Thursday, 30 July 2009

Review Notebook : Dell Studio XPS 13

This is my best friend, Rizan's latest notebook. If not mistaken, he just owned this notebook for 2 months now after he gave up his last Sony Vaio VGN-FW23G. My friend normally only settled for the highest end notebook and his new Studio XPS 13 is a true power compare to my Acer Aspire 4930.

Dell Studio XPS 13 specification:
Processors Up to Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo Processor P9600 (2.66GHz/ 1066 FSB/ 6MB Cache)
Operating System Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
Memory 4GB5 1067MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Chipset NVIDIA® GeForce® MCP79MX
Graphics Integrated NVIDIA® GeForce® 9400M graphics
256MB6 NVIDIA® GeForce® 9500M-GE with Hybrid SLI® Technology
LCD Display Edge-to-edge Glossy 13.3 inch WXGA CCFL LCD display
Audio and Speakers 4 Watt Integrated Stereo Speakers, 2 watts per channel, 2 channels
Hard Drives Up to 320GB7 configured with a 7200RPM hard drive.
Optical Drives 8X DVD+/-RW8 Slot Load Drive
Power 6 cell 56 WHr Li-Ion Battery
Camera 2.0MP Integrated Webcam (with CCFL display)
Dual Digital Array Microphones
Wireless Dell 1515 Wireless N Mini-Card
Bluetooth Bluetooth® Internal (2.0) mini-card
Ports USB 2.0 compliant ports
e-SATA port with Powershare
15-pin VGA video connector
IEEE compliant 1394a port
Integrated network connector 10/100/1000 LAN (RJ45)
54mm Express Card slot
Display Port
AC adapter connector
Audio jacks (2 line-out, 1 Mic-in)
8-in-1 Media Card Reader
Dimensions Width: 12.56" (319mm)
Height: 0.88" (22.55mm) front / 1.35" (34.34mm) back
Depth: 9.3" (236.12mm)
Weight 2.2kg

Having the used of Intel Core 2 Duo P9600 2.66GHz, the Studio XPS 13 speed is a blaze. I did not actually challenged the notebook to any heavy load such as rendering graphics or playing 3D games, but the typical day to day activities was handled very smoothly. The notebook supports up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Loaded with 4GB DDR3 RAM, could possibly contributes to its smooth processing speed when running with Windows Vista Home Premium.

The front cover has a black glossy finished (which I always find very intriguing). Some of the front cover also were enveloped with black leather finishing giving that typical office organizer look. This sleek design introduce a very business-centric look to the notebook.

13.3" display giving away 12.56" x 9.3" in dimension is also very practical. The display is big enough to challenge the standard 14.1" display but with its smaller dimension and lighter weight (2.2kg) are more than sufficient to offers its mobility experience.

I thing the 2.0MP webcam is barely sufficient. Of course with the capability of face tracking, it stands higher than the standard 1.3MP on most notebook. However, the video quality when streaming through Yahoo Messager still a bit blur and unable to fully push the background lighting to improve on its brightness.

The keyboard however I found very interesting. Each of the keys illuminated with backlit LED making using the notebook at dark places is an ease. Touchpad, not only simple to use, but it introduced a good finger gesturing that allowed options such as zooming. On keyboard area, there are capacitive multimedia key that illuminate white glow when it was activated.

The USB port however is a bit lower than average. This particular Studio XPS 13 units was packed with only 1 USB 2.0 port. Having to use it for mouse, no more USB port for other peripheral. My friend even have to buy a Bluetooth Laser mouse to use with his notebook in order not to accommodate the 1 USB port. That 1 USB port was then used for the notebook fan.

The notebook fan seems like a must for Studio XPS 13. The notebook quickly radiates heat after a few minutes of power on. From Dell's website, we are recommended to update Bios to solve the heat issue. Even after a successful Bios update, the notebook is still very hot than normal. We are not sure if this is due to the mechanical design on the notebook or radiates from its powerful NVidia GeForce 9400M graphic cards. However, if even a normal application could initiate such temperature, I just wander what would happen if we play 3D accelerated games on the notebook for a long period of time.

Aside from the heat, other functions are remarkable. Its performance is the highest compare to any notebook that I used before with Windows Experience Index is at 5.3.

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