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Dell Adamo review


A stunning piece of design to rival any Apple offering, and the price is surprisingly reasonable

Review Date: 12 Aug 2009

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £1,156 (£1,329 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

3 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Dell may not emanate the instant cool that comes with each new Apple launch, but it's doing its best to change that. Months of drip-fed information, a few brief hands-on previews and a luxurious official website have whipped up the expectation, and now it's here we can confidently say the Adamo has been worth every second of the wait.

It comes in silver or black, with suitably lush monikers – the Adamo Pearl and Onyx – and its dimensions are to die for: it's impossibly slim at just 18mm and weighs 1.8kg, so it should become a permanent companion on your travels – although we’d recommend a padded slipcase, at the very least, to ensure the exquisite exterior isn’t scratched or damaged.

Dell Adamo side

Attention to detail

The chassis, as well as providing a striking first impression, is peppered with impressive details: dozens of tiny pinpricks sit toward the rear of the machine, ostensibly to provide ventilation, but one of them lights up when the laptop is on and pulses on and off when it’s in sleep mode.

Turn the Adamo over and you’ll see that its service number is written in miniscule font along a discreet edge – because having stickers and removable panels scattered across the underside just wouldn’t do. Instead, the bottom only features a raised metallic plaque with the Adamo logo and the Vista and Intel liveries that would usually – on a normal, common laptop – sit below the keyboard.

To keep the sides neat, all the ports and sockets are sequestered on the rear of the machine. You get two USB ports, a combined eSATA/USB port, Gigabit Ethernet and even a DisplayPort output squeezed in. There’s no D-SUB output, though, and the necessary DisplayPort-to-D-SUB and HDMI adapters are listed on Dell’s US site but haven't yet made it to the UK homepage.

Getting the basics right

Ease back the lid and it’s clear Dell has really gone to town. The 13.3in edge-to-edge WLED display has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768, and offers bright colours and sharp detail, although it’s not perfect. We found the backlight bled through a little and the panel itself was rather glossy and reflective but, all in all, it's pleasant to use for work or play.

Dell Adamo keyboard
The keyboard eschews the Scrabble-tile design of the MacBook Air and Sony VAIO Z-series, in favour of wide, slightly concave keys. They’re comfortable, too, with a solid base and nice typing action, although the slightness of the laptop does mean key travel is a little shorter than perfect. As you'd expect, Dell’s layout is entirely practical, with a double-height Enter and wide left and right Shift keys.

The trackpad has nothing innovative to rival the Air's multitouch flexibility, but it's responsive and smooth while the mouse buttons are light and easy to click.

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User comments

Any chance of a photo of the COA sticker under the magnetic cover behind the screen? I've seen this described but would be interested to see how they've actually done it.

By davidbryant4 on 13 Aug 2009

First truly fair Mac vs. PC comparison?

Could you please do an article pitting Adamo the against the MacBook Air? I think these 2 products are probably as close as you could get to a proper 'like-for-like' comparison.

From where I'm standing, the MacBook Air suddenly doesn't seem so 'expensive' and under-specced. Infact compared to the Adamo, it looks positively better value and better designed!

By ihsan on 13 Aug 2009

David Bryant - I'm hoping to get a picture of the COA sticker today for you, so I'll put it on the gallery when I get my hands on it. That's a lovely little design touch.

Ihsan - I'm workong on it!

By Mikey_Jennings on 14 Aug 2009

Interior image is now in the gallery

David - I've got a picture of the Adamo's interior, now, showing the magnetic strip and the COA sticker beneath.

It's the seventh image in the gallery at the top of the review.

Hope that's ok!

By Mikey_Jennings on 14 Aug 2009

Cheers! Is it a normal size COA sticker or a smaller one?

By davidbryant4 on 14 Aug 2009

Cheers! Is it a normal size COA sticker or a smaller one?

By davidbryant4 on 14 Aug 2009

COA sticker

David - it looks to be a smaller one to fit in that tiny space!

By Mikey_Jennings on 14 Aug 2009

You're right ihsan but the Air is overpriced and so is the Adamo. I do happen to prefer the styling of the Adamo. It looks amazing. Shame it has Dell written on it though

By TimoGunt on 17 Aug 2009

The problem with macbooks is that they have an apple symbol on them and a smug consumer drone attached.

By dodge1963 on 22 Aug 2009

smug consumer drone?

I'm always fascinated by the attitude of some Windows users to Apple users. While Apple-fans take pot-shots at Windows, the Windows fans take pot-shots at Apple USERS. This sort of bigoted response seems to me to stem from a deep-seated insecurity; they think the Apple guys might be on to something, but they're afraid to make the move because they'd have to go form being a Windows "expert" to an Apple "novice", and that sort of challenge to their innate sense of superiority is too scary to contemplate, so they lash out at the people they secretly envy. You see the same kind of thing in Religious Extremists. Sad really.

By lgj001 on 17 Sep 2009


I've been led to believe that Apple machines just work so you don't need to be an expert?

Personally, I don't envy Apple or people that own their products, but i do feel sad for people that fall for the hype or believe that buying Apple will somehow gain them more friends.

By rhythm on 2 Sep 2010

Dell Adamo review..

Hi my name is J.D. I work for Dell. I think your article is very impressing. You can check for more good laptops from Dell at its online store at Thanks for sharing.

By jd251986 on 2 Apr 2012

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