updated 12:25 pm EDT, Thu July 3, 2008
Dell Studio 15 Hands On
Electronista has just received Dell's new Studio 15 notebook for testing, and it's clear from the outset that the system will be a decided step up from not just the Inspiron line but also the XPS M1530 reviewed just a few months ago while offering features and performance that simply haven't been an option for much of the gaming-oriented XPS system's lifespan.
Although the design is at times very close to that of the XPS -- our review unit even shipped in an XPS box -- the build quality is a step up with less creaking or hollow-feeling parts. The display is now one solid piece and has the same rubber-like surface of the Inspirons on the entire outer face, which makes it much easier to keep a steady grip. The much more upscale (if trendy) dark gray imprint on the palmrest is appreciated, and the keyboard has a better feel as well.
This particular example also promises a much better visual experience: where the XPS for most of its lifespan was limited to 1280x800 and typical backlights, the review model comes with a 1440x900, LED-backlit screen which is immediately much more colorful and crisper.
That said, there is already one key complaint with the Studio: its bulk. Like the XPS line, the Studio 15 is very thick and not especially light; it won't deter prospective buyers of MacBook Pros and other more streamlined systems from switching, even if it does allow more expansion. A longer-term test wil give us a clearer sense of this, and the rest of the system, in day-to-day use over coming days.