Two years ago I bought a Latitude E6400 and shared my findings (see my review here). It has provided two years of trouble-free service in a range of countries and conditions. However, the time has come for me to consider replacing it with something newer and, hopefully, faster and the logical contender for this role is the E6410. Fortunately Dell has had the wisdom to keep the 16:10 display for this model).
However, I was not desperate for a replacement and I could afford to wait until stock from Dell Outlet arrived in UK. Contrary to most computer-related goods, the cost of a configured E6410 ordered direct from Dell UK is higher than the equivalent E6400 from two years ago. Finally, discounted UK E6410s started to show up in late August 2010. I found one on ebay that met most of my requirements including being red. I’ve liked red ever since owning a Samsung Q35 and more recently purchased a red Dell Latitude E4300. So how does the E6410 compare to its predecessor? Read on …
The specifications of my Dell Latitude E6410 are:
- Processor: Intel i5-540M CPU (2.53GHz with TurboBoost to 3.06GHz, 3MB cache)
- Chipset: Intel QM57
- Screen: 14.1 inch anti-glare 1440 x 900 WXGA+ LED Backlit
- Memory: 2 x 1GB DDR3-1066 PC-8500 RAM (Nanya, 7-7-7-20)
- Storage: 160GB 5400rpm HDD (WD 1600BEVT)
- Optical Drive: 9.5mm thick SATA (Hitachi LG Data Storage HLDS GU10N)
- Wireless: Intel 6200 802.11a/b/g/n
- Graphics: Intel HD
- UK keyboard
- ExpressCard slot
- Creative HD web camera and microphone
- Battery: 90Wh 9-cell
- Standard E series 90W PSU
- Dimensions: 335 x 244 x 33mm (including feet about 2mm long) or 13.2″ x 9.6″ x 1.3″
- Advertised weight: Dell’s UK website states “1.93 kg (4.25 lb) with 4 cell battery”
- Actual weight: 2.42kg / 5.33 lbs (with UMA graphics, 9 cell battery, HDD and optical drive)
- Travel weight: 2.88kg / 6.33lbs (with standard 90W PSU and 1m mains cable)
- Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
Deciding on the configuration is part of the fun of buying a Dell, while buying Dell Outlet stock requires consideration about where to make compromises. I didn’t want the i7-620M CPU since it various reports suggest a tendency to generate more heat and have higher idle power consumption. I’m not into 3D games so I prefer the lower power consumption of the Intel GPU. The LED backlit WXGA+ screen is a must while a backlit keyboard is desirable. RAM and HDD can be easily upgraded.
Build and Design
Overall, the E6410 is very similar to the E6400 and uses what Dell calls “tri-metal” construction. There was not much to improve on the E6400’s design and the visible changes are relatively small. The top of the front edge of the E6410’s palm rest is slightly bevelled and a rim around the SD card slot results in a card in the slot sitting flush with the surface (suggestion to Dell: Provide an SD to micro-SD adaptor instead of the plastic filler). The display bezel has acquired two small rubber bumpers in the top corners, a very small bumper on the left side of the latch and there are two new bumpers behind the keyboard to support the bottom of the display when closed. Hopefully, these will prevent the cosmetic damage that occurred on the E6400 when the display bezel rubbed on the keyboard surround during transport. A less visible change is that the base of the E6410 contains larger air vents than provided on the E6400.
Bottoms of E6410 (left) and E6400 (right). Note the more generous air vents.
The initial impression on picking up the E6410 is that it is a solid as the E6400. My E6400 also gave me an initial impression of robustness which two years of travel and heavy use has confirmed the impression. However, whereas my E6400’s hinges had a small amount of travel when open (which has increased with time), the E6410’s hinges are still (after 3 weeks usage) very tight with no looseness when open and pushing back on the open display lifts the front of the computer.
The display back is metal alloy. I’ve tried pushing and twisting but I can’t get any ripples on the display. The computer’s base is a single sheet of metal that is held in place by one screw, which vastly simplifies access to the main components. The battery latches in snugly with no wiggle and has an accessible power gauge. My E6410 computer had originated from Dell Outlet. I therefore checked carefully for any problems and noticed that the right end of the LED cover (which is located immediately behind the keyboard) didn’t clip down. A call to Dell’s support resulted in a replacement part being delivered next day and there was a follow-up call the day after to check that the problem was resolved (comparison of the two parts revealed a broken hook).
Removal of the base revealed no major changes in the layout with the various add-on slots being in the same locations but the cooling system has changed. There is no longer the need for the extension of the heat pipe to cover the northbridge although there is an extension of the heat sink to cover some chip near the battery.
The engine room: E6410 (left) and E6400 (right).
Ports and Features
The E6410 has the same selection of ports as the E6400 including four USB 2.0 ports of which one is a USB/eSATA combo port; mini Firewire; gigabit Ethernet, VGA port; a DisplayPort and, optionally, a modem port).The E6400’s USB PowerShare feature, in which one port could charge an external device while the computer is off, has been dropped on the new model. The USB ports are stacked as two pairs so any fat devices could block two ports. There’s an SD / MMC card slot which supports SDHC and purchasers can select to have either an Express Card or a PC Card slot. The photos below show the E6410 on top of the E6400 for ease of comparison.
Back side, left to right: Modem port (blanked off on my model), network port, DisplayPort connector and power socket (identical to the E6400). Note that hidden behind the 9-cell battery is a SIM card slot for the optional WWAN module.