Pros As a Field Service Technician for Dell and others I have seen first hand what a great product Dell has come up with in E Latitudes. Cable routing, LCD hinges, maintenance accessibility from the bottom are excellent. 8 GB mem/Vista 64-bit drivers!
Cons Should have a higher-resolution screen option available. Keyboard still too springy.
Summary Cable routing to minimize failures there is crucial to any laptop's durability--this one has that in spades. Even unused wireless antenna cables have clips to hold the ends. Battery life is especially good with the LED backlight screen. More recent LED backlight screens are brighter than the earlier ones in my experience. These LCDs also have a distinct advantage of not having the added LCD failure point that the CCFL LCDs do--the inverter board.
You really must hold one of these in your hands--E6400 and E6500 models are very robust and solid.
I would still like to have Dell laptop keyboards with a more solid feel...still too springy for my taste.
Overall this is a great value, especially if you get one from the outlet.
Always add Complete Care to your laptop warranty coverage, Dell is far more lenient shipping replacement parts if something does not meet your specifications. One recent customer had his whole system replaced with a refurbished system after he left on top of his vehicle, it fell off and another driver ran over it.
Why Dell does not make this Complete Care option more visible to customers is beyond me--it is a great deal.
Pros metal body feels great, every think is well put together
pretty good performance
back lit keyboard is the best
Cons dells control software is a tad disjointed, but so is all laptop control software
smart card reader software doesn't work properly
Summary i am a university student and did not want the typical plastic "home" range of laptops so i headed over to the "business section, and the new latitude was it, slim llight and WAY better looking than the XPS and studio 15 (iMHO)
the dell control software is not quite write as you still need to use the vista controls for some things and the dell software for other things. and i upgraded to the intel wireless card, and that means that you need to use the intel software for that, so thats 3 different pieces of software you have to navigate.
the battery life even with the 6 cell is outstanding.
Pros Good Keyboard, Good Looks. Good Speed.
Cons 1. BAD speakers. To listen to the youtube videos you will have to put your ears to the speaker.
2.The hinges are claimed to be the best. But they are just about average. Same as vostro/old Latitude.
3. No Memory Stick reader.
Summary Even though you think you are buying the best of the lot, in the end you will feel that you have been short-changed.Dell solved the hinge problem by replacing the unit. The hinge of the new notebook is much better!
Updated on Mar 27, 2009
Pros Lots of features. I got it with P9500, 250GB HD, 2GB ram, bluetooth, back lit keyboard, webcam, smart card reader, 9 cell battery, WIFI 5300. It also has an eSata port which is very nice for moving massive data.
Cons Sluggish. Wakes from hibernation like it drank an entire bottle of Jack Daniels even when all applications closed. Hot. Heavy. Gap between bottom and top panel captures finger nails. No SD card reader. Dell security software problems!!
Summary Like it because it has a nice classic black aesthetic. Lots of features. More then many other laptops out there now. The back lit keyboard is great. It has already come in handy while traveling in the evening.
The bad......I cannot believe how poorly this thing wakes from hibernation. It can take minutes. That is not an exaggeration either. I put it into hibernation with no applications open except whatever stuff Dell and windows has open in the background. I am fairly certain but have not timed it exactly that restarting the computer from shut down works faster if not the same then waking it from hibernation. It acts like this right out of the box! I have another system with Vista ultimate with less specs than this E6400 and it wakes from hibernation even with lots apps open at the time of hibernation many many times faster then restarting. I think that the dell security software may be to blame. I had problems with it to the point where I had to uninstall it and reinstall on the first night I owned it by Dell small business help recommendations. Somehow the security software or control point software created a never ending error loop requiring it to be removed from the computer and installed fresh to fix the problem. Havent seen software do that in a long long time, not even beta software.
I personally think that the Dell software interacts with the fingerprint reader and smart card reader like sleeping pills and alcohol causing Vista massive problems waking up from hibernation. It is really annoying. A computer should quickly wake from hibernation. If it doesnt whats the point.
This thing also gets hot for no reason. I thought that with all of the fancy battery saving technology this thing would not waste its batteries heating up while scripting in a simple editor. It gets hot! I think it may be the graphics card, but I thought it was suppose to switch it off when not using graphics. Something weird is going on with this thing. It will be nice on cold Wisconsin winter nights as it can double as a personal space heater.
It is heavy. Weighs a little less than my laptop 15.4 inch laptop I bought 4 years ago that also has a nine cell battery.
It seems to be missing an SD card reader even though it has a slot for it.
The DC power converter is nice and has a sleek profile. It is better designed then my past dell power converters.
The ports are all positioned in the optimal places for right handed users.
Havent tried the powered USB port to charge my cell phone/music player while the laptop is off, but that is going to be a nice feature if it works.
It does feel rather flimsy compared to my Inspiron 6000. I hope it take can being bumped into a wall, door, table leg, or floor without cracking.
I bought the damage protection plan and hope I dont have to use it.
I hope I can get this think working a lot more smoothly, because if I cant I am going to be very upset with dell.
Pros Looks nice, seems fairly fast. Nice features.
Cons Docking station DOES NOT support hot undock. DON'T USE IT. You risk damage to your data & (possibly) hardware. ALWAYS shutdown before undocking. See MS Technotes on undocking laptops. Control Point software is buggy & slow.
Summary I purchased the E6400 to replace my D630 ... initially I liked it, but quickly realized that it was NOT suitable at all. Way too many design flaws.
1. Docking station does not actually present itself as a docking station ... so Windows doesn't provide an undock option. If you undock while an external storage device is accessing, you WILL loose data. MS Technotes clearly state that you must perform an undock operation before actually removing the laptop from the dock.
2. Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) is WAY too sensitive ... light from the LCD panel effects it if reflected back (by rings, fingers, etc) and it starts pulsing.
3. Control point software is very very slow and quite buggy. Crashed more times than I could count.
4. No module bay battery available. Battery slice is available, but it's huge. Not suitable for the road warrior.
5. No module bay hard drive chassis available.
6. By default, very aggressive Wake On Lan settings are configured. This caused the laptop to wake up on ANY network activity directed at it. In most business (and consumer) network environments, this would cause the laptop to wake up within minutes of being shut down or being put into standby. This can be disabled, although it's not obvious and Dell support doesn't know about it.
After about 2 weeks of ownership, I returned the laptop to Dell for a refund. I'll stick with my D630 until the next Dell business laptop comes out. Hopefully they will have fixed the design flaws with the E series.