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Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Dell Studio XPS 13 review

£1225 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Dell

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

Compact but very powerful, the Studio XPS 13 notebook is a high-class and fully featured tour de force from Dell.

Compact but very powerful, the Studio XPS 13 notebook is a stylish and fully featured tour de force from Dell.

With a few exceptions, Dell has often been seen as the safe choice, a PC manufacturer that offers good value for money, if sometimes workmanlike designs. Forget everything you thought you know, and meet the Dell Studio XPS 13 notebook.

Various models are available with different processor and storage combinations, starting at £749. We tried the top-spec Dell Studio XPS 13 model with 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 128GB of Samsung solid-state drive.

Focusing on the design first, the Dell Studio XPS 13 reeks of art deco tech, all black with silvered aluminium accents such as the hinge bracket and screen support structure, along with a neat silver trim that encircles the chassis top. On the lid outer is a finely grained black leather insert, finalising the executive flair for the design.

Open the catchless lid and you'll find that a keyboard comprises adjoining flat-top keys, beautifully backlit à la Apple when light levels drop. In fact, Dell has bettered Apple here by minimising light bleed between keys, making for a seamless dark-room experience. Backlight brightness is easily changed between three preset levels, using the Fn + cursor-right keys.

Beyond the keyboard of the Dell Studio XPS 13 are touch-sensitive buttons, also backlit in white, that readily change speaker volume or allow media playback control. You can even switch wireless functionality on and off here with the glance of a fingertip. A high-precision if compact trackpad is barely satin textured, inlayed between the glossy plastic top deck, with two softly sprung buttons for mouse control.

NEXT PAGE: The core specification and features explained >>

Dell Studio XPS 13 Expert Verdict »

Dell Studio XPS 13 Scores 8.5 out of 10 based on 13 reviews
2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9500
1066MHz FSB
6MB L2 cache
13.3in (1280x800) 16:10 LED-backlit glossy LCD display
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit SP1
4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 RAM
nVidia GeForce 9500M graphics (9400M + 9200M GS) with 256MB RAM
slot-load 8x DVD±RW DL drive
gigabit ethernet
1 x USB 2.0
1 x combo eSATA/USB 2.0
1 x mini FireWire 400
2 x headphone out
stereo speakers
dual built-in mics
multi-card reader
3G modem
1.3Mp webcam
power consumption 26W idle, 65W load
six-cell 56Whr lithium ion battery
2-year warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

‘Desktop replacement’ used to be a euphemism for a noisy and heavy laptop. Not so with the Studio XPS 13. It’s as powerful as many desktops, yet compact enough to carry almost anywhere. To expand its modest display it can be plugged into any screen thanks to a versatile collection of video ports. Despite all that raw power, the Studio XPS 13 is near-silent in general use, thanks to no hard disk noise and a fan that only kicks in when the laptop is under load. Combining great style, solid build quality and sheer outright performance, the Studio XPS thoroughly earns its PC Advisor Gold Award.

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