In the litter of refreshed Dell Latitude business laptops, the D410 is the runt--but by no means is it meek. On the strength of its new Intel Sonoma parts, the updated Latitude D410 raced through CNET Labs' benchmarks, earning our fastest mobile performance score to date for an ultraportable. With a reinforced frame and new features such as a Trusted Platform Module chip, the Latitude D410 is a speedy, secure, and smartly designed notebook for executives.
At 1.3 inches thick, the Latitude D410 is slightly stockier than its predecessor, the . Otherwise, the two laptops are about the same size, measuring 11 inches wide and 9.4 inches deep. Weighing 3.9 pounds, the Latitude D410 still falls within the range of ultraportable laptops.
Like with the desktop-replacement and thin-and-light D610, Dell has made some satisfying enhancements to the D410's design. For one, the lid's been reinforced to better protect the screen. The keyboard has also been made sturdier, resulting in a more solid feel as your fingers strike the keys; as with many ultraportables, the D410's keys may be too small for some users. The decently sized touch pad and pointing stick each have two matching mouse buttons; unfortunately, the touch pad's mouse buttons are somewhat cramped. Helpful status lights show when Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are activated. Finally, the D410 has a double dose of security: a Trusted Platform Module chip, which sits on the motherboard and serves as a virtual storage locker for your data, and a dedicated slot for smart cards, which can carry clandestine information such as passwords.
The system offers an average number of connectors, with Ethernet, modem, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, and one PC Card slot, as well as headphone and microphone jacks. If you're looking for an ultraportable with more built-in connections, check out the Sony VAIO VGN-T150P/L. Dell also sells a $219 Media Base which adds a parallel, video, serial, Ethernet, and two more USB 2.0 ports, in addition to a headphone jack.
You won't find the Latitude D410 on retail shelves or Web sites, as Dell sells the system only through its own Web site and toll-free number. CNET's Latitude D410 series review includes a discussion of the various configurations.
Though its $2,254 (as of April 2005) price is on the high side, our Latitude D410 test unit included a few standout components as well as some average parts. The unit featured a 2.0GHz Pentium M 760 processor, 512MB of 400MHz memory, an Intel 915GM chipset with an integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 900 engine that borrows up to 128MB of video RAM from the main memory, and a slow, 4,200rpm 40GB hard drive. Our test unit also included an external DVD/CD-RW drive that connects to the notebook via USB 2.0, as well as Intel's newest integrated 802.11a/b/g card.
In CNET Labs' tests, the Latitude D410 wrung every drop of speed from its Sonoma-class Pentium M processor and chipset, earning the best mobile performance score we've seen to date from a laptop of its size. The Latitude D410 surpassed other corporate and consumer ultraportables, such as the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc4010 and the Dell Inspiron 700m, by 9 percent or more, though both the nc4010 and the Inspiron 700m had slower processors and memory than the Latitude D410. Despite its exceptional performance in our tests, the Latitude D410 (and most of the other Sonoma-based laptops we've tested) did not deliver the explosive speed burst we'd hoped to see in Sonoma-based systems. The D410's 11.1V, 4,800mAh battery triumphed in our Labs' drain tests, lasting more than three and a half hours--at least 50 minutes longer than the nc4010's and 700m's much smaller cells.
Our Latitude D410 test unit shipped with a decent software package, including Windows XP Professional and Dell's OpenManage, a program that lets a company's IT manager monitor system stats, install software, and more from a remote location. The system also included the useful Sonic RecordNow 7.3 Deluxe, which takes care of disc-burning tasks, and CyberLink PowerDVD for viewing DVDs. As with many business systems, Dell doesn't bundle a productivity suite with the Latitude D410.
Dell backs the Latitude D410 with a long, three-year warranty that features onsite service. The company's 24/7, toll-free tech support line is available for the life of the laptop. Your Web support options depend on whether you're using the Latitude D410 for home or business use--Dell has different sites for each purpose--though both offer the same satisfying resources, including downloads and FAQs. And all users can access the handy forums, which are organized according to specific components and are moderated by Dell's own tech reps.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Dell Inspiron 700m
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M 745; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel Extreme Graphics 2 for Mobile (up to 64MB-shared); Fujitsu MHT2060AH 60GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 755; 512MB DDR SDRAM; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 915GM 128MB; Fujitsu MHT2040AH 40GB 4,200rpm
HP Compaq nc4010
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M 735; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Radeon IGP 350M 32MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K80 40GB 4,200rpm