The Dell Studio line has been created to sit between the high-end XPS range and the consumer focused Inspiron range. It takes its design directly from the XPS but the use of slightly cheaper materials makes it a more cost-effective solution. You can personalise the laptop from a choice of different coloured lids and trim, which you can specify at time of purchase.

The Dell Studio 1735 is the 17-inch model, and is a great replacement for your desktop PC. While the XPS design works exceedingly well on the smaller XPS models, scaled up to this larger size it loses some of its elegance. This results in a large expanse of plastic for the palm rests, as well as above the keyboard.

Dell has tried to get around this by adding a row of touch sensitive media buttons above the keyboard for launching and controlling music and movies. There is even a button to instantly launch Dell's MediaDirect, which is the company's answer to Microsoft's Windows Media Centre. You'll be able to launch your movies, music and access pictures from the simple interface from within Windows itself.

Comfortable and well built

The keyboard is highly comfortable to use. The keys are of a good size and the addition of a numeric keypad makes uses of the main of the laptop effectively. The touchpad and mouse buttons are rather small but they respond well. Overall, this is a highly comfortable laptop to use.

The build quality is high, and the plastics feel extremely firm to the touch. The hinges holding the screen in place are large and considering the size of the panel, they hold it firmly in place. The screen itself is extremely bright and our review unit had a smooth tone to it. Images proved sharp and while it's a 16:10 aspect ratio screen, movies looked amazingly sharp when running.

Graphics are handled by the ATi Mobility Radeon HD 3650 GPU, which is a powerful but rather mainstream solution. It's fine for most games but, while Dell is pitching this machine as a high-definition laptop, which the graphics easily supports, the panel has a rather basic 1440 x 900 pixel native resolution.

The overall weight of this machine is 3.6kg, so you won't want to carry it around or use it when sat on the sofa. That said, we were impressed at how cool it ran, so you could sit with it on your lap if you wished. Being a desktop replacement laptop, battery life is a secondary concern, but we recorded a battery score of 166 minutes.

Quick and nimble

This machine is no slouch when it comes to processing power. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 processor, which runs at 2.4GHz, our test machine came with 4096MB of DDR2 memory. As a result, it offers a quick and nimble performance. With a MobileMark 2007 score of 223 supporting our own findings that this is a quick machine in all occasions, we feel it will comfortably replace your desktop PC with ease.

Features include a webcam, slot-loading optical drive, HDMI-out port as well as the older VGA-out adapter for connecting to analogue signals. The biometric fingerprint scanner looks rather lost on the palm rest and would have been better suited incorporated between the mouse buttons.

Conclusion

The Dell Studio 1735 is a great machine that feels comfortable to use. The build quality is high and is matched by an equally stunning performance. We're not sure who this new range is ideally aimed at, though - after all, it offers the look of an XPS but not the budget pricing of an Inspiron. However, it proved a highly effective desktop replacement.