Dell Precision M6400 Covet review

Delivering a workstation in a mobile form in no easy task, but the Dell Precision M6400 is a near perfect example of how to do it right.

Don't look away yet, though, as there's more to drool over. The touchpad - as well as being sensitive, accurate, and boasting a set of buttons as comfortable as we've ever come across on any laptop - is backlit. Tap a small logo in its bottom left corner and it glows to life, with four customisable "buttons" along the top, and a timeline scrollbar along the bottom - ideal for video editing.

Elsewhere, there's a fingerprint reader, dual-band draft-n wireless in the shape of Intel's Wi-Fi Link 5300 chipset, Bluetooth, and a very good selection of connections arrayed around its edges. On the left there's a full-size six-pin FireWire port, two USB sockets, a slot-loading DVD writer, 8-in-1 memory card slot, smartcard reader and PC Card reader. On the right you'll find D-SUB and DisplayPort outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, ExpressCard/54, one USB port that will supply charge while the laptop is off, and a powered USB/eSATA combo port. To the right of the touchpad on the wristrest is also a touchless smartcard sensor.

This is an absolute beast of a laptop, make no mistake, whose only real weak spot is its battery life; despite its whopping nine-cell battery it lasted just 2hrs 15mins in our light use test. But this is no ultraportable, designed instead to be moved from base to base, rather than used intensively while out on-the-road, so it's not a deal breaker.

It's not particularly cheap, and neither can it boast the whizz-bang toys of the Lenovo W700ds. But if your company is in the market for a serious mobile workstation and money's no object this machine is the one to beat. It's incredibly fast, beautifully built and makes a statement like no other laptop in its category.

Verdict

Beautifully built, incredibly fast and stuffed with features, the Dell Precision M6400 Covet is a real thoroughbred among workstation laptops. If you’re after a serious mobile workstation, then this has to be top of your shortlist.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.53GHz

Memory: 8GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM

Storage: 320GB Western Digital hard disk, DVD writer

Graphics: Nvidia Quadro FX 3700M; D-SUB; DisplayPort

Ports: 4 x USB; FireWire, eSATA

Security: TPM 1.2; Kensington Lock slot

Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet

Accessories: wired keyboard and mouse

OS: Windows Vista

Warranty: 3yr on-site

Dimensions: 393 x 287 x 42mm (WDH)

Weight 4.34kg

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