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Dell Studio 15

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

The new Studio line, as personified by the $1,250 15 inch Studio 15, has the same tapered shape, slot loading optical drive, and rounded hinge as the Dell XPS M1530, but a similarly configured Studio system costs roughly $300 less than a similarly outfitted XPS. The trade off is mostly in size and finish. Even though it has a similar look, the Studio laptop is about 25 percent thicker and slightly heavier than its more upscale XPS cousin, with plastic accents instead of metal.

We'd be tempted to toss in the extra $300 for the brushed metal wrist rest and slimmer design of the XPS, but the Studio line does offer personalization options (lots of colors and graphic imprints) beyond what's available for Dell's other laptops, along with a slot loading optical drive and credit card style media remote for about $200 more than a similarly configured Inspiron 1525 (not including discrete graphics, which are not available on the 1525).

  • Price as reviewed / Starting price $1,189 / $799
  • Processor 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100
  • Memory 2GB, 667MHz DDR2
  • Hard drive 250GB 5.400rpm
  • Chipset Intel GM965
  • Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400
  • Operating System Windows Vista Premium
  • Dimensions (WDH) 14 x 10.16 x 1.25 inches
  • Screen size (diagonal) 15,4 inches
  • System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.0 / 7.2 pounds
  • Category Mainstream
While clearly inspired by the popular XPS M1530, the Studio 15 has a more angular look, with its large side hinges curving the screen down at a sharp angle the XPS presents a more rounded look. At 6 pounds, it's a bit heavy to tote around every day, but still at the lower end of the 15 inch scale, around 6 pounds. Our early review unit had a matte midnight blue lid, but there are a variety of color options.

We've also seen some leaked shots online of several artistic designs motifs that should be available in the future, which we've previously covered on Crave. The Studio 15 follows Dell's recent, and welcome, trend of putting HDMI outputs and touch sensitive control buttons on just about every laptop you can also get those on even the cheapest Inspiron 15 inch.

Like the XPS 1530, it has a slot loading optical drive and an Express Card slot that doubles as a holder for a credit card style media remote. Also like the XPS M1530, the Studio 15 has a 15.4 inch LED backlit display with a native resolution of 1,440x900, which is standard for higher end middle size laptops.

Dell's cheaper Inspiron 1525 has a 1,280x800 display, but the extra screen real estate at the higher resolution in the Studio 15 makes for a much less cluttered desktop. We prefer these newer LED displays (over older LCD models lit by a fluorescent lamp) because of their lighter weight, brighter whites, and lower power consumption.


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