now redundant, however the author may not be aware that there is an adapter which runs PC cards via USB. Sadly its the size of a brick and costs £130.
Interesting also that you raised the point about Dells desire to load the PC with software. When im called out on an Installation, the 3 ISPs, Dells network diags and Google Search are removed, and Mcafee changed to stop harrassing the end user for network passwords. Only then does the PC feel quick.!!