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Dell Studio 17 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £899
inc VAT


17 in 1,440×900 display, 3.6kg, 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9400, 4.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium


Dell’s Studio 17 is the cheapest desktop-replacement laptop here at just under £900, but it looks more expensive thanks to its decorated lid.

Oddly, there’s no latch or other mechanism to keep the lid closed. Despite its price, the Studio 17 is generously equipped with a Blu-ray drive and two 320GB hard disks. The 17in widescreen display is large enough to use comfortably every day, but its 1,440×900 resolution isn’t as high as other desktop-replacement laptops here. It’s not as bright as the display on Asus’s G70S, although it has reasonably wide viewing angles. Images have a blue tint, which is a little disappointing.

The slim Media Center remote tucks into the ExpressCard slot when not in use, and the keyboard includes a numeric keypad. The chunky keys resemble those of a desktop PC keyboard more than the slim keys on the other laptops here. They therefore have more travel, and are responsive and comfortable to type on. The touchpad is accurate, but the spongy buttons don’t give enough feedback.

We weren’t impressed with the muddy, tinny sounding speakers. Usefully, there are two headphone jacks so two people can enjoy music or movies without disturbing anyone else. The Studio is too chunky and heavy for regular travel, but it’s the lightest desktop replacement here at 3.6kg and its battery lasted a reasonable two hours and 19 minutes in our light-usage test.

The Studio fared well in our Windows benchmarks with an overall score of 3,523. It’s the only desktop replacement here to have an ATI graphics chip – the Mobility Radeon HD 3650 – which can just about handle modern 3D games at a stretch. It managed only 10.3fps in Call of Duty 4 which increased to 24.1fps at lower graphics settings.

Dell’s Studio isn’t as feature packed as the other desktop replacements here, but its lower price makes it attractive if you don’t need the frills. If you just want Blu-ray on a budget, Acer’s £500 Aspire is even better value.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T9400
Processor clock speed 2.53GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 45x395x290mm
Weight 3.6kg
Sound IDT HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption idle 64W
Power consumption active 89W


Viewable size 17 in
Native resolution 1,440×900
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 256MB


Total storage capacity 640GB
Optical drive model LiteOn DVDRW BD CA10N
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 5
Total Firewire ports 1
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem No
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included Dell Dock 1.0, Microsoft Works 9
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £899

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