Dell Studio 17 Review: Powerful with a Polarizing Design

Nope, it’s not an Inspiron. And that wedge shape doesn’t belong to an XPS, either. The Studio 17 is one of two flagship models in Dell’s new Studio line, announced today. Positioned between the company’s entry-level Inspiron line and high-end XPS series, it aims to give users enough horsepower for multimedia use, but at a cheaper price point than the XPS (our configiuration has a 2.5-GHz Penryn processor, 320GB hard drive, 3GB RAM, and a nine-cell battery, and costs $1,599 with a Dell E-Value code). Both our hands-on testing and benchmark scores show that it delivers the goods: its PCMark Vantage (3,692), 3DMark03 (8,131), and 3DMark06 (2,962) scores are all solid for the desktop replacement category. Studio vs. XPS The trade-off between the Studio and the XPS lines is in mobility. In addition to the 17-inch Studio 17, the Studio line includes a 15-inch model. There won’t be a 13-inch Studio notebook. Meanwhile, the XPS M1730 is for gamers, specifically. So, while the Studio and XPS lines both offer better performance than the Inspiron series, Studio is for people who don’t often take their notebook out of the house, while XPS is for people willing to pay a premium for mobility. New Look for Dell The Studio also ushers in a new design. The satin, solid-colored lid matches the XPS notebooks we’ve seen, but on the inside you’ll find a new color blocked scheme: a matte black keyboard against a glossy silver deck. The abstract pattern on the palm rest is new, but bears resemblance to some of the trippier patterns offered on the Inspiron 1525. Although new for Dell, the glossy in-mold lamination reminds us of other current notebooks, chiefly the HP Pavilion dv5. The design is polarizing. Personally, I prefer both the Inspiron and XPS lines to this, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this design is a trade-off for choosing a Studio over an XPS. Check out our full review and video of the Dell Studio 17.

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