Dell’s gone to town with the speaker system in the Studio 17. Stereo speakers at the front combine with a sub-woofer on the underside of the laptop to provide some truly stunning audio. Whack it up to full and it produces loud and undistorted tunes with aplomb.
No shortage of portage
Unfortunately, Dell’s opted to place the two satellite speakers on the wrist rest. While fine when using the laptop as a portable hi-fi, try listening to music while typing or gaming and you have to take great care not to let your palms cover the speakers. It would have been far better to situate them either just above the keyboard or underneath the front lip of the chassis.
Real audio performer
Networking options comprise the usual Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless. Bluetooth was also included on the review system but, as with the backlit keyboard, this can be ditched in favour of a £30 saving.
The multi-format DVD drive is a slot-loader
The 17.3in display has a native resolution of 1600 x 900 which will no doubt disappoint many potential buyers. Dell presumably wanted to avoid anything higher than this so as to make the touch side of things easier – trying to use one of your grubby mitts to prod a small link or icon is hard enough at 1600 x 900. This resolution also means playing 1080p HD video at full resolution is out of the question, unless you fancy hooking the laptop up to an external display through its HDMI port.
Still has right click
The laptop has a right click button on the trackpad like any other. It's missing the context menu key from the keyboard (the one next to the right start button on a standard keyboard)
It's not as big a loss but it's still a key I use.
You don't have to use the BIOS to switch the Function key behaviour. Win + X and use mobility centre - the Dell Quickset plugins let you change it there.
Every single application I use makes extensive use of the context menu. So a lack of right-click immediately means that I can't use this unit.
Windows 'style guides' have long suggested that the context menu be used a lot - and it is.
You don't get an idea about the size of this monster until you get to the pictures of the touchscreen being used. I'm certain that because of just the size, this system will never appear on my laptop replacement shortlist. I guess I should have guessed, it having a 17" screen, but if it is so wide, why have they not made space for the missing keys!