The aesthetically pleasing Dell Studio Hybrid PC has a terrific compact design, but it sacrifices performance for miniaturisation.

Dell's new Studio Hybrid makes a strong impression with its stylish design, and its price will make you take notice, too. A basic configuration starts at £569, without monitor; our test configuration, with a 19-inch LCD monitor, will cost around £610.

Dell bills the Dell Studio Hybrid PC as being 80 percent smaller than a typical desktop. To achieve this feat of miniaturisation, the Hybrid uses notebook computer components.

Our test configuration featured a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T8100 CPU, 2GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and Intel Mobile 965 Express Chipset integrated graphics. Other options include built-in draft 802.11n Wi-Fi, a TV tuner, and a wireless keyboard and mouse. The Dell Studio Hybrid PC isn't expandable (or user serviceable), so there's no graphics option beyond the integrated Intel graphics.

The Dell Studio Hybrid PC can be set in a vertical or horizontal configuration; glowing blue Dell logos appear on the top and bottom (or left and right, if vertical) of the unit, and the name "Hybrid" automatically orients itself depending on whether you stand the computer vertically or horizontally. An included stand helps the Dell Studio Hybrid PC stay upright.

The ports (HDMI, DVI, gigabit ethernet, a Kensington lock, SP/DIF, and line-in and line-out; a four-pin FireWire 400 port and three USB 2.0 ports) are all neatly arranged in the back, which helps with cable management. Up front, you'll find a slot-loading 8x dual-layer DVD burner at left (if vertical), and a headphone jack, two more USB ports, and an 8-in-1 memory card reader at right.

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The aesthetically pleasing Dell Studio Hybrid PC has a terrific compact design, but it sacrifices performance for miniaturisation.


What's most noteworthy about the Dell Studio Hybrid PC is that you don't pay a premium for the miniaturised design. This is a first-and a testament to the mainstream status of notebook components.

What's least noteworthy is the Dell Studio Hybrid PC's performance. It mustered a score of only 79 on our PC WorldBench 6 tests, tying the mark posted by the HP TouchSmart IQ506, which likewise uses notebook components; neither of these systems is in the same league with value PCs that have true desktop guts. Graphics performance was weak as well: the Studio Hybrid failed to muster playable frame rates on either of our gaming tests.

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Dell Studio Hybrid: Specs

  • Intel Pentium Dual Core, Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Windows Vista Home Basic/Home Premium/Ultimate
  • up to 4GB4 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
  • up to 320GB3 Serial ATA Hard Drive (5400rpm)
  • IEEE1394 and/or USB 2.0 ports
  • 8X Slot Load CD/DVD Writer (DVD+/-RW)/6X Slot Load Blu-ray/CD/DVD Combo Drive
  • Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
  • Intel High Definition Audio 2.0
  • Optional Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced HD Software Edition
  • 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) ethernet LAN on system board
  • built-in Draft-N wireless networking (optional)
  • 5x USB 2.0 compliant ports
  • IEEE1394a port (4-pin)
  • HDMI video connector
  • DVI video connector
  • integrated network connector 10/100/1000 LAN (RJ45)
  • AC adaptor connector
  • Digital Audio: S/P DIF
  • Analog Audio: Headphone (front)
  • Line-in / Line-out (back)
  • 196.5x71.x211.5mm
  • 2.18kg
  • Intel Pentium Dual Core, Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Windows Vista Home Basic/Home Premium/Ultimate
  • up to 4GB4 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
  • up to 320GB3 Serial ATA Hard Drive (5400rpm)
  • IEEE1394 and/or USB 2.0 ports
  • 8X Slot Load CD/DVD Writer (DVD+/-RW)/6X Slot Load Blu-ray/CD/DVD Combo Drive
  • Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
  • Intel High Definition Audio 2.0
  • Optional Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced HD Software Edition
  • 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) ethernet LAN on system board
  • built-in Draft-N wireless networking (optional)
  • 5x USB 2.0 compliant ports
  • IEEE1394a port (4-pin)
  • HDMI video connector
  • DVI video connector
  • integrated network connector 10/100/1000 LAN (RJ45)
  • AC adaptor connector
  • Digital Audio: S/P DIF
  • Analog Audio: Headphone (front)
  • Line-in / Line-out (back)
  • 196.5x71.x211.5mm
  • 2.18kg

OUR VERDICT

The Dell Studio Hybrid PC's so-so performance limits its versatility, but the idea of having a stylish, unobtrusive system to connect to my television appeals to us. Suddenly, using a PC as a digital video recorder seems plausible (although we'd want a remote control, too).

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