The Latitude E6410 is the latest in a long line of business notebooks from Dell. Sporting a wide range of Intel Core processor options, Intel integrated and NVIDIA NVS 3100M dedicated graphics, and two display options. In this review we see how this Dell business notebook compares to others already on the market.
Our Dell Latitude E6410 Specifications:
Build and Design
The Dell Latitude E6410 has a very modern look and feel, with a few changes this generation to give a nod towards past models. The E6400 brought the latest body style, with a black alloy shell. The E6410 this time around keeps the body style, but switches back to the gunmetal gray coloring scheme which was found on the D630 and D620 before it. The finish has a pseudo-brushed appearance (painted, not actual brushed metal like on the HP EliteBook) that seems to resist fingerprints more than the real thing. The lower half of the notebook keeps the black metal design, with a large service panel that lets you access everything in the notebook by removing a single screw.
Inside the E6410 the look is matte black on everything besides the keyboard and model lettering. Compared to what you might find in a consumer model, there are no glossy or reflective surfaces besides the small chrome lettering on the Dell branding logo. This is nice if you use your notebook in brightly lit areas where reflections can be distracting. It also means that smudges and fingerprints won't be a problem from day-to-day use.
The Latitude E6410 chassis felt very well built and resisted any flexing in the usual spots. The palmrest and touchpad showed no signs of sag under heavy prodding. The keyboard directly over the optical drive stayed firm, even though most notebooks do show some signs of weakness in this area. Grabbing the notebook by the palmrest and carrying it around didn't cause any twisting or creaking noises. With the notebook closed the screen cover gave above average protection for the screen and should prevent any keyboard key marks on from imprinting on the LCD after being transported in a backpack loaded with other items. With the notebook open it took a good amount of pressure applied to the back of the cover before it showed any ripples or distortions on the display.
Ports and Features
The Latitude E6410 is packed with a ton of connections, including three USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA/USB combo port, VGA and DisplayPort-out, audio jacks, LAN, and FireWire-400. Other features include an optical drive, SDHC-card reader, and a SmartCard reader.
Front: SDHC-card slot
Rear: LAN, DisplayPort-out, power jack
Left: Kensington lock slot, VGA-out,
one USB 2.0, eSATA/USB, SmartCard reader
Right: ExpressCard/54 slot, FireWire-400, optical drive, audio jacks, wireless on/off, two USB 2.0 ports.
Screen and Speakers
The Dell offers two display options with the 14.1-inch Latitude E6410. The base screen is a WXGA 1280x800 resolution panel, while the step up-which is what our review unit came with-is a WXGA+ 1440x900 panel. Both panel offerings have matte surfaces, instead of the glare-prone glossy displays. The higher resolution lets you display more in the screen and is greatly preferred if you do anything from surfing the web to typing documents. In our tests the screen performed about average in terms of color saturation and contrast, falling behind compared to some of the nicer panels we have seen on consumer notebooks. With our light meter we measured an average contrast ratio of 140:1, which is well below most consumer panels.
This isn't far from other business notebooks though. Peak brightness measured in at 336nit, which is great for viewing outdoors in partially shaded areas or under bright office lighting. Backlight brightness was even across the panel, with only a 20nit spread between center and the left and right sides. No backlight bleed was seen around the edges or at the corners either. Viewing angles were average, with the vertical viewing range spanning from 15-20 degrees tilted forward or back. Horizontal viewing angles were better, with colors staying true to 60-75 degrees off-center.
The Latitude E6410 features narrow stereo speakers located on each side of the keyboard. For business use they were more than adequate, offering plenty of volume for listening to music in small to midsize rooms. Audio quality was average, with some midrange and good high notes. Bass was lacking, but this was a given without a subwoofer. External outputs include an analog headphone jack, which will work with most external speakers.
The Dell Latitude E6410 has a very comfortable LED backlit keyboard. The keyboard hasn't changed much from the previous generation, keeping the same look and feel, as well as the built-in pointing stick. The keyboard keys are jet-black with bright white lettering and have minimal cupping. The feel is similar to typing on a Chiclet style keyboard, but the keys don't have the same sharp cutoff like you might find on those types of keyboards. Typing pressure is minimal, with each press making a very mild click when the key is fully triggered. Compared to my Latitude D630, typing noise has been significantly reduced. Overall compared to the other business notebooks, the E6410's keyboard stacks up very well, and has an edge when it comes to lighting.
Performance and Benchmarks
System performance was great with the 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA NVS 3100M dedicated graphics with 512MB of video memory. Dell offers a wide range of performance options, including two graphics cards options; Intel GMA HD integrated and NVIDIA NVS 3100 dedicated with 512MB of VRAM. Hard drive options include a 5400 and 7200RPM models and a 128GB SSD. Our particular unit came with a 250GB 7200RPM Scorpio Black that was quick to boot and load applications, although not as fast as it might have been with an SSD.
For standard day to day use, the system worked flawlessly loading up web browsers or office productivity applications. For less than business uses, the system was great at playing HD movies, streaming HD video, and even the occasional game or two while the boss isn't looking. The NVS 3100M graphics card can handle itself well with consumer 3D applications, even though its focus is on business uses. For users who don't need a dedicated graphics card, or don't need the highest performance, it would be suggested to just go with Intel GMA HD integrated graphics for best battery life.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Heat and Noise
The Dell Latitude E6410 handled itself pretty well under stress, keeping heavy-contact areas like the palmrest and touchpad reasonable under heavy loads. At its peak, after a heavy run of benchmarks, we recorded a temperature of 96F on the bottom of the notebook. Fan noise during our tests stayed at reasonable levels, with the fan staying off or at a very low speed under a low load, and just above a whisper under a heavy load.
Dell was kind enough to include a higher-capacity 9-cell battery with our review unit, with the standard being a 60Wh 6-cell battery. We were pretty happy with our results, given the higher-end processor and graphics card configuration. With the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless on and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows set to the Balanced profile, the Latitude E6410 stayed on for 7 hours and 2 minutes. During the test we measured an average power consumption rate between 10-12 watts.
The Dell Latitude E6410 carries over the same look and feel as the E6400 before it, but it sticks to its roots by going back to the older gunmetal color seen on the D620 and D630 notebooks. Performance wise the Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA NVS 3100M graphics performed very well, handling everything that would be expected of a higher-end business notebook.
Build quality is fantastic with metal covers on top and bottom. Users looking to tinker with the insides will be happy to see a very user-friendly access cover, needing only one screw removed to open it up. Overall compared to the HP EliteBook 8440w and Lenovo ThinkPad T410, the Latitude E6410 holds its own and performs quite well. If you are cross shopping between models, it's hard not to recommend taking a peak at the Latitude E6410 and see if it fits your needs and budget.