Laptop review: Dell Latitude E6400

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Technology correspondent Jon Wilcox takes a look at the monolithic business notebook PC from Dell.

In August 2008, Dell announced a new family of Latitude notebook PCs. A replacement for the D-series introduced six years ago, the E-series features several models from the 12in E4200 through to the rugged 14in E6400 XFR. Targeted towards the business market, the new series has undergone a redesign and now features more than a passing resemblance to the 2001: A Space Odyssey monoliths.

Gadget Zone grappled with the standard (ie not rugged) version of the E6400, currently priced at £679 excluding VAT. Considering the general perception of business notebook PCs as grey and bland, the E6400’s brushed casing and hard-edges give the machine a very attractive look. It’s sleek and feels robust, though a little heavier than expected with a starting weight of just under 2kg (depending on the specification). It’s certainly a solid bit of kit. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor of up to 2.93GHz per core, and 2GB by default (though expandable to 8GB), the E6400 has more than power to chew through everyday business usage. The keyboard is also remarkably easy to get to grips with and includes a discreet between-key touchpoint cursor control that continues the concave ‘innie’ design that’s emerged in recent years.

The notebook also sports some neat touches and gadgetry that are increasingly found across a lot of business laptops, including an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen to suit the surrounding conditions.

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