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Dell Studio 1555 review

Verdict

Dell brings its Studio 15 bang up to date with a 15.6in, 16:9 ratio display, but patchy build quality limits its appeal

Review Date: 24 Aug 2009

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £608 (£699 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

Dell's Studio laptops are an alluring bunch; fitting snugly between the brand's budget-conscious Inspiron line-up and the premium XPS ranges, the Studio 15 and Studio 17 blend classy good-looks with surprisingly affordable prices. Adaptation is the key to survival, though, and the newest arrival, the Dell Studio 1555, marks an evolutionary step forward.

You'd be forgiven for not noticing any dramatic changes over its predecessor, but there are some subtle changes. Most notable of these is the disappearance of the 15.4in, 16:10 ratio display. In its place there now stands a 15.6in, 16:9 replacement.

It's still LED-backlit and capable of lending impressive punch and vibrancy to images. As per usual with Dell, there's a choice of resolutions, and while our model sported the basic 1,366 x 768, you can pay a £100 premium for a Full HD panel.

Fat club

Several of PC Pro's staff noted how chunky the Studio looks, and set against the current crop of netbooks and slim-line ultraportables, there's no argument that Dell's latest looks like it could do with shedding a few pounds.

Dell Studio 1555 rear

It isn't a bad-looking notebook, though. The beefy wedge-shaped design and modern curves lift it well out of the ordinary, and at 2.61kg it's a little lighter than some of the 15.6in competition.

Alas, build quality seems to have taken a turn for the worse. Applying gentle pressure to the Studio 1555's lid leaves it creaking ominously, and twisting motions reveal worrying amounts of give.

With even light prods on the back of the lid causing distortion on the display - a sign of the display casing fouling the LCD panel inside - this is one laptop that, where possible, we'd keep firmly ensconced in a well-padded laptop bag.

It's a shame, too, since the base is quite the opposite. Stout and solid, it provides a sturdy, flex-free wristrest and feels resilient enough to survive the odd knock here and there.

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User comments

My experiences of the Studio 1555

Thought I would add my personal experiences of the 1555 as I bought one when they came out a couple of months ago.

I wanted a good all-rounder that would act as the hub for my startup home recording studio as well as something I could take places with me to do the usual surfing, writing, movie watching and gaming. On all those scores it has proved to be a really good buy.

So far my 1555 has dealt with the hard grind of driving Abelton Live and the recording gear very well, no grumbles just good solid performance. The gaming experience has been good too. Ok, so you can't whack Crysis up to full spec but if you dial things down a bit I've yet to play a game that felt it was suffering on the laptop. My fave TF2 looks and play great though the touchpad is no use at all for gaming. Movies also look good and the sound quality is great, even through the laptop speakers which quite impressed me. Good selection of ins and outs too. Two headphone outputs is quite nice for sitting on a plane or train watching a movie with your friend.

On the down side the screen is a little bit reflective at times, but that is probably my main complaint. The other thing I don't particularly like is the touchpad. It is ok, and I admit I've never liked them anyway but I have found it a bit tricky to set up to the point where I'm happy using it. Certainly the default set up was a real pain.

One thing I would disagree with the PC Pro review over is I don't find the build quality questionable at all. Maybe the reviewer was unlucky or I was lucky? Mine is solid and feels robust and I've even got used to the 'flying wedge' shape, definitely an acquired taste but I like it!

I was fortunate enough to get a very good deal on a Dell offer that brought the cost down to £580 inc VAT and delivery. And that included a slightly better spec than the review version here - a 500gb HD, the longer life 9-cell battery which is proving fantastic, and even a nice dark blue lid ;-). I also got a free return flight to New York thanks to a promotion Dell had on at the time. I am thinking I should take the lappy with me as a little thankyou...

Overall, given the deal I got and the experience so far my Studio 1555 is proving to be an excellent laptop!

By hevster on 28 Aug 2009

not for a Winter sports enthusiast

I loved everything about the 1555 until I look at some skiing photos - these have a really bad purple tinge which once you are aware of this colour cast it becomes slightly apparent in other non-snow scenes. I had no issues at all with build quality, I like the keyboard, screen brightness, sound is excellent but I need to look at skiing pictures and edit skiing videos and I can't live with that purple tinge, and I did look at several 1555 screens. By comparison my M1530 has a delightful screen (1440*900 CCFL) reproducing colurs very accurately.

By downland on 19 Oct 2009

I've had dell studio 1555 for almost 3 years now and i am also very satisfied.

By bastet on 11 Aug 2012

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