Dell Adamo XPS review

£1750
Price when reviewed

As you might expect, though, compromise is a necessity when pushing the boundaries of laptop design. Impossibly thin it may be, but the Adamo XPS’s skin-and-bone figure leaves precious little room for strength, stamina, an optical drive or, for that matter, much in the way of connectivity.

Two USB ports are provided, one on each edge, and they leave just enough room for a DisplayPort socket and a headphone output. The array of adapters in the box provide for DVI and VGA outputs, while the USB 10/100 Ethernet dongle will have to suffice when there are no wireless networks within reach of the 802.11n wireless chipset.

Dell Adamo XPS adapters

The battery, while removable, is dainty in both size and capacity – 20Wh – so despite the Adamo’s frugal specification we weren’t surprised to see it last just a couple of hours. Recent CULV laptops we’ve seen with far longer battery life have only achieved this by using higher-capacity batteries. We doubt Dell can squeeze much more life out of this pre-production hardware before launch, but there should be an optional 40Wh battery upgrade on the way soon – we’d expect it to thicken the XPS by a good few millimeters.

So it’s not the longest-lasting laptop away from the mains, but the inclusion of a cigarette-lighter adapter is a neat addition borrowed from the gadget world. This at least leaves a bit of scope to give the Adamo a quick recharge in the car between the office and Starbucks.

Finally, while the XPS might make the MacBook Air look like it’s had one too many caramel-flavoured whipped cream lattes, Dell hasn’t quite matched Apple’s unbreakable build quality. It’s not that the construction is poor by any means – every join and seam looks smooth and professional – but while the keyboard feels taut and strong, the paper-thin lid flexes noticeably, with even light finger presses causing ripples of distortion on the glossy display.

Dell Adamo XPS

So it’s not perfect by any means, but the Adamo XPS is a hugely impressive technical achievement. Performance is more than nippy enough for most uses, and the ergonomics, while not flawless, are better than we could ever have expected given its esoteric design.

There’s no question that its appeal takes a big hit when you see the price tag, but somehow, and almost inexplicably so, the Dell Adamo XPS is still likely to inspire passion in the coldest of hearts. Like staring longingly through the window of a Lamborghini dealer, we know it’s not entirely practical or affordable, but that doesn’t stop us desperately wanting one all the same.

The Dell Adamo XPS is available exclusively from John Lewis.

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 340 x 272 x 10mm (WDH)
Weight 1.440kg
Travelling weight 1.8kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400
Motherboard chipset Intel GS45
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel GMA X4500MHD
Graphics card RAM 128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 128GB
Spindle speed N/A
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung SSD PB22-JS3 TM
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 1,800mAh

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 2
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Base
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use N/A
Overall application benchmark score N/A
Office application benchmark score N/A
2D graphics application benchmark score N/A
Encoding application benchmark score N/A
Multitasking application benchmark score N/A
3D performance (crysis) low settings N/A
3D performance setting N/A

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7

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