Product: Dell Latitude E5400Manufacturer: DellMSRP: $1299
as configured (Varies by configuration)Introduction
Dell has recently revamped their Latitude line of business laptops, releasing them under the "E-Series" name. Here we take a look at the portable productivity targeted laptop, the Latitude E5400. We're trying to find out if this is going to be the computer that your company buys to deploy to the grunts such as yourself. Let's take a look.Specs3 Year Basic Limited Warranty and 3 Year NBD On-Site Service
Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 (2.00GHz) 2M L2 Cache, 800Mhz FSB
Vista Business with Windows XP Professional downgrade
Mobile IntelÂ® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
Dell Wirelessâ„¢ 1397 802.11b/g Mini Card
14.1 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD Panel
2.0GB, DDR2-800 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS
90W Slim A/C Adapter (3-pin)
160GB Hard Drive, 5400RPM
6 Cell Battery
If you're accustomed to notebooks coming in a relatively small sized box, you are in for a surprise. The E5400 arrived in a box that seems better suited for a full sized desktop PC. Now I know where all of the saved Studio Hybrid packaging materials went. Within the main box there are three sub-boxes that contain the E5400 Laptop and accessories. The packaging reminded me of my high school egg drop competition, so there should be little chance of shipping damage to the laptop.
After all of the cardboard ripping, you'll end up with the Latitude E5400 itself, a beefy looking dock/port replicator, and two power adapters (one for the laptop, one for the dock).
The black box design is clearly aimed at use within business environment, and it won't be winning any style points in the design department. It also has heft. Dell lists the thickness as 1.46-inches, with a weight of 5.5 lbs. Even though this is the 14.1â€ edition, it weighs as much or more than many 15.4â€ laptops. That's certainly something that detracts from the mobility aspect of the E5400.
One of the requirements of any business-oriented laptop is that it must be dockable. Business travelers are often on the go, and it is important for such users to be able to quickly upload any viruses that they've picked up on the road to their company network. Just kidding. The E5400 dock is simple to use. You simply align the laptop with the dock using the molded in alignment marks, and then you firmly press the laptop in place. The dock has its own separate power supply that serves to provide all power needs for recharging and docked operation. The dock expands your port options with the following:
5 USB 2.0 Ports
1 eSATA Port
The dock / port replicator is one of the great plusses of going with a business laptop. With it, you'll be able to hook up everything you need at the desk with a simple docking operation.
The keyboard layout is exactly as I prefer. It has standard orientation for the Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, Insert, Delete grouping. For some reason Dell moved to a really dumb side-bar layout for these keys in their consumer line of notebooks. The Latitude E5400 doesn't have this handicap, which should make working with documents incrementally more efficient.
I also noticed that the E5400 has a rougher surface texture on all of the palm surfaces near the keyboard. This feature will probably give the E5400 a longer wear-life before characteristic shiny hand-polished spots start showing up.
Business users want a laptop that will allow them to get some work done while on the road (or maybe to watch a DVD on a flight). The E5400 isn't a laptop that you'd want to play demanding 3D games on, so that automatically cuts out the video card as a major power hog. During our testing, we found that the E5400 gives about 1 hour and 20 minutes of battery life under the most demanding conditions. This torture test was done using Orthos in blend mode, testing both the CPU and RAM at 100%. Brightness was also set to max, making this a worst-case scenario. On the other side of the spectrum, the battery lasted a relatively long 6 hours and 20 minutes with the computer at idle & minimum brightness. Business users should expect to get between 3-4 hours of genuine Excel fun crunching their spreadsheets.
The E5400 took a modest 1 minute and 48 seconds to crunch Pi to 1 million digits using the Super Pi benchmark. This is below the mark set by some of the other notebooks we've tested (such as the XPS m1530 I'm typing this on right now), but it fares well compared to mid-range consumer laptops. Again, this is a productivity laptop with a nod towards portability given its 14-inch size.
The look of the E5400 is purely business. You won't be catching any envious glances at your company-issued goods. It simply blends in to the corporate look and says "That TPS report is waiting to be completed, Ben."
The Dell E5400 laptop is a solid business notebook that, combined with the dock, provides a complete computing platform with myriad connectivity options and sufficient battery life to get a good chunk of work done while on the road or in the air.