Dell Latitude E6400 14in business laptop
Dredd-ful new design?
Review Dell supplied us with a Latitude E6400 set up for German use. Appropriate given the laptop's design that seems Teutonic in its slab-like seriousness. The other word it brings to mind is "ThinkPad".
Let's have a quick look along the Latitude's straight lines and angles, all free from the fripperies of curves. Like the IBM ThinkPads of old, the E6400 looks like it means business. Black clad and no-nonsense, this is truly the Judge Dredd of laptops.
Dell's Latitude E6400: Judge Dredd's ThinkPad
The left side is home to a VGA port, two USB 2.0 ports - one of which doubles up as an eSATA connector - and, toward the front, a smart-card slot. The cooling vent's in the middle and slopes back from the top, just as the optical drive does round the other side.
Next to the multi-format DVD burner, you'll find a four-pin Firewire port, a PC Card slot, a switch for the wireless sub-system, audio sockets and two more USB ports.
Like the sides, the front slopes away from the wrist-rest edge and is home to a five-in-one memory card slot. The battery's at the back - clad in grey to stand out from all the black - in between Gigabit Ethernet and DisplayPort connectors.
Harsh and angular
Open the E6400's lid and you're presented with the 14.1in screen. There's a webcam in the bezel above it - below the screen sits the ambient light sensor that can be used to adjust the display's brightness in harmony with the lighting conditions you're in.
Why PC manufacturers are still afraid of DVI? if you choose the low res screen, you will need an external monitor. but using the analog VGA connector?
if it copied most of the features of the Macbook Pro (in black) they might as well steal the rest.
M2400 may be more robust
M2400 is basically the same setup with a higher-end mobile Quadro graphics unit and a third mouse button - but it also has a mag-alloy lid so should be more robust than the Lat'. The price is not too far from the E6400 either. I got the M2400 since it apparently is the only 14" which can drive a 30" external display... mind you - still needs a docking bay to do it!
This laptop is, after all, aimed at the corporate market so you're unlikely to pay list and your support will be UK rather than Far East based...
Bought one of these at work for myself - but no Linux drivers for network, screen (didn't try hard on that one), wifi - so I gave it away and kept my D620.
Looks ugly too.
Keyboard backlight didn't work and after 2 motherboard changes, we told Dell to give us a new one. (not a fault of the laptop design - just a friday afternoon box).
Might give it another try in a few months time.
It actually starts at £579, not £549, and that's less VAT and delivery. Dell really take the piss with their £57.58 delivery charge. It would be OK if their products were reliable and backed up with competent after sales service, but any idiot (plenty buy Dell) can tell you that's sadly not the case.