LCD: Matte but Mediocre

Back to a look specifically at the E6410, here's how the LCD panel rates. We like the resolution, we like the maximum brightness, but the contrast rates near the bottom of our charts and as a result the colors look washed out. Matte doesn't have to be low contrast (i.e. the MacBook Pro 15 has a good matte panel), but apparently high quality LCDs are only needed in mobile workstations, MacBook Pros, and a few select other laptops (including the XPS 15's 1080p panel).

Laptop LCD Quality - Contrast

Laptop LCD Quality - White

Laptop LCD Quality - darkblue

Laptop LCD Quality - Color Accuracy

Laptop LCD Quality - Color Gamut

Temperatures and Noise

There's not a whole lot to say in regards to temperatures and noise. With only integrated graphics, the E6410 doesn't get particularly hot or loud. The CPU temperatures under load reached a maximum of 76C, and noise levels ranged from 30dB at 12" (the limit of my SPL meter) at idle and light loads to as much as 34dB with a maximum load on the CPU and GPU. In other words, if you were to use the E6410 in a meeting, your typing would be far more obnoxious than the noise from the fan.

Performance: Intel's Outgoing Calpella Platform One Year Later...
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  • G-Man - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    Hey Jarred,

    thanks for your review. If I may, I have a question: How do you normally decide on what laptops to review? I'm guessing you have to prioitise, so is there a consensus that you mostly review laptops that are either equipped with new technology (like the first optimus laptops) or laptops that you somehow know are going to be highly recommended (like the recent XPS 15)?

    Also, are there any plans on reviewing Vostro? I recently bought a Vostro 3500 with core i3 and 2gb ram for something around the equivalent of $ 400, which I thought was pretty nice.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    Mostly, it's whatever we can get our hands on. ASUS is generally willing to send out their latest and greatest, as is Dell, but even they tend to be selective. If they don't think we're likely to give a reasonably favorable review, they're less likely to send a unit our way. At least, that's my experience after three years of laptop reviews.

    In this particular instance, Intel wanted to make sure I had an "Intel reference laptop" for times when I might want to compare, say, AMD IGP vs. Intel IGP, or old Intel vs. new Intel. So when they asked if I was interested, naturally I said sure. They offered a ThinkPad but as I mentioned, I wanted to play with a Latitude just as a change of pace. This review was obviously lower priority... basically, get it done before Sandy Bridge ships. Dell was also a little concerned with the review, as it's not what they'd deem their "best foot forward".

    If I have the luxury of getting numerous laptops, I also try to prioritize on the stuff I think people will want to read/buy. A new technology is more interesting than "yet another standard Arrandale laptop". In the case of the XPS 15, I moved that ahead of a couple other laptops I've had longer (like this Latitude and the Acer 5551G). Toss in Dustin and Vivek and we get a fair selection of laptops reviewed all told. Now if only we could get Sony and HP to send us more stuff... Dustin has the Envy 17 now, but we're about three months late on that one. :-\
  • QChronoD - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    Is there somewhere on the site that we can send in suggestions for reviews/stories that we'd like to see? If you had several things in the backlog, maybe have us vote on which we'd be more interested in...

    On that note, please bug ASUS to send you guys one of the new U36's as soon as they can. From the press release, it looks like it'll be a direct competitor to the Air, only with a much faster cpu.

    I'm looking for a new super light laptop that I can carry all day when I'm at school, and it just jumped to the top of my xmas money shopping list.
  • jgrunhut - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link


    If you do have any pull with Dell, I would also love it if you reviewed the Vostro 3400/3500. I purchased the 3400 back in June and am mostly happy with it. It was definitely one of the best relatively thin/light laptops available at the time. The only problem, which seems very common, is that once the fan spins up to its medium setting, it doesn't want to return to its lower levels. Hopefully, if you get to review this model then maybe Anandtech can bring more media attention and push Dell to fix it sooner.

    The only other issue with this laptop is the poor monitor. While I love the matte finish, the vertical viewing angles are absolutely terrible.

  • fabarati - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    I got a 3500 for my mother.

    Good build quality, good keyboard, pretty good touchpad, looks decent (it's the red one), typical 15.6" 1366x768 screen (i.e. not very good), but matte.

    Battery life is good, there was little bloatware on it and it has a good port selection, save that it lacks firewire. It has express card, though, so you can just get a firewire card (we did).

    It's a bit on the heavy side, but I'm comparing it to my brothers Macbook pro 15 (core i7).

    Prices are good (well, we got the basic one when it was released), and for regular use, the intel igp is enough.

    Compared to consumer laptops for the same price, you may lose a bit of performance (higher clocked cpu or a dedicated gpu), but the improved build quality, battery life and keyboard more than makes up for it.

    Too bad on the display, though.
  • fabarati - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    I would like to point out that the 3300/3400/3500/3700 reintroduced magnesium alloy chassis to the main vostro line, accounting for the good build quality. It also uses aluminium (note the extra i, yanks) panels and fairly high quality plastics.
  • mschira - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    'nough said!
  • jasperjones - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    On pricing: I think what makes Latitude and Vostro laptops attractive to consumers is the Dell outlet (you gotta use the coupons which are floating around regularly). E.g., I got a refurbished E6410 with i5-520m, WXGA+, 250GB 7200rpm HDD, 4GB, Intel IGP, Win 7 Pro x64, Bluetooth, 6300agn and some other stuff for $709 out the door (that included ~9% NY state tax). Given you still get the 3-year warranty, this is a mightily attractive price imo.

    Two minor things:
    - I also had performance issues prior to doing a clean install. Apart from a clean install, the A05 BIOS also helped. The A06 BIOS (released today) promises a number of additional fixes as well as performance improvements. E.g., what bothered me is the slow POSTing of the E6410, the A06 BIOS seems to have fixed this.
    - Probably our opinions differ here but my primary complaint about the E6410 is that the blue status LEDs are waaay too bright, they really bother me in low light.
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    Your point on the Dell Outlet is dead-on. I got a Latitude E4200 ultralight for a friend for $690 (they start at $1700 new) with a three-year warranty. Every Outlet order I've placed is indistinguishable from new product.

    I've just started working on some E6410s here, and like most Dell Latitudes, they're strong, well-built, and the Core i5 is fast. I own a ThinkPad T400 myself that's been souped to maximum performance, but considering Lenovo's slow slide in quality control standards, an E6410 would be my choice if I was in the market, rather than the T410.
  • Zap - Thursday, December 2, 2010 - link

    Yup yup, I'm also a happy Dell Outlet customer. I picked up a Dell Latitude 13 with SU7300 CPU for $451 out the door. Mine has a big green REFURBISHED sticker on the bottom, some sticker residue on the bottom and the lid may be a hair warped, plus it showed up with a stripped screw on the bottom, but I'm still reasonably happy with it.

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