Dell Studio 1555 review

£699
Price when reviewed

The patchy build quality has a detrimental effect on the keyboard too. The left-hand side of the keyboard is excellent, with the backlit keys providing a luxurious, silky feel and a crisp action. Move to the right hand-side, however, and a squishy base leaves the key action feeling mushy and indistinct.

Stepping up

Performance marks a distinct improvement for the Studio 1555. The range of processors available stretch from budget models right up to the 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600, with our review model featuring the cost-effective and power-efficient 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo P8600.

And with even the cheapest model boasting 4GB of DDR2 memory (no sign of DDR3) there’s plenty of breathing space for Vista’s demands, and our application-based benchmarks finished with a nippy 1.19 overall.

The Studio’s graphical abilities have also received a major overhaul. ATI’s Mobility Radeon HD 4570 leaves the previous incumbent (the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450) choking in its dust, and where the old Studio managed just 22fps, the HD 4570 soars ahead with an average of 59fps in our least demanding Crysis benchmark.

It’s enough of a boost to turn it into a capable games machine, and although it struggles with the demands of Crysis’ high detail settings, it’s sure to handle most modern games with aplomb.

Meanwhile, battery life is reasonable despite the power on tap, with the Studio 1555 achieving a time just short of five hours in our light-use battery tests.

Conclusion

Despite this, it’s hard not to come away a little disheartened from our first encounter with the Studio 1555, however. Dell’s Studio range of notebooks failed to bowl us over when it strode into view in the tail end of last year and, if anything, the Studio 1555 takes a step backwards from there.

The good looks, solid performance and keen pricing may be enough to tempt some prospective buyers away from its budget rivals but, ultimately, the iffy build quality and mediocre keyboard put paid to its class-leading aspirations.

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 372 x 249 x 43mm (WDH)
Weight 2.610kg
Travelling weight 3.1kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8600
Motherboard chipset Intel PM45
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.5in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset ATi Mobility Radeon HD 4570
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface 7200
Hard disk Western Digital Scorpio Black
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive LG GA10N
Battery capacity 5,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 1
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 1
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 3
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset IDT HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
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 4hr 45min
Overall application benchmark score 1.19
Office application benchmark score 1.26
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.15
Encoding application benchmark score 1.09
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.27
3D performance (crysis) low settings 59fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery disc

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