The Dell Latitude E6410 is a true business notebook computer – and an unseemly quick one at that

In a world filling with slim and thin and curvy models, the Dell Latitude E6410 has a square and solid build that wouldn’t have raised a brow ten or more years ago.

But we’re not going to knock the Dell’s utilitarian exterior. Such conservatism goes down well in business circles we’re sure, and despite the rigid construction, it remains quite totable at just under 2.3kg and 31mm thick. And those classic looks do have a certain timeless cachet.

So the Dell Latitude E6410 is far from being the lightest or slimmest laptop on the market, especially when you remember that this is a 14in-screen model, yet one weighing more like a 15-incher. But there are reasons why you must overlook the four-square looks and less than superwaif trim.

In short: build quality, battery life, feature set and sheer performance all rank as highly commendable. Especially the performance.

Where most laptops have taken Apple’s lead and forsaken the manual lid catch, Dell insists on fastening the Dell Latitude E6410’s top down with a firm press-to-release button. Mind, while that lid looks like a serious slice of brushed alloy, be aware that it’s a pretend metal finish formed from painted plastic.

There’s nothing fake about the Dell Latitude E6410's display though, in our sample’s case a 1440x900 LED-backlit with a matt anti-glare finish (1280x800 also available). This is a superb screen, shaming that found on costlier models on rivals with its crisp text definition, high maximum brightness level and good colour spread. 

And crucially – reflection-free and easy on the eyes in all lighting conditions, along with usable off-axis viewing angles.

The Dell Latitude E6410's keyboard isn’t bad either, a traditional rather than Scrabble-tile type, feeling reasonably solid with little in the way of centre flex. It’s backlit too, with only a little white-light bleed from between the tessellated keys.

In the middle sits a trackpoint stick steerer, with accompanying click keys between keyboard and regular trackpad. The latter is small but precise in its sensing, with soft clicking buttons that don’t require too much thumb contortion.

So how does the Dell Latitude E6410 perform? It’s not merely fast – it’s blindlingly fast. But before we dwell on lab benchmarks, it’s worth noting the useful range of ports lined along its four edges.

Like many other Dell machines, the Dell Latitude E6410 forsakes DVI and HDMI digital video outputs, in favour of the comparable DisplayPort connector. VGA is still there of course, for old projectors. Three USB 2.0 ports are joined by a combo eSATA/USB, while FireWire is supported on the right side with a mini 1394a port.

To its right is a DVD±RW drive that can be easily slid from the chassis.

NEXT PAGE: Our benchmark results >>

Our sample of Dell Latitude E6410 came with a six-cell removable battery which slotted in neatly without stretching from the rear like a hidden pier. In the MobileMark 2007 Productivuty test, we saw a runtime of 6 hours 21 minutes, which is commendable in itself; but all the more impressive when you realise what CPU drives this notebook.

We saw three processor options on Dell’s site when we last checked: either an Intel Core i5-520M (2.4GHz), Core i5-540M (2.53GHz), or Intel Core i7-620M running at 2.66GHz.

With the nippiest processor on-board, the Dell Latitude E6410 reaped a real-life test score in WorldBench 6 of 127 points, making it the fastest laptop we’ve ever seen – and by a comfortable lead.

To give some context, until last year practically no laptops exceed 100-point WorldBench 6 scores, while even performance-tuned desktop PCs we see in our monthly sub-£750 charts tend to get scores ‘only’ in the 120-130 bracket.

Apple’s top-spec MacBook Pro 15in with the same processor and a hard disk was the previous fastest notebook we’ve seen, scoring 115 points in WorldBench 6.

The Dell Latitude E6410 was doubtless helped along to this jaw-dropping turn of speed by the use of a solid-state drive for storage. There are 7200rpm hard disk versions offered too, but this review sample had 256GB of Samsung SSD to make it fly.

Dazzling graphics are not often required for pinstriped users, although if you stretch the ‘business laptop’ definition to include scientific or lab use there’s more likely to be applications for slick 3D rendering. Dell offers a version of the Latitude E6410 with an nVidia NVS 3100M  graphics card with 512MB of RAM.

We tried the Dell Latitude E6410 notebook with just the integrated Intel graphics though, which proved capable of playing FEAR at an average framerate of 17fps at Max detail settings, rising to 28fps at High and 48fps at Medium.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>

Dell Latitude E6410: Specs

  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-620M
  • 4MB cache
  • 14.1in (1440 x 900) 16:10 matt anti-glare LED-backlit display
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
  • 256GB Samsung PM800 SSD
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • Intel GMA HD
  • DisplayPort, VGA
  • DVD±RW tray-load drive (removable)
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0 combo
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • Smart Card reader
  • backlit keyboard
  • underside dock connector
  • webcam
  • headphone out, mic in
  • six-cell 60Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 335 x 238 x 25-31mm
  • 2267g
  • 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-620M
  • 4MB cache
  • 14.1in (1440 x 900) 16:10 matt anti-glare LED-backlit display
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
  • 256GB Samsung PM800 SSD
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • Intel GMA HD
  • DisplayPort, VGA
  • DVD±RW tray-load drive (removable)
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0 combo
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • Smart Card reader
  • backlit keyboard
  • underside dock connector
  • webcam
  • headphone out, mic in
  • six-cell 60Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 335 x 238 x 25-31mm
  • 2267g

OUR VERDICT

The Dell Latitude E6410 is a solid 14in business laptop with an incredible turn of speed when decked out with the Core i7-620M and 256GB SSD. Prices may start at £949, but the version we tested with the best processor and storage options gave a bottom line price of £2129 inc VAT. But if you want a classic business laptop that is unfeasibly fast yet tame to the touch, look no further than this Dell Latitude.

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