Dell Studio XPS 16 review

Price when reviewed

The Dell Studio XPS 16 shares much of its elegant design with the rest of the Studio XPS range. The result is a stylish, modern machine that’s one of the best-looking in this group.

Dell Studio XPS 16 review

That design is matched with good build quality. Both the screen and the wristrest feel exceedingly well knitted-together, the keyboard is a joy to type on and the trackpad and buttons work well. Meanwhile, the Dell’s 3kg weight and modest dimensions mean it isn’t entirely averse to travelling either.

Its screen is also an arresting sight. Based on RGB LED technology, the 16.4in 1,920 x 1,080 panel uses an array of red, green and blue LEDs as the screen’s light source, instead of the white LEDs or cold-cathode strip lamps of cheaper TFTs. The results are impressive, with the screen providing incredible clarity and accuracy. Colours are vivid, detail is pin-sharp, there’s no backlight bleed, and the Full-HD resolution means you can enjoy Blu-ray movies in all their glory.

There’s more than enough power to cope with demanding applications. Intel’s 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo Mobile T9400 processor and 4GB of DDR3 RAM helped the laptop score 1.35 in our 2D benchmarks. Gamers will be reasonably happy with the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 graphics chip too, which managed 59fps in our low-quality Crysis benchmark before falling to a less acceptable 20fps in the medium-quality test.

It includes a hybrid/analogue TV tuner, a 500GB hard disk and draft-n wireless, as well as both HDMI and DisplayPort outputs alongside the usual USB, Gigabit Ethernet and FireWire. The speakers are also excellent.

Battery life is strictly desktop replacement – just 2hrs 52mins in our light-use test and 1hr 3mins under heavy use – but that isn’t a huge issue for a laptop that has so many excellent entertainment features. It might not be quite in the same league as our winners this month, but if you’re after a stylish laptop with one of the best screens in the business, the Dell won’t disappoint.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions381 x 255 x 40mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T9400
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM45 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size16.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Graphics chipsetATi Mobility Radeon HD 3870
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Hard disk usable capacity465GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskWestern Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical driveSony Optiarc BC-5600S
Battery capacity5,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


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 switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetDell HD Audio
Speaker locationBeside keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use172
Battery life, heavy use63
Overall application benchmark score1.42
Office application benchmark score1.42
2D graphics application benchmark score1.31
Encoding application benchmark score1.25
Multitasking application benchmark score1.35
3D performance (crysis) low settings20fps
3D performance settingMedium

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery disc
Software suppliedMicrosoftWorks 9

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