Dell Adamo review

Price when reviewed

Performance and battery life

The gloriously thin design leaves little room for extravagance on the inside, and we were unsurprised to find the Adamo is powered by a low-voltage Intel processor. The 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo U9300 and an accompanying 3GB of DDR3 RAM produced a score of 0.68 in our real-world benchmarks, which is almost identical to that of the Air, with its 1.86GHz SU9400 processor. Neither is astonishingly quick, but for a laptop like this that’s plenty of power for office work and other everyday tasks.

Dell Adamo front
As with the Air, this Adamo sports a 128GB SSD. It’s not as capacious as we’ve come to expect in today’s laptops, but for the performance and added durability it’s a luxurious trade-off we’re happy with. If you need more, you could take a step up from this “Admire” specification and opt for the “Desire”, which doubles that to 256GB, ups the RAM to 4GB and includes a slightly faster processor.

It also ups the price to £1,899 including VAT, which doesn’t really jump out as an attractive deal. The two are identical other than those core specs, so you’re stuck with integrated graphics that pretty much rule the Adamo out of gaming sessions. The £1,329 inc VAT base package is more appealing, and puts it on a par with the dearer of the two available MacBook Airs.

It’s a very close call on most counts. There’s less than a millimetre between them for thickness, but the Dell weighs around 400g more – not that this dampened the gushing appreciation it received in the PC Pro office.

Where the Dell can’t quite match its rival is away from the mains. The Adamo managed two hours less than the Air in our light-use test, running out of steam just past five hours – a figure that also falls behind the excellent Sony VAIO VGN-Z31VN/X. Both the Adamo and the Air have fully enclosed batteries – so there’s no chance to buy a new one or fit a larger-capacity unit.
Dell Adamo back


If you’re after a stunning machine that’s been designed from the ground up to make a statement, few will outdo the Adamo, a blissful marriage of superb ergonomics and striking design. It may not be as instantly cool as its Apple equivalent, but Dell has proven it’s capable of coming up with a laptop that’s every bit as stylish and desirable.

While the Dell Adamo may not pack the punch of the Sony Z31, given its vastly lower price it’s a much more realistic purchase for most consumers. It’s light, slim and as gorgeous as a slab of black aluminium has any right to be, so it takes a deserved place as our A List ultraportable of choice.


Warranty1yr on-site, 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions331 x 243 x 18mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.9kg
Weight with extended batteryN/A
Travelling weight with extended batteryN/A

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo U9300
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR3

Screen and video

Screen size13.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 4500
Graphics card RAM256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Hard disk usable capacity119GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA
Hard diskSamsung SSD
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A


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
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
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 jacks1
SD card readerno
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetDell HD Audio
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use5hr 3min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 31min
Overall application benchmark score0.68
Office application benchmark score0.72
2D graphics application benchmark score0.76
Encoding application benchmark score0.59
Multitasking application benchmark score0.65
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Operating system and software

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

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