updated 12:00 am EDT, Thu June 26, 2008
Dell Inspiron Studio
Dell on Thursday officially took the wraps from the Studio. The line borrows design cues from the XPS but is priced and styled more closely to the budget Inspiron line and is pursuing the same mid-range, design-conscious audience as Apple and Sony. It comes in a relatively wide array of designer colors: users can pick a gray model with one of four colors for the trim or else have the entire lid given colors as bright as orange or purple. The portables also have more upscale features out of the box, such as HDMI video out, external SATA on some models, and faster overall processors and video chipsets.
"People seeking stunning design, brilliant colors, and innovative new technology find inspiration in Dell's new Studio brand," said Michael Tatelman, vice president of Dell consumer sales and marketing worldwide.
Each also has options that aren't always available with the original Inspiron line, such as a Blu-ray combo drive, 3G Internet access from either Sprint or Verizon in the US, and an LED-backlit display. Every system tops out with as much as 4GB of DDR2 memory, a 5400 RPM 320GB SATA hard drive, and an eight-in-one memory card reader.
The Studio 15 opens the line with a 15.4-inch, 1280x800 LCD and the options of either 1440x900 or 1920x1200 screens; it finds room for an ExpressCard slot as well as four USB ports and dual headphone jacks. The 17-inch Studio 17 boosts the minimum resolution to 1440x900 while otherwise keeping much of the same feature set. In terms of graphics, both come with an Intel GMA X3100 chipset for basic video; the Studio 15 offers an upgrade option of a 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450, while the Studio 17 has the option of a 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650.
Both models feature Intel Core 2 Duo processors on 975PM mainboard chipsets, a two-megapixel webcam, four USB 2.0 ports (five in the Studio 17), VGA out and a 54mm ExpressCard slot.
Dell is selling the Studio 15 starting at $799, while the Studio 17 is available for $999. The laptops ship with Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 or Ultimate SP1, and include Dell Video Chat, a simplified video conferencing application suite. Dell also includes its custom interfaces such as the Dell Dock, a Mac OS X-like application launcher designed to remove clutter from the desktop and the Windows taskbar.