Dell Studio 15
Designer chic without price or performance penalties
On area where the Studio 15 stands out, especially for a machine of this price, is performance. Its PCMark05 score of 6,037 placed it comfortably ahead of similarly priced machines such as the Samsung Q310 and Asus N50. Its 3DMark06 score of 4,200 is also pretty reasonable. It may not be enough for hardcore gamers, but at least it stands half a chance.
A respectable performer, although the battery life could be better
HD content proved no problem for it, with it able to playback both 720p and 1080p clips without an issue. Vista pegs its Windows Experience Index score at 5.1, which breaks down as: 5.3 processor, 5.9 memory, 5.1 graphics, 5.3 gaming graphics and 5.4 hard disk. Given the scale tops out at 5.9 that's pretty good.
Battery life was less impressive, with it managing to last just a minute over two hours running the PCMark05 test on a loop. Given that this is an extreme test, you could probably achieve something approaching the four hour mark with more moderate use. The Studio 15 wasn't overly noisy when running at full pelt and it didn't kick out a massive amount of heat either, so you shouldn't run into any problems using it on your lap if there isn't any desk space available.
For the money, the Studio 15 is a very well equipped laptop and its performance scores are not to be sniffed at. It may not be the most portable of machines and its battery life is a little on the low side, but if you're happy to stay still and near mains power you won't be disappointed. Add in the ability to choose a distinctive case design and you've got a good looking, well specified, decent performing laptop for a reasonable price tag. ®
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