We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Dell Inspiron 9400

£1,549 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Dell

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The design of the Inspiron 9400 is almost exactly the same as the 9200 and 9300, so the chassis is starting to look a bit dated. It's a sturdy desktop replacement, but a bit naff.

The design of the Inspiron 9400 is almost exactly the same as the 9200 and 9300, so the chassis is starting to look a bit dated. It's a sturdy desktop replacement, but compared with the styling of the Inspiron XPS, it's a bit naff.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

The 9400 is a world ahead of the 9300 as far as specifications are concerned, though. Gone is the Pentium M processor, replaced by the dual-core T2500 chip, seriously increasing the 9400's power and helping it to a WorldBench 5 score of 94. We've seen quicker overall results, but in our multitasking tests the Dell was second to none.

Operating system

Another difference between the 9400 and its predecessors is the choice of operating system – XP Home has been replaced by XP Media Center 2005 Edition, indicating a greater emphasis on making the 9400 an all-round entertainment centre. The screen is good, giving a sharp, colourful image, but we'd have liked to see a higher resolution than 1,440x900.

In terms of graphics, the 9400 really falls down – that onboard Intel processor simply isn't up to the standard established by ATI and nVidia. The frame rates we got in our Doom3 and Halo tests weren't very good at all. Believe us when we say that this laptop isn't for gaming. We suspect that a better graphics chip would have boosted the Inspiron's WorldBench 5 result.

Other than this disappointment, the 9400 is a decent model, with plenty of space on the hard drive, a decent DVD writer and good connectivity options, both wired and wireless. There's a newer version of Microsoft Works than the one Dell provides with this model, though, and the warranty isn't the best on offer.

Dell Inspiron 9400 Expert Verdict »

2GHz Intel T2500 dual-core processor
Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition
1GB DDR RAM
100GB hard drive
17in 1,440x900 TFT display
onboard Intel graphics processor
8x/8x/8x/2.4x/4x/4x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/+R DL/-RW/+RW) 24x/24x/10x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW) drive
802.11a/b/g facilities
Bluetooth
Microsoft Works 7.0
1-year collect-and-return warranty
391x290x44mm
3.5kg
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The build quality of the Dell is beyond reproach, but it isn't exactly a looker and there are plenty of better deals available.

  • Dell Inspiron 1720 power laptop PC

    Dell Inspiron 1720 power laptop PC

    Dell's Inspiron 1720 is a robust system available in seven colours besides black.

  • Dell Inspiron Mini 10v review

    Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

    The Dell Mini 10 netbook is also available as a cheaper version, the Dell Inspiron Mini 10v, starting at £199.

  • Apple MacBook Pro

    Apple MacBook Pro

    The 15.4in MacBook Pro is a similar size to the PowerBook G4 it replaces – and looks just as slim and sexy next to most Window-based laptops, with which it now shares its processor.

  • Dell Inspiron Mini 10 review

    Dell Inspiron Mini 10

    UPDATED 25/03/10. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook has been around in various guises for a while, and Dell recently updated the entry-level version of this netbook.

  • Mesh Elite Q9300 Pro budget desktop PC review

    Mesh Elite Q9300 Pro budget desktop PC

    The Mesh Elite Q9300 PRO is the first PC in our charts based on Intel’s latest generation of quad-core processors, and these chips are a big step forward.


IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK: Latest bargains on phones, tablets, laptops and more this...

IDG UK Sites

Tech trends 2015: 3D printing grows up

IDG UK Sites

10 mind-blowing Oculus Rift experiments that reveal VR's practical potential

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & other Black Friday tech offers