Returning the Latitude E6400

This will probably be the last post I write with the Dell Latitude E6400 I purchased recently.

Next week I’m going to call Dell and arrange to return the laptop for a refund.

This is the first Dell computer that I’m really dissatisfied with and, frankly, I’m surprised that Dell dropped the ball so badly.   The E6400 is (at least in my opinion) a major step backwards from the D630.

Here’s are the problems I have with the laptop …

  1. As mentioned previously, the laptop has no idea when it’s in a docking station or not.   I’ve been told they are working on a BIOS update that will correct this, but I really doubt they will deliver on it.   It seems to me that that kind of change is way to fundamental to be fixed with a BIOS update.   The docking station needs to have a unique identifier that I doubt it has.
  2. The Ambient Light Sensor (ALS) is WAY too sensitive.   If it is active, and I wave my hand in front of it, the display pulses.   In addition, under certain circumstances, the ALS appears to be effected by the light the display generates.   This results in the display pulsing bright & dim.   When this first happened, I thought I was having a stroke.
  3. There’s no media bay battery option.   I’ve seen the battery ‘slice’ that’s available … but that appears to be huge.
  4. There’s also no media bay hard drive chassis (at least for the E6400)   …   there might be a media bay chassis for another Dell laptop model that will work, but I can’t find it.   There is a 3rd party chassis available, but I prefer to have a Dell model (for support).
  5. The ‘Control Point’ software that’s used to control & configure the laptop is very slow and quite flaky.   It’s crashed more times than I can count.   And just hovering over some of the options causes the software to stop for almost a minute to connect to one of it’s modules.
  6. The laptop complains anytime a power supply less than 90 watts is plugged in.   This wouldn’t be a problem, except it complains when I plug in the 65 watt travel adapter that I got for my D630.   The same 65 watt travel adapter is an option for the E6400.   Why would Dell sell a power adapter with the laptop that the laptop is always going to complain about when it’s plugged in?

The individual issues, by themselves, aren’t major (well, #1 is kind of major) … but all of them together makes for a very sub-standard laptop (at least in my opinion).

Maybe I’ll wait for the next version of the Latitude laptop line to come out before getting a new one.

4 thoughts on “Returning the Latitude E6400

  1. Chuck

    “In addition, under certain circumstances, the ALS appears to be effected by the light the display generates.”

    WOW that is INCREDIBLE; honestly do you think no one noticed this in development ? Unreal…

  2. david

    Although it took a bit longer than I think it should have, I finally got the refund for the system on my credit card.

    I have to hand it to Dell … they handled the return smoothly & efficiently. I still have no complaints regarding their sales & service departments.

    1. david

      Yeah, I’m keeping an eye on the issue in general … at least Dell has acknowledged the problem (according to the IdeaStorm site). I suspect they won’t do anything about it until the next revision of Latitude family comes out.


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