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Dell Studio 17 review

Alan Lu
11 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
899
inc VAT

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Specifications

17 in 1,440x900 display, 3.6kg, 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, 4.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

Dell's Studio 17 is the cheapest desktop-replacement laptop here at just under £900, but it looks more expensive thanks to its decorated lid.

Oddly, there's no latch or other mechanism to keep the lid closed. Despite its price, the Studio 17 is generously equipped with a Blu-ray drive and two 320GB hard disks. The 17in widescreen display is large enough to use comfortably every day, but its 1,440x900 resolution isn't as high as other desktop-replacement laptops here. It's not as bright as the display on Asus's G70S, although it has reasonably wide viewing angles. Images have a blue tint, which is a little disappointing.

The slim Media Center remote tucks into the ExpressCard slot when not in use, and the keyboard includes a numeric keypad. The chunky keys resemble those of a desktop PC keyboard more than the slim keys on the other laptops here. They therefore have more travel, and are responsive and comfortable to type on. The touchpad is accurate, but the spongy buttons don't give enough feedback.

We weren't impressed with the muddy, tinny sounding speakers. Usefully, there are two headphone jacks so two people can enjoy music or movies without disturbing anyone else. The Studio is too chunky and heavy for regular travel, but it's the lightest desktop replacement here at 3.6kg and its battery lasted a reasonable two hours and 19 minutes in our light-usage test.

The Studio fared well in our Windows benchmarks with an overall score of 3,523. It's the only desktop replacement here to have an ATI graphics chip - the Mobility Radeon HD 3650 - which can just about handle modern 3D games at a stretch. It managed only 10.3fps in Call of Duty 4 which increased to 24.1fps at lower graphics settings.

Dell's Studio isn't as feature packed as the other desktop replacements here, but its lower price makes it attractive if you don't need the frills. If you just want Blu-ray on a budget, Acer's £500 Aspire is even better value.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T9400
Processor clock speed2.53GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size45x395x290mm
Weight3.6kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption idle64W
Power consumption active89W

Display

Viewable size17 in
Native resolution1,440x900
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory256MB

Storage

Total storage capacity640GB
Optical drive modelLiteOn DVDRW BD CA10N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports5
Total Firewire ports1
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore disc
Software includedDell Dock 1.0, Microsoft Works 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£899
Detailswww.dell.co.uk

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