Dell hopes the stylish Studio XPS laptops, announced at CES a few weeks back, will help shake up its image, and it may be working. CNET, Laptop Magazine and PC Magazine have all posted reviews of the 16-inch entertainment notebook, and the latter two awarded it an Editors' Choice.
The Studio XPS 16 is Dell's first 16:9 16-inch notebook. It starts at $1,199, but all three tested a higher-priced configuration with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 4GB of memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670 graphics with 512MB, 320GB drive and a slot-loading combo drive that can play Blu-ray movies and burn DVDs. Laptop Magazine and PC Magazine state that the price as tested is $1,804, but when I configure it at Dell's site, it comes to $1,649, which is also the price listed on the CNET review. The key upgrade here is the full HD (1,920x1,080) LED backlit display, which is well worth the extra $250.
CNET wasn't as impressed by the new design with its "superfluous" leather trim, but they gave Dell points for adding a few nice features--full HD, LED-backlit display, backlit keyboard and DisplayPort--to a "fairly standard set of components without jacking up the price too much." Laptop Magazine loved the edge-to-edge display, which displays 100 percent of the RGB color gamut, is very bright and has a wide viewing angle:
The bottom line is that anyone on the hunt for a multimedia notebook with top-notch performance, Blu-ray, cutting-edge features, and plenty of style will find that the Dell Studio XPS 16 meets those criteria in spades.
Sony has a desktop replacement with an 18.4-inch display, the VAIO AW series, that can also display 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut, but it starts at more than $2,000 with that option, and similarly-configured it would cost around $2,250. PC Magazine gave the Studio XPS 16 an Editors' Choice because it delivers the benefits of an RGB-LED display--among other features--"without paying outrageous prices."
The chief competitor to the Dell Studio XPS 16 is the HP HDX 16, though there are several other 16-inch, full HD contenders including the Acer Aspire 6930, Sony VAIO FW series and Gateway MC series. That's a tough field, but based on these reviews, the Studio XPS 16 stacks up pretty well in all areas--features, performance and price.
The other new Studio XPS model, the Studio XPS 13 has a 13.3-inch display, which is available with or without LED backlighting. Dell could use a bit of good news--in the fourth quarter the company's PC shipments in the U.S. dropped more than 16% compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to IDC's preliminary results.
Dell Studio XPS 16 reviews: