For testing our system came supplied with the entry-level processor, the 2.26GHz P8400, with support from 2GBs of RAM, a 160GB 5,400rpm hard drive and integrated graphics. As standard all systems come with a six-cell 55Whr battery and this was what was used for testing. Other options include a nine-cell 85WHr battery, which combined with an optional 12-cell "battery slice" that sits under the machine, is the source of the much publicised 19 hour battery life claim Dell used in its launch headline.
We, of course, couldn't be less interested in such headline grabbing claims but nonetheless the E6400 delivers very impressive results in MobileMark 2007 battery tests. In the multitasking Productivity suite it managed four hours and 45 minutes, around 15 minutes more than both the Samsung Q210 and Dell Vostro 1310. In the lower intensity Reader test this increased to over five hours, clocking up a super five hours and 35 minutes. DVD playback meanwhile, with screen brightness at maximum, was a still impressive two hours and 37 minutes.
Suffice to say, then, battery life is very good indeed and would no doubt be better when using Dell's extended battery mode, something we unfortunately didn't have the time to test. Application performance was also perfectly acceptable. Our system came loaded with 64-bit Vista Business, which accounts for some differences in PCMark Vantage over similarly specified systems, but nonetheless our in-house testing (run using a 32-bit install) show the E6400 performs perfectly well. Indeed, unless you have some special need, the "entry-level" processor should prove more than adequate for 90 per cent of a company's workforce.
A powerful, flexible, sturdy and well designed portable all-rounder, the Dell Latitude E6400's design and functionality caters very well to the needs of a wide range of users, be they relatively undemanding users who want something practical and long lasting, to power users that need to multitask extensively while on the move. Throw in a pleasing but serious aesthetic design and it becomes very easy to recommend.