Dell laptops are known for their rugged build, the value for money they offer, and for their customisation options. In fact, Dell has taken customisation a rung higher by tying up with OPI, a nail care company. So while customising your Dell laptop online, you can choose from various OPI designs for the lid.
Design and build quality
The Dell Studio 15 is essentially a desktop replacement because it offers a 15.6-inch screen and weighs about 2.65 kg. It looks great and has superb ergonomics too. The review model featured a stylish OPI design called I’m Not Really a Waitress. While the colours and design looked good, the quality of the print was grainy and washed out.
Apart from the custom design, the unit follows a black-grey theme: 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 and hence attracts finger prints.
Take a cross section view and you’ll notice a wedge-like tapering design and a drop hinge that is common to Dell’s XPS series, but minus the metal. Though the shell is mostly plastic, it is ruggedly built and is rather bulky to carry around.
The keyboard is well-sized and comfortable to use. Though the touchpad is smaller than that on other desktop replacements, it is convenient.
The 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 discreet graphics are courtesy an ATI Radeon HD 5470. The 15.6-inch screen is glossy and has a native resolution of 1366 x 768 that is common to most laptops.
At its price of Rs 49,300 for the custom-designed unit, the Studio 15 offers good value for money. But when we compared it to a laptop that offers almost identical hardware and performance — the Asus N61Jv — we found that the latter offered richer features. While the N61Jv costs more (Rs 50,490, excluding taxes), it is equipped with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, Asus’ Sonic Master and features a USB 3 port too. Its GPU is more powerful and audio quality is better, offering more value for money.
But if sheer CPU power is what you’re looking for, the Dell Studio 15 (without the design) is a better pick. If you opt for the Intel Core i7 processor, you even get more processing power for less than 50K.
The rest of the features include two USB ports, an eSATA and a FireWire port. The laptop has a slot-loading DVD-writer, a 2 MP webcamera, a PC-card slot, a memory card reader, and 3 audio jacks. The machine is pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium.
The full-HD movie playback and the sound quality of this laptop are impressive. The sound is loud and clear, and doesn’t blare at high volumes, which is rare with built-in laptop speakers. Benchmarks scores were almost identical to that of the Asus N61Jv, except when it came to the GPU score and gaming.
Considering the size and purpose of this laptop, we’d say that the three hour and 10 minute battery backup it gave us is quite impressive.
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, Bluetooth.
What we like
Great performance and build quality
Very good sound and full-HD movie-playback
What we don’t
The colours of the design on the lid are washed out and the print is grainy.
If you prefer a custom-designed laptop over a laptop that performs better and offers more features, the Dell Design Studio is the way to go. If you prefer performance over custom design, then spend a few thousand extra and get something really powerful, like the Intel Core i7 variant.