Dell Adamo review
A stunning piece of design to rival any Apple offering, and the price is surprisingly reasonable
Dell may not emanate the instant cool that comes with each new Apple launch, but it's doing its best to change that. Months of drip-fed information, a few brief hands-on previews and a luxurious official website have whipped up the expectation, and now it's here we can confidently say the Adamo has been worth every second of the wait.
It comes in silver or black, with suitably lush monikers – the Adamo Pearl and Onyx – and its dimensions are to die for: it's impossibly slim at just 18mm and weighs 1.8kg, so it should become a permanent companion on your travels – although we’d recommend a padded slipcase, at the very least, to ensure the exquisite exterior isn’t scratched or damaged.
Attention to detail
The chassis, as well as providing a striking first impression, is peppered with impressive details: dozens of tiny pinpricks sit toward the rear of the machine, ostensibly to provide ventilation, but one of them lights up when the laptop is on and pulses on and off when it’s in sleep mode.
Turn the Adamo over and you’ll see that its service number is written in miniscule font along a discreet edge – because having stickers and removable panels scattered across the underside just wouldn’t do. Instead, the bottom only features a raised metallic plaque with the Adamo logo and the Vista and Intel liveries that would usually – on a normal, common laptop – sit below the keyboard.
To keep the sides neat, all the ports and sockets are sequestered on the rear of the machine. You get two USB ports, a combined eSATA/USB port, Gigabit Ethernet and even a DisplayPort output squeezed in. There’s no D-SUB output, though, and the necessary DisplayPort-to-D-SUB and HDMI adapters are listed on Dell’s US site but haven't yet made it to the UK homepage.
Getting the basics right
Ease back the lid and it’s clear Dell has really gone to town. The 13.3in edge-to-edge WLED display has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, and offers bright colours and sharp detail, although it’s not perfect. We found the backlight bled through a little and the panel itself was rather glossy and reflective but, all in all, it's pleasant to use for work or play.
The keyboard eschews the Scrabble-tile design of the MacBook Air and Sony VAIO Z-series, in favour of wide, slightly concave keys. They’re comfortable, too, with a solid base and nice typing action, although the slightness of the laptop does mean key travel is a little shorter than perfect. As you'd expect, Dell’s layout is entirely practical, with a double-height Enter and wide left and right Shift keys.
The trackpad has nothing innovative to rival the Air's multitouch flexibility, but it's responsive and smooth while the mouse buttons are light and easy to click.
|Warranty||1yr on-site, 1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||331 x 243 x 18mm (WDH)|
|Weight with extended battery||N/A|
|Travelling weight with extended battery||N/A|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo U9300|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 4500|
|Graphics card RAM||256MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Hard disk usable capacity||119GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Hard disk||Samsung SSD|
|Optical disc technology||N/A|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||no|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||no|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Dell HD Audio|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 3min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 31min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.68|
|Office application benchmark score||0.72|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||0.76|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.59|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||0.65|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||N/A|
|3D performance setting||N/A|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|