Dell Adamo XPS review
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.
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.
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||2 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||340 x 272 x 10mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel GS45|
|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||Intel GMA X4500MHD|
|Graphics card RAM||128MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Samsung SSD PB22-JS3 TM|
|Optical disc technology||N/A|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/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)||2|
|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||Realtek HD Audio|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||2.0mp|
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|