Dell Studio 15 Desktop Replacement Laptop

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Dell laptops are known for their rugged build, the value for money they offer, and for the options for customization. In fact, Dell has taken the customization part a rung higher with its partnership with OPI, a leading nail care company. So while you customize your Dell laptop online, you can choose from various OPI designs for the lid of a laptop.

Design and build quality
The Dell Studio 15 is essentially a desktop replacement mainly because it offers a 15.6-inch screen and weighs about 2.65 Kg. It sports a fantastic design and is superb in terms of ergonomics too. Even as far as the aesthetics go, it looks stylish, yet professional. The model that came to our test labs featured a stylish OPI design called ‘I’m Not Really a Waitress’. Now, this design isn’t bad, and, with its rose-pinks, whites and dark shadows, it is most likely to attract a female audience. On the other hand, the quality of the print is a big turn-off, mainly because it is grainy, its colors aren’t deep and look washed out. You might want to consider other designs if not the standard solid color options.
Apart from the custom design, the unit follows a black-grey theme, where the screen frame and keyboard rim are black and the wrist rest is grey. Except the sides and the base, the entire unit has a glossy finish, hence prone to dust and finger prints.

Take a cross section view and you’ll notice a wedge-like tapering design and a drop hinge which is common to Dell’s XPS series of laptop such as the XPS 16, minus the use of metal ofcourse. Though the shell is mostly plastic, it is ruggedly built overall and is rather bulky to carry around. In terms of ergonomics, the keyboard has well-sized and aptly placed keys, which makes usage quite comfortable. Although the touchpad is smaller than what you’d find on other desktop replacements, it is comfortable to use. The good part is that unlike the rest of body, it has a matte finish. Overall, it’s a very comfortable machine to work on.

Features
The Dell Studio 15 offers excellent performance and an above average feature set. Built around an Intel HM 55 chipset, it is powered by an Intel Core i3 350M processor. It has 4 GB DDR3 RAM and a roomy 500 GB hard drive. The discrete graphics is courtesy an ATI Radeon HD 5470, and the 15.6-inch screen is glossy and has a native resolution of 1366 x 768, which is common to most laptops.

Here’s the interesting part, this particular unit with its custom design costs Rs 49,300, and, on the company’s website, the OPI design which costs around Rs 3,000, is not selected by default . So, with the standard option, you can buy the unit at a lesser price. In this case, the Studio 15 offers good value for money. On the other hand, we compared the Studio 15 (with OPI design) to a laptop which features almost identical hardware, hence same performance, but is much richer in features, the Asus N61Jv . While the N61Jv costs higher (Rs 50,490, excluding taxes), it is equipped with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, Asus’ Sonic Master and it features has a USB 3 port too. Above all, the GPU in it is more powerful and the audio quality is better too, so the game-play and overall audio-visual experience is obviously superior. Therefore it offers more value for money (from the price-performance ratio and features point of view). But if you don’t want all of this and if sheer CPU power suffices, then the Dell Studio 15 (without the design ofcourse) is a better pick. On a side note, you even have the option to get more processing power from the Studio 15 in a sub-50K price, just opt for the one with an Intel Corei7 processor.
The rest of the features include 2 USB, an eSATA and a FireWire port. Common display options are HDMI and VGA. The laptop has a slot-loading DVD-writer, a 2 megapixel webcam, a PC-card slot, a memory card reader, and 3 audio jacks. The connectivity options are gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth. The machine is pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium and bundles with it a number of discs for, Dell’s FastAccess Video capture utility, Webcam Central software, CyberLink PowerDVD and so on.

Highlight
The recent partnership between Dell and OPI Products Inc. has much to offer people who like to give a personal touch to their laptops. If you want to take a quick look at the color and design options, logon to Dell's Flickr site . Also, the latest designs, inspired by the city of Hong Kong are available on all Dell Inspiron and Studio laptops, including the Studio 14 and the new Mini 10 laptops.
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Performance
The full-HD movie-playback and the sound quality is what interested us most about this laptop, in addition to its capability of handling demanding applications ofcourse. The sound is loud and clear, and doesn’t blare at high volumes, which is a rarity in built-in laptop speakers.

We compared the benchmarks scores to that of the Asus N61Jv (same hardware), and the scores were almost identical, except for the 3DMark GPU score and game benchmarks.

Nevertheless, gaming at moderate resolution will be fun. The one thing we dint like as much was the viewing angle of the screen. Finally, considering the size and purpose of this laptop, we’d say that 3 hours 10 minutes of battery backup is impressive.

The bottom line
If you prefer a custom-designed laptop over a laptop that performs better and offers better features, the Dell Design Studio is the way to go. And, if you prefer performance over a custom design, then it’s better to spend a few thousand rupees extra and get something really powerful, hint Intel Core i7 variant.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 372 x 45 x 250 mm
  • Weight: 2.65 Kg
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 350M, 2.27 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 500 GB
  • Screen size: 15.6-inch
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth.

Published Date: May 10, 2010 02:26 pm | Updated Date: May 10, 2010 02:26 pm