Dell Latitude D400 series review: Dell Latitude D400 series

Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
Windows XP Home; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Hitachi DK23EA-60 60GB 4,200rpm

We recently tested an updated version of the Dell Latitude D400 with a 1.7GHz Pentium M. The new version lasted only 14 minutes longer than its predecessor, but at much more than three hours, it still achieves good battery life. However, compared to competing notebooks, especially the IBM ThinkPad X31, the two Dells come up short. Still, the Latitude D400's battery life is good enough to keep you free from watching the clock in anticipation of its battery's death. For frequent fliers, we recommend buying a second battery ($79).

Battery life (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 battery life in minutes
IBM ThinkPad X31
270
Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
223
Dell Latitude D400 (1.7GHz)
220
Dell Latitude D400 (1.3GHz)
206


To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

Dell Latitude D400
Windows XP Pro; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 Graphics Controller-0 (up to 64MB shared); Hitachi DK23EB-40 40GB 5,400rpm

Dell Latitude D400
Windows XP Pro; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel 82852/82855 Graphics Controller-0 (up to 64MB shared); IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 5,400rpm

IBM ThinkPad X31
Windows XP Home; 1.4GHz Intel Pentium M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Hitachi DK23EB-40 40GB 5,400rpm

Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
Windows XP Home; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Hitachi DK23EA-60 60GB 4,200rpm

Dell provides an impressive assortment of support options with the Latitude D400, including lifetime 24/7 telephone support and a standard three-year parts-and-labor warranty, with next-business-day onsite service. Dell's Web site offers a wealth of software patches, upgrades, drivers, and BIOS updates, along with product forums and a decent searchable knowledge base. By entering your Dell Service Tag number on the site, you're given a filtered view of information that pertains specifically to your system.

Finally, the printed and online Latitude D400 manuals are thorough and easy to follow.