Dell Inspiron 6400 Multimedia Notebook (Centrino Duo)



The multi-role Dell Inspiron 6400 is pretty spartan when it comes to tangible multimedia features - nary a webcam or inbuilt microphone can be found on the notebook. A small saving grace is perhaps a series of multimedia buttons enabling quick access to media playback such as Play, Rewind, Fast Forward, Mute and so on which can be found on the front bezel flanked by discreet stereo speakers.

Similar to its predecessor, the Dell Inspiron 6000, a row of multimedia buttons can be found along the front bezel of the notebook.

Another shortcut button on the far left end of the notebook leads you straight to Dell's propriety Media Connect software. A row of icons just above the keyboard tells you whether Wi-fi and Bluetooth is on.

The speakers in question do a passable job at projecting basic audio and music, but like almost all business minded notebooks, they are not audio powerhouses and are unsurprisingly limited as the system lacks a proper subwoofer to project bass. You'll get by when you're on the road, but don't expect to be blown away by the speakers when watching movies.

These stereo speakers are found flushed along the front bezel of the notebook. Though they look quite impressive judging by the large amount of perforation, performance is average. Don't expect to be wowed by them.

A feature worth noting is the Truelife technology that comes with its 15.4-inch wide screen LCD. The default Dell LCD panel (1280 x 800 pixels) contrasts sharply when put side by side with the Truelife LCD screen and it only costs US$69.17 (S$106.05) more for the upgrade. With Truelife technology, LCD backlighting was found to be more even across the display and can be configured to be extremely bright for viewing from distances. Apart from being brighter, colors are also more vivid and viewing angles vastly improved. We highly recommend any readers out there getting a Dell notebook to pick this upgrade (if available) as it truly improves the viewing experience for very little additional cost.

Although most manufacturers (and Windows itself) usually has an on-screen display for battery power meters, road warriors will appreciate the convenient battery meter on the physical battery itself. With a push of a button, LEDs will light up to indicate how much battery there is left within, a great plus factor for all Dell notebooks. This feature has actually cropped up in many different notebooks across various brands before, but for some reason it has never been a standardized mainstay function.

A row of handy LED lights light up at the push of a button to roughly display how much battery is left within.

Other basic features on the Dell Inspiron although not exhilarating, still deserves a passing mention. The keyboard, touchpad and buttons are tactile and responsive although they are not fitted with creature comforts such as ergonomic contours, thumb rests or fancy touchpad locks. If there is any one area you have to look out for, it is the wrist rest area of the notebook. Coated with silver paint, there is a high chance that regular use will wear out the paint layer, creating a ghastly faded footprint in the long run.

Users are also advised not to block the inlet vent found along the bottom (top right when flipped over) of the notebook, as this would prevent air from being sucked into the copper heatsink. During tests, the notebook pushed plenty of hot air out from its exhaust, indicating the need for proper airflow to function optimally.

The exhaust found right behind the notebook can get pretty hot when running intensive programs. The inlet vent can be found below the notebook (above). Users should take note not to block this inlet or risk overheating the system.

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