Dell Inspiron 6400 

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If the idea of a desktop replacement machine that truly has five hours of battery life watching DVD’s interests you then this could well be for you. Yes 3 DVD’s in a row.

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While watching three DVD's in a row may not be what everyone wants - or needs - running a DVD tends to put a fair amount of stress on a laptop battery and often it's a struggle to get one DVD watched but I managed to watch three on this Dell laptop one Sunday afternoon, I had only intended two as that would surely drain the battery but it still had 38% left after the second and while it was down to single digits by the time the third was finished it did it and the total running time was 299 minutes so with the DVD swaps it's over five hours. My only gripe the default brightness/contrast were a little dark for my eyes. In normal use I got close to seven hours of use.

The Dell Inspiron 6400 is 36x27x4cm and weights a tad under 3kilos. It has a 15.4inch screen with display resolution of 1680x1050 that I am told is WSXGA+. The fonts looked a little strange but were very readable. Displaying folders gave the icons a rather larger separation but this was just a difference and not a problem.

There is a full 11cm from the front of the unit to the keyboard and on this model it is 88 keys the alpha and numeric keys are full size with only the function keys being reduced. Slightly left of centre is a rather nice trackpad. Behind the keyboard are two buttons on/off and media along with five LED's and the hinge area that shows through when the case is shut has three further LED's.

The unit ships with a 60GB hard disc (actual 54.5GB) and 512MB or RAM with a minimum of 8MB used for graphics. However there are other options.

The front edge has seven push buttons for controlling volume and video, either side of this are the two quite decent speakers. The right side has an Express Card Slot (still only a very few devices to support this), SD/MMC card slot, headphone and external microphone ports, two USB2 ports and a four pin FireWire port. The rear has AC power input, LAN and modem ports, two further USB2ports, external monitor connector and TV output. There is a fan outlet with rather large openings that may just fit a little finger, certainly easy enough to push something into. The left side has the DVD/CD drive.

The unit supports both Bluetooth and Wireless. Bootup is around a minute while shutdown is 15 seconds, should you close the case the screen is blanked but rapidly returns to where you left off when reopened. Returning to DVD's for one more mention the CyberLink Power DVD software works very well and full screen viewing is a pleasure as the resolution works well for display.

It comes with Microsoft XP Home, McAfee security and anti virus, Microsoft Works and some Sonic and Corel software. Unfortunately some of these are only limited time products.

I find the Dell website a little hard to work out, what is standard and what is extra. This only becomes clear when you configure at the check out. At the time of writing there is an Inspiron 5400 model for a very reasonable £599 including VAT and delivery. However it would have - as far as I can tell - 1280x800 display and probably a smaller battery as the claim for the standard battery is 313minutes and I got over 420 minutes in 'normal' use. Working out if you want these extras and their cost is the task that takes a while.

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Comment by krobinson, Dec 24, 2010 10:52

I am not agree with your review. I think Dell's laptop perform as they advertised to be. I really like those Adamo line but I expect they should be killed for some more improvement .

Comment by Ryan Brown, Jul 17, 2010 22:16

Just thought i would let you all know that you can get this laptop for free here:

for a free iPhone 4, just go to:

Comment by henri riske, Jan 7, 2010 11:52

The Dell I have is great,before the one I have now I had a DELL 270 and still
going strong. Thanks Dell.

Comment by John, Jan 5, 2010 17:48

ive had the 6400 for 2.5yrs, battery says needs replacing now in the bios, but other than that, its worked well for me and gave me no problems!

Comment by Maggie, Sep 15, 2009 8:43

Terrible laptop. I have never been happy with it. Very slow, overheats, crashes for no reason, screen blacks out. Battery died after 1 year. Dell said it had a faulty harddrive, so that got replaced but it didn't help! I'm out to buy a new laptop today, and will never buy a Dell again!

Comment by Alex, Aug 11, 2009 11:18

"Comment by Ali Samad, 2 Oct 2007 14:09
I have bought this laptop a year ago. 2 GHz Duo, with 2 GB memory. This have been the worst laptop I have ever bought. Problems:

-Some keys broke from the keyboard, had to replace the keyboard
-Mother board heat problems, had to change mother board and fan
- Battery dies after one year and needed to be replaced.

Do not buy this laptop under any circumstances"

Wow, thought I was the only person with all those problems, though nothing has been replaced YET. Though I'm typing this on my Dell, my main laptop is a Umax Actionbook 850T from 1999, which seems to be rarer than a good Dell!

Comment by Alex, Aug 11, 2009 11:13

Right, where to start...

Starting from day warranty EXPIRED:

First month-overheating, so hot it burnt me every time I had it on my lap, software (several) all said it got up to 91 degrees c!

Second month, plastic front fell off cd/dvd drive, stuck on with sellotape

Third month, four keys fell off keyboard

Fifth month, screen smashed when desk light fell on it (shows how weak the screen is)

Eigth month, silvery colouring starting to rub off

Fourteenth month, battery life 1 hour on most power-saving mode

This laptop has been hell!

Comment by hellen, May 15, 2009 7:35

The 6400 laptop is very good in movie and games, but its battery is too weak to afford these fun.last week,i buy a 9-cell replacement dell inspiron 6400 battery online,its can last 3-4 hours if play games

Comment by Jack, Apr 16, 2009 2:21

found the laptop really good concidering the price.
The battery life is amazing, its affordable and has a nice screen.
I play games and watch movies on it and i love the 6400.

Yes The 6400 is very good in movie and games, but its battery is too weak to afford these fun.

Comment by Jane, Apr 3, 2009 2:10

I have bought this laptop since 2006 August, but now my battery is reaching the end of its useful life. I just use it for normal studies and assignment works, is it all Dell battery also having such problem? I heard from my friends also having the same problem as mine. But one thing could not deny is that the sound quality is good for this laptop as compared with others.

Comment by yogibear111, Mar 17, 2009 19:48

bought this pc in 2007. had broken key within days, sound only works on speakers, battery just gone and have problem with input. one shift button doesn't work, numbers suddenly switch to %£$ etc, click on icon or file and it highlights more than one. thought it was keyboard but still happened with seperate keyboard via usb.

anyone recognise these problems ?

Comment by Amy, Feb 15, 2009 21:45

I can honestly say the problems I have had with my Inspiron tops EVERYONES!
The hard drive has had to be replaced 4 times in the 3 years I have had it and has had to be reset twice.
I have also had to have the CD drive replaced: it made a funny noise from the moment I got it, I phoned Dell they told me it was normal, then a year later a technician came to fix the hard drive and he said the CD drive was faulty from the beginning!
Although Dell support have been very good with fixing the problems I have had words cannot express how enraged I have been with having to have the hard drive replaced so many times. I have told them on countless occasions that I want a whole new computer not just replacement parts (as it is obvious there is something more wrong with it than just the hard drive) but they say no everytime.
My advice is to read the experiences above, and my own, and DO NOT purchase this laptop. As soon as the warranty runs out this year my Inspiron has a one way ticket out of my bedroom window.

Comment by Ron in NC, Feb 3, 2009 2:23

I have had the Inspiron 6400 for about a year and a half.....I have now joined the society of dead batteries that plague this Dell computer.  I have never stressed that battery but got the same dead battery messages so many others have seen.  I recently bought a KD476 9 cell replacement battery from Mambate.  The computer would not charge it because it recognized that I did not get it from DELL (HELL!).  What's this with Dell and their battery fetishes.  If they don't burn up they don't work very long even with good care.

Comment by Orla Murphy, Nov 18, 2008 0:56

I have my Dell Inspiron 6400 for a little over a year now and a few weeks ago a little warning message kept appearing when i switched on saying 'battery was comming to the end of its life' something like this anyway.
Today when i turned it on a new message popped up saying my battery has come to its end and to buy a new one??

Comment by az, Oct 5, 2008 13:43

I have been using this laptop for little over a year.
Issues i had with this system
- some keys stopped working after 1 year, was replaced
- Silver paint around the touchpad area faded, was replaced
- front media keys got a little hard to press. had to use more pressure to get it to work, also paint on the media keys chipped out , was replaced

all the above was replaced for free as it is under warranty.

The laptop is very quiet and never heats up. It provides good performance for its price range. Dell service is very good. Nice big 15 inch screen. My battery is slowly dieing though (now lasts for little less than 2 hours). sound quality is very very good (well done dell!).

Comment by Jenny, Oct 4, 2008 15:05

Have used this laptop for 15 months and my only REALLY big complaint is the battery which worked fine until two months ago.. when it's life literally halved overnight..   and now is non existent! ( or to be more really accurate the 'total battery power remaining in 'unknown' on the power meter!).   
We have other dell laptops in the house and NONE have gone the way this one has...   
I hasten to has not been flogged to death, and has basically put me off ever having another dell,  which is a pity as in every other it is a good machine.  


Comment by jordan delahunty, Jul 24, 2008 2:42

I'm on mine now and its really fast. I love the sound quality, it has excellent build quality and is very sturdy - hardly any keyboard flex. I don't know about these claims about the motherboard and battery I think that is under heavy every day usage and the battery is down to leaving it in whilst on AC power. I also have a Medion laptop which has a 1.73ghz Centrino single core and 1gb of ram this model of 6400 has the dual core Centrino 1.73ghz and 1gb of ram I have exactly the same programs on both and this 6400 is easily twice as fast it looks great is comfortable to use and since I bought it I've never looked back. I've had it for roughly 4 months and haven't noticed it getting hot at all. Maybe that is because my Medion did get really hot, I don't know. The battery life seems to have stayed the same and my laptop is on charge half the day and all night. I got a prediction of 3:54 hours when I got it and its exactly the same where as my Medion which is 6 months old had 3:30 hours and now I'm lucky to get 2. I think the graphics are quite good for the price even when running multiple displays being the standard 15.4" widescreen and a dell 19" widescreen LCD monitor.

Comment by jen, June 20, 2008 11:17

Had no problems with this latop so far. Excellent performance.
May I just point out in light of the comment "Battery dies after one year and needed to be replaced" - all laptop batteries have extremely limited life spans, they only have so many charge cycles. To prevent this take you battery out and run it solely off ac power when you know you aren't moving around. I got the standard battery with this laptop and even whilst running high performance applications on full screen brightness I can get on average a good 4 hours.

Comment by Neil McKechnie, Mar 29, 2008 23:42

I've had my 6400 since about March 2006, with no problems so far.  I've been using it daily for work and home and carrying it into and out of work.  Been very happy with it.  I have two batteries (6-cell and 9-cell).  Normally use the 9-cell one, and neither are showing any degradation in performance.
I opted for the dell on-site warranty when they called me a month after purchase, at which point the warranty was half the price that it is when taken at the point the computer is purchased.

Comment by amitnarayankar, Feb 4, 2008 20:17

Is there a provison of like in dell inspiron 6400???? How to get rid of those unwanted softwares that dell loads??

Comment by trish, Dec 29, 2007 9:32

my inspirion 6400 arrivied yesterday worked for awile then I had to go out when I came home and tried to turn it on no display at all am very dissappointed and do not know what to do dell support not opened today .....any suggestions

Comment by ibniinsha, Oct 17, 2007 8:54

i bought this laptop one and half year ago.Now it has created problem with mother board and had to replace it.Dell technical cost me 211 pound.I will suggest for everyone not to buy this laptop.Just a waste of money.

Comment by Ali Samad, Oct 2, 2007 13:09

I have bought this laptop a year ago. 2 GHz Duo, with 2 GB memory. This have been the worst laptop I have ever bought. Problems:

-Some keys broke from the keyboard, had to replace the keyboard
-Mother board heat problems, had to change mother board and fan
- Battery dies after one year and needed to be replaced.

Do not buy this laptop under any circumstances

Comment by jackattack, June 28, 2007 7:32

i found the laptop really good concidering the price.
The battery life is amazing, its affordable and has a nice screen.
I play games and watch movies on it and i love the 6400.
The bad thing is that it comes with lots of unreliable crap programs but you could just delete it.
I think its a really good laptop to start with if this is your first laptop.=)

Comment by anayat, Mar 11, 2007 19:30

I bought one of these machines just a few dayz back... n i found it very relia ble.... the dual core is a new experience to me n i lov it... coz u can multitask as much as u want... at one time i wuz transferrin a whole drive from my old  pc... running two installation... playing songs from a dvd and brousing the web at the same time... n all of em ran like they were the only programs running on the notebook... i lov it

Comment by HS, Dec 27, 2006 22:20

I've bought a couple of 6400's for friends & family. In all it is reliable and affordable laptop considering the spec. I would recommend again.

Comment by Tim, Dec 20, 2006 14:08

I bought this laptop in September 2006 and by November it had developed a fault. On first boot-up of the day, the fan runs very loud and the system speed slows to a crawl, such that it takes about 10 minutes to reach a useable screen. If the laptop is turned off and restarted, everything is fine. apparently Dell are aware of this issue (December 2006) and are working on it ...

Comment by jonw, Oct 6, 2006 9:15

Looking forward to your first review Stoopid - you can show us all how it is done! :-) By the way - it says above 'rating for article'. Personally I found this article useful. It does cover a lot of the 'facts' about the product being reviewed, don't forget some people are looking for a laptop and this article will be their first stop, possibly comparing with other reviews *before* going to the manaufacturers site for a short list. The article does however also includ the subjective elements such as how good the screen and of course how long the battery really did last, rather than claims.

Comment by Stoopid_name, Oct 6, 2006 7:33

Sorry my mistake, I thought I was rating the review not the product, I've given it full marks to bring the average back up. I do however stand by my comments about the review, 90% quoting specs 10% actual value.

Comment by Stoopid_name, Oct 5, 2006 12:06

Not much of a review this, apart from the time it lasts playing a dvd which is usefull to the rest of the article just lists the units features which are readily available on the Dell site.

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