The lower half will clearly take some knocks - but we're not sure the screen will.
Ports to left...
Our unit came with Dell's 1440 x 900 LED-backlit display, though it also offers a cheaper, 1280 x 800 non-LED job. We can't address that panel's quality, but we quite liked the higher resolution one, though with the default, dark desktop wallpaper, it did look a trifle gloomy at first, and it doesn't go as bright as other LED-backlit panels we've seen.
The E6400 weighs in at just under 2kg, and doesn't feel too much of an encumbrance. Its other dimensions are 335 x 238 x 31mm. It feels large for a 14in machine, though it's no bigger than the 14.1in Sony Vaio C2 we have sitting next to it at the moment. But then the Sony has those consumer-friendly curves, so clearly all those straight lines and right angles make the Dell not only seem serious but large too.
Prices start at £549 exc. VAT, rising to £774 for the model we reviewed and beyond as you run through the many spec options. The test unit came equipped with a Core 2 Duo P8400 processor clocked to 2.26GHz, 2GB of DDR 2 memory and a 160GB hard drive. It also comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi - 802.11b/g is an option, either Dell's unit or Intel's - and Bluetooth on board.
...ports to the right
There's a similar array of operating systems available, running through the range of 32-bit and 64-bit Vistas. Ours had 32-bit Vista Business Edition, which scores the E6400 with an Experience Rating of 3.8, derived from CPU, memory, desktop graphics, 3D graphics and HDD scores of 5.2, 5.9, 4.1, 3.8 and 5.2, respectively.
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.