Dell Studio 1555 review
Dell brings its Studio 15 bang up to date with a 15.6in, 16:9 ratio display, but patchy build quality limits its appeal
Dell's Studio laptops are an alluring bunch; fitting snugly between the brand's budget-conscious Inspiron line-up and the premium XPS ranges, the Studio 15 and Studio 17 blend classy good-looks with surprisingly affordable prices. Adaptation is the key to survival, though, and the newest arrival, the Dell Studio 1555, marks an evolutionary step forward.
You'd be forgiven for not noticing any dramatic changes over its predecessor, but there are some subtle changes. Most notable of these is the disappearance of the 15.4in, 16:10 ratio display. In its place there now stands a 15.6in, 16:9 replacement.
It's still LED-backlit and capable of lending impressive punch and vibrancy to images. As per usual with Dell, there's a choice of resolutions, and while our model sported the basic 1,366 x 768, you can pay a £100 premium for a Full HD panel.
Several of PC Pro's staff noted how chunky the Studio looks, and set against the current crop of netbooks and slim-line ultraportables, there's no argument that Dell's latest looks like it could do with shedding a few pounds.
It isn't a bad-looking notebook, though. The beefy wedge-shaped design and modern curves lift it well out of the ordinary, and at 2.61kg it's a little lighter than some of the 15.6in competition.
Alas, build quality seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Applying gentle pressure to the Studio 1555's lid leaves it creaking ominously, and twisting motions reveal worrying amounts of give.
With even light prods on the back of the lid causing distortion on the display - a sign of the display casing fouling the LCD panel inside - this is one laptop that, where possible, we'd keep firmly ensconced in a well-padded laptop bag.
It's a shame, too, since the base is quite the opposite. Stout and solid, it provides a sturdy, flex-free wristrest and feels resilient enough to survive the odd knock here and there.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||372 x 249 x 43mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo P8600|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel PM45|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||ATi Mobility Radeon HD 4570|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||7200|
|Hard disk||Western Digital Scorpio Black|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||LG GA10N|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|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||3|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||IDT HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||2.0mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||4hr 45min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.19|
|Office application benchmark score||1.26|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.15|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.09|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.27|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||59fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery disc|