Dell has launched a new range of notebooks to continue its progress with reasonably priced products that also have style in mind. “Studio” laptops are designed to sit between the advanced XPS and more basic Inspiron machines and have borrowed features from both.
They come with either a 15.4″ or 17″ screens, Intel Core 2 Duo processors, slot loading Blu-ray/DVD-burning combo drives, HDMI ports, 2-megapixel webcams, Bluetooth and WiFi, of course, and, being Dells, it’s up to you how much RAM and HDD space you want.
A couple of nice touches are the back-lit keyboards, built-in mics with noise canceling function, the fingerprint reader – to be used instead of or as well as passwords – and the Wi-Fi capture which indicates whether you can pick up the net without having to boot up the whole machine.
The Studio design is based largely on that of the XPS. They come in seven different colours with etchings on the inside, four trim options and it all makes me rather jealous as I think of my crappy old brick of an Inspiron 1300.
Prices start at £379 and £469 for the Studio 15 and 17 respectively including VAT and delivery but I’ve been having a quite a few issues trying to actually spec down the 15.4″ version on the Dell website where it seems to be available for a considerably dearer £429. So good luck wrangling with that one.
Software-wise, you’re stuck with Vista in one guise or another and to match the push towards a better, Apple-like aesthetic, they’ve added a desktop dock.
Both are available as of today and frankly, they look and sound very good. The acid test that remains is how smoothly they run once you’ve uninstalled all the annoying free 30-day trials and bundled nonsense but until we here otherwise, if you want a reasonably priced notebook, I’d say go get one.