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Dell Studio XPS 13 - First look

Yesterday I took delivery of a Dell Studio XPS 13 notebook. This is a replacement for my aging (and rapidly eroding) 17-inch notebook. Since mentioning this system I've fielded quite a few emails from people interested in finding out about this system. Here are my initial thoughts on this system.

Yesterday I took delivery of a Dell Studio XPS 13 notebook. This is a replacement for my aging (and rapidly eroding) 17-inch notebook. Since mentioning this system I've fielded quite a few emails from people interested in finding out about this system. Here are my initial thoughts on this system.

Check out the Dell Studio XPS 13 gallery

The Studio XPS 13 I bought was the basic model but with the CPU upgraded to the 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8700. The system has 4GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M G GPU and a 13.3-inch HD WXGA LCD glossy screen. On this is loaded Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit.

I'll spare you any unboxing porn, but I will say that the Studio XPS is shipped in a stealth black box and arrives sitting in a cocoon of black blown plastic. There's very little clutter in the box and the overall presentation of the device to the customer is excellent (although I would get rid of the plastic-coated wire ties keeping the cables under control and replace them with something better and reusable.

The Studio XPS 13 is a stunning looking bit of kit. The black obsidian-like shell with the leather and aluminum highlights is striking without being garish. Also, the use of aluminum goes beyond style, which the underside of the chassis being formed from a pressed sheet of the metal, adding rigidity and aiding cooling without adding much in the way of extra weight. Overall the system weighs in at 4.8lb/2.2kg.

The Studio XPS 13 is flawlessly assembled and the overall structure feels robust enough to put up with daily usage. Dell have made extensive use of LED lighting on this model, adding a back-lit keyboard, back-lit touchstrip, and several back-lit indicators for WiFi, Bluetooth and so on. There's even a handy glowing collar on the end of the charging cable coming from the power brick ... useful when you're trying to find it in the dark.

Speaking of the charging brick, I was surprised how small and light it was in comparison with ones I've previously owned. Sure, it's not pocket-sized, but it's also not a brick in the literal sense.

I've spent a few hours using the Studio XPS 13 now and I'm pleased with it. I like the clarity and precision of the screen despite not normally being a fan of glossy screens. The keyboard is nice and easy of the fingers and well laid out. The trackpad is also precise and responsive, and the addition of a light to each of the buttons is a nice thought.

From a performance point of view, I've no complaints about the XPS Studio. Although I've yet to really put it through its paces, I think that this system has enough power to handle pretty much anything I can throw at it.

I'll have more to say about this system after I've had a chance to get to know it better.

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