Dell Latitude E6400 14.1in Business Notebook - Connections and Options

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Connectivity is predictably very good. Starting on the left there's a Kensington lock slot and this is followed by a D-SUB (VGA) video output and two USB ports, one of which doubles as an e-SATA port. Closer to the front is the Smart Card reader while on the front edge, just to the right of the lid clasp, is a 5-in-1 memory card reader with support for SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and xD card formats.

On the right there are a further two USB ports. These are, like the other ones, placed one above the other so you might find that large USB devices block one of the ports during use. Next to these are headphone and microphone ports and above these sit a hardware wireless radio switch and a Dell regular, the Wi-Fi Catcher button. Both of these are good to have, though truth be told we've yet to find a time when the Wi-Fi Catcher feature on a Dell laptop was that useful. On the other side of the optical drive is the 54mm ExpressCard slot and below this is a mini-FireWire port.

As you might expect on a business laptop, the Ethernet port and power input can be found on the back and these are also joined by a DisplayPort connection. This can be viewed in one of two ways. Either it's a rather prescient addition that should ensure future-proofing, or it's there to help ensure DisplayPort, a technology Dell is backing extensively, is eventually adopted by companies. If you're a cynic you'd say the latter and wonder why a DVI port isn't there instead, but given the size of a DVI port and the difficulty in integrating one, DisplayPort is a sensible addition. Finally, on the bottom, is a docking port and Dell also continues to put a battery meter on its battery packs, something that in our opinion all notebooks should have. Unlike a lot of batteries, we also found the release mechanism on the E6400 very easy to operate so switching batteries is pretty painless.

As for options on the E6400, there's so many that's difficult to list them all here. Processor options start with the 2.26Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400, but you can also select the 2.4GHz P8600, the 2.53GHz P9500, the 2.53GHz (35W) T9400 and the 2.8GHz T9600. These can be matched with up to 8GBs of 800MHz DDR2, though that will cost you a massive £1,055 extra! You can also choose between pretty much every version of Windows Vista (excluding Home Premium), or "downgrade" to XP Pro SP3.

Hard drive options are copious. You can get normal 5,400rpm SATA HDDs in 80GB, 120GB and 160GB capacities as well as 80GB and 120GB capacities that come pre-encrypted. You can also get 7,200rpm drives ranging from 80GB all the way up to 250GB and all with Free Fall Sensors, though as yet there are no SSD options to choose from. In addition to all this, you can specify custom hard drive partitioning. As standard you get integrated Intel GMA X4500HD graphics, but discrete nVidia Quadro 160M graphics with 256MB of memory is available as well. You can also choose whether to have ExpressCard slots or PC Card slots, which is handy if you use legacy PC Card devices such as HSDPA modems.

Of course you could have this functionality integrated and if you do so you'll get HSDPA capable of 7.2Mbps, the fastest speed currently available. As for Wi-Fi you can select either Dell's own wireless modules, including either 802.11b/g or Draft N, or Intel's own Wireless-N capable modules. Wired Ethernet is, of course, of the Gigabit variety. All systems come with a three year basic warranty, as opposed to the one year you'd normally get on a consumer notebook and this obviously contributes to the higher than normal price.

Andy C

October 24, 2008, 5:51 pm

Nice video review but can it really be as great as you say it is? Are there no negatives at all?. Ive been looking at this laptop for a while now and its a choice between this or the dell precision m2400, has anyone got any thoughts on which is best?

Geoff Richards

October 24, 2008, 6:40 pm

Hi Andy C,

Our Andy V is out of the office until next week but I will make sure he responds here to answer your question.

Geoff Richards

Publishing Manager


October 27, 2008, 12:52 am

I had many laptop in my hands but hard to say anything really bad about E6400. I got it a few weeks ago with 9 cell battery, slice battery, Vista 64bit and basically everything you can get from Dell. I still like more D630 where a 9 cell battery is in the front and works well as a palm rest for me. Slice battery is a great idea but it adds weight of course and make the whole laptop really thick - you can forget about putting it in 14" sleeve. I had some problems with the finger print reader and preboot authentication and had to disable it because I have seen a few times a blue screen in Vista. I haven't tried it again after latest bios update tho. The last think but not so important are built-in speakers I think they could install something more power.


November 10, 2008, 5:53 pm

This laptop is almost perfect. but i really dissappointed with the review published here for its accuracy. The laptop does not support MS/ MS Pro media. I bought the laptop after reading the review here.

mjw 2

August 15, 2009, 12:13 pm

Would you please consider adding an additional performance test to your laptop testing? I think it would be useful to list the measured temperature on the underside of each laptop (at 50% load) to gauge whether or not the laptop would actually be cool enough to rest on the lap - let's call it the "crotch comfort factor". It seems that no laptop reviewers do this sort of test today, but surely a major point of a "laptop" should be that you can work with it for long periods of time resting on your lap without having to have a fan cooler in between!


August 17, 2009, 7:16 pm

I got this laptop 6 monts ago, and I still miss my old one. Beside the keyboard - superb in every aspects - there's not much shining here. The touchpad and stick are extermely difficult to use. The speed is on par with what one can expect, same for the display. It is quiet most of the time, running outlook & word on windows XP at least. It is more heavy than advertised (mine is 2,5kg). The design is really nothing special. The main issue comes from wifi reception. While my fujitsu, old dell and macbook show excellent signal strenght, the e6400 is getting a low to very low signal, and suffers from frequent disconnect.

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