Dell Latitude E6410 User Review: Screen, Speaker, Keyboard and Touchpad

November 10, 2010 by John Ratsey Reads (263,377)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.71
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Screen
Device Manager shows the display as SEC5442 (Samsung). Discussion among the E6400 owners suggested that the Samsung was the least good of the displays used on the E6400 and I was worried about getting a display that was inferior to the LG panel on my E6400. However, side-by-side comparison of my E6400 and E6410 revealed no substantial difference in the quality of the displays. There was a slight difference in the colour balance but this is adjustable in the graphics driver. So far, I have not noticed any dead or stuck pixels. While the display does not seem as bright, at full brightness, as the E6400 display did when new, it is as bright as the E6400’s display now is and I suspect that Dell reduced the maximum brightness in one of the E6400 BIOS updates. The viewing angles are similar and are typical of this type of display with good horizontal viewing angles but limited vertical viewing angles.

Comparison of displays: E6410 with SEC5442 (left) and E6400 with LPL0140 (right):

The E6410 includes an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the display brightness. However, I have turned it off because I find the automatic variation of display brightness to be distracting. However, Dell have moved the sensor from the bottom display bezel to the top where it may be better able to sense the ambient light instead of the brightness of the user’s clothes.

Speakers
Dell claims that the E6410 has “high quality” speakers. An initial side-by-side comparison with the E6400 paying the same music did not reveal any major improvement on the E6410. However, after watching a DVD on the E6410 with audio through the internal speakers my conclusion is that there may be an improvement. Closer inspection of the grilles on each side of the keyboard reveals two holes where there used to be one and the bigger one is slightly oval and the full width of the grille. This is slightly bigger than on the E6410. There is still a distinct lack of bass and far too much treble although the maximum volume is sufficient to serve a group of people watching something on the screen. The IDT Audio driver has acquired a few enhancements since the E6400 was released but these cannot compensate for the physical imitations of the hardware. Ideally, Dell would have added a woofer to the E6410.

Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard is identical to that provided in the E6400 (and is interchangeable – my E6410 is now home to an E6400 backlit keyboard).The consensus among the E6400 owners is that the backlit keyboard is more solid and provides a better typing experience (among the best on any notebooks) than the non-backlit keyboard. My main complaint is with the layout. I would have liked to see the PgUp and PgDn more accessible and use the two empty spaces just in front of the right shift key (which Dell has done on the smaller E series). Reaching to the back of the keyboard is a little tedious. If Dell had done that then they wouldn’t have needed to make the Num Lock and Scroll Lock Fn+F4 and Fn+F5. To the ledt of the power button (which illuminates when on) is a Latitude On button, which did not exist on the E6400.

The touchpad is a medium-sized 66mm x 39mm Dell branded Alps touchpad which appears to be identical to that on the E6400. There is no space for a larger one because of the buttons for the trackpoint. However, the touchpad is reasonably smooth to use and the buttons have excellent action, with long travel but reasonably low force needed.  I’m not a trackpoint user but its action seems to be smooth. There are many options in the touchpad software with a new optional feature being multi-finger gestures.

The status indicator lights are above the keyboard and are easier to monitor than lights on the edge of the palm rest. The status lights are not visible when the computer is closed so Dell has provided two more lights on the outside. The power light shines blue when the computer is on or flashes when it is sleeping. The battery light indicates if the battery is charging.


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