updated 10:15 am EDT, Tue April 21, 2009
Dell Studio 15 2009 Update
Dell today slipped out a quiet but significant update to its Studio 15 notebook. The new version switches from a standard 16:10 ratio screen to a 15.6-inch, 16:9 display with a minimum 1366x768 resolution capable of playing 720p video without losing screen real estate. LED backlighting is also now standard even on the base model and both lengthens the battery life and improves the screen's color performance.
Accompanying the focus on HD is an upgrade to the dedicated graphics option that provides a Mobility Radeon HD 4570 with as much as 512MB of its own memory, giving the Studio 15 a modest amount of gaming performance as well as full hardware HD video decoding. Its built-in audio system also contains a subwoofer to fill in the bass that often gets stripped out of other 15-inch notebooks' audio systems.
A base Studio now sells for $649 with an older-generation 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 3GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive and Intel's integrated GMA 4500MHD for graphics. Systems can be custom-ordered with up to a modern 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive and the faster Mobility Radeon video. Options also exist for special features like a backlit keyboard, a Blu-ray drive and up to a 1920x1080 screen.
Systems ordered today should start shipping by May 12th.