Dell Latitude E6400 14.1in Business Notebook - Display and Security

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


As with previous Latitude's you also have the option to use either a trackpoint or a touchpad and like the keyboard, both are excellent. Indeed, the trackpoint in particular has seen a bit of an upgrade thanks to a slightly concave shape as opposed to the convex "nipple" trackpoints of previous models. Its three buttons, the middle one being for scrolling, are nice and firm and hinged well to make them easy to use. Likewise the touchpad's buttons have a pleasingly crisp mechanism and the touchpad itself is smooth, well proportioned and features both vertical and horizontal scroll zones.

Things only get better when you look at the screen. Standard configurations feature a regular 1,280 x 800 display but, if your budget stretches far enough, the 1,440 x 900 LED backlit panel we have here is worth serious consideration. Not only is the desktop acreage vastly superior, the screen itself is very sharp, bright and has decent horizontal viewing angles. This makes it very comfortable to use for prolonged periods and needless to say it also features an anti-glare, not glossy, finish so reflections aren't an issue.

Dell hasn't skimped on the security options, either. Like pretty much any business notebook worth its salt, there's a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for secure encryption and authentication and in the E6400 you get both a Smart Card reader on the side and a "contactless" RFID Smart Card reader (ala Oyster Card) just to the right of the touch pad. You can also specify a fingerprint reader, though this is an optional extra. All this is ably managed by Dell's ControlPoint software, which makes it relatively painless to manage boot, hard drive and Windows passwords as well fingerprints and all the other security functions available.

Indeed, ControlPoint is a surprisingly well put together piece of software. Among its duties include power management and unlike similar manufacturer applications that simply replicate native Windows functionality, ControlPoint throws in some features of its own.

These include a handy 'Extended Battery Life' mode that enables a number of effective battery saving elements. These include: disabling Aero, reducing colour depth to 16-bit, reducing display refresh rate to 40Hz, turning off all security devices and disabling both your optical drive and the FireWire port. This mode also enables the integrated ambient light sensor, thus adapting screen brightness according to available light.

It's these kinds of touches that obviously separate this from your ordinary consumer notebook, though the E6400 does still feature some consumerist touches. There are, for instance, dedicated volume control buttons just above the keyboard, including a mute button, and stereo speakers, though they're predictably abject. There's also the option for a webcam making video conferencing a possibility.

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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