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Dell Studio 17 touchscreen notebook

The pinnacle of portable touch computing?

So, back to that touchscreen display. The Studio 17 can recognise four fingers on the screen at any one time, but this is tempered by the fact that the vast majority of Windows applications only make use of two fingers at a time. Some fun can be had with Paint – using four fingers to simultaneously create an unholy mess can be quite therapeutic – but you’re otherwise stuck with, ahem, two-fingered gestures. No stylus is included with the package.

Dell Studio 17

Tap and drag

A collection of specially-crafted software, including Dell’s Touch Zone suite and some Microsoft games, showcases the laptop’s touch capabilities, but when it comes to everyday use things aren’t quite as impressive. Trying to browse the web, for example, is a painful experience. I frequently found myself having to bash links repeatedly, which takes the gloss off proceedings. That said, scrolling with two fingers was comfortable, while pulling and pinching to zoom in and out of photos also worked reasonably well.

The touch theme continues just above the keyboard, with a series of media shortcut buttons. Although eye-catching, these buttons are darn fiddly to use and it’s easy to slip onto the neighbouring button by accident, thereby turning the volume up instead of down, for example.

Dell Studio 17

How long before arm-ache sets in?

Dell kitted the review sample out with a pacey 1.6GHz Intel Core i7-720QM processor and 4GB of DDR 3 memory. An AMD ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 graphics chip was also fitted, providing a noticeable step up in 3D performance compared to integrated graphics.

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