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

4
Price when reviewed 
699

Page 1 of 2 Dell Studio 1555 review

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.

Fat club

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.

Dell Studio 1555 rear

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.

Page 1 of 2 Dell Studio 1555 review

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions372 x 249 x 43mm (WDH)
Weight2.610kg
Travelling weight3.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo P8600
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM45
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.5in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetATi Mobility Radeon HD 4570
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity320GB
Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interface7200
Hard diskWestern Digital Scorpio Black
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveLG GA10N
Battery capacity5,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetIDT HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating2.0mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use4hr 45min
Overall application benchmark score1.19
Office application benchmark score1.26
2D graphics application benchmark score1.15
Encoding application benchmark score1.09
Multitasking application benchmark score1.27
3D performance (crysis) low settings59fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery disc

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