REVIEW: DELL Latitude L400, small but handy

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Today’s tested laptop is quite different from the previous ones. First of all, it differs in that the previous editor who had a laptop for testing managed to break the Latitude L400, I have absolutely no idea what they did with the laptop, but the poor thing is cracked, one hinge cover is missing, the hard drive even has bad sectors and overall it is almost for depreciation. Fortunately, it is still functional, so I was able to test it before it traveled further, perhaps for a warranty repair at DELL.

However, the review will be slightly shorter and less detailed, I had to return the laptop quite quickly. Thank you for understanding.

The DELL Latitude L400 is a small “subnotebook” weighing only 1.56 kilograms, while it also has a smaller 12.1″ display with a resolution of 1024×768 pixels.

The notebook can be purchased starting from CZK 85,000 without VAT, i.e. at least now at the beginning of 2001. However, this is the price for the basic model, if we want the maximum 256MB RAM, 20GB HDD, port replicator and three-year on-site warranty, we have to prepare almost 155 000 CZK without VAT.

Despite its small size, the DELL Latitude L400 offers a reasonable keyboard, it is close to the edge and it is quite good to type on. Only the touchpad is used as a positioning device here, while above the keyboard there are status LEDs.

The body of the laptop even has a microphone integrated in addition to the speakers, which can be useful.

The notebook also includes a proprietary power adapter (I was interested that the adapter is 50W and not the more usual 70W), which has a somewhat odd shape of the terminal, I also had the opportunity to try the port replicator, which is very compact and is mainly interesting for business users.

Compared to larger notebooks, there are no modular bays, replaceable batteries, mechanisms and the like.

The port equipment is rather poor compared to large notebooks, on the left side of the Latitude L400 we find the processor cooling exhaust, two 3.5 mm audio jacks and one USB-A 1.1 port.

On the back we find the main part of ports, RJ45 connected to 3Com C3920 Ethernet controller, RJ11 modem, VGA output, parallel port, connector for external optical/diskette/ZIP drive, power connector and PS/2 port with Y cable support.

On the right side of the notebook we find a slot for a Kensington lock, a 2.5″ PATA HDD cover and one PCMCIA slot.

The bottom side of the notebook reveals small options regarding its upgrades, we can easily “loot the battery” and the hard drive.

Unfortunately getting inside the laptop is difficult and I didn’t want to damage it further. There is one slot for SDR type memory on the motherboard, but we will not install more than 256MB.

The heart of the notebook is an Intel Mobile Pentium III processor, again built using a 180nm process with a Coppermine core. Compared to the previously tested Latitude CPx H500GT, the clock frequency of the processor increased to a high 700 MHz with the same 15W TDP. The processor is connected via FSB100 to the Intel BX440 of the north bridge and it talks to the Intel PIIX4M south bridge.

As an image display, we use the ATI graphics adapter here, specifically the ATI Rage Mobility-M1 with 4MB of SDR memory (the memories have a clock rate of 125MHz and are connected via a 64-bit wide bus). This is the same graphics adapter as in the previously tested Latitude CPx H500GT, but this model only has 4MB of memory. TI Rage Mobility-M1 4MB supports DirectX 6 and OpenGL 1.2. The graphics core has a clock speed of 83MHz and is connected to the computer via the AGP 2x bus.

It will be interesting to see if a faster processor will help in 3D applications. Windows 2000 Professional SP4 was installed on the laptop, the main limit here is 256MB of RAM, over time this will quite possibly be insufficient for more demanding programs and operating systems.

You can see a list of many components through the Device Manager below.


The article is in Czech

Tags: REVIEW DELL Latitude L400 small handy

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