Dell Studio XPS 16 review

A great HD media centre and one of the most powerful laptops we've yet seen

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Our Verdict

A true performance laptop with some nice touches to improve the overall feeling of quality. Just don't expect it to last for a long journey

For

  • Slot loading Blu-ray
  • Excellent performance
  • Full HD screen
  • DDR3 memory

Against

  • Weak battery
  • Quite heavy

Dell's Studio XPS range is its latest laptop line, and designed for high-performance consumer use. While the 13-inch model is designed for frequent travel, the larger Studio XPS 16 is built for high-powered HD entertainment.

The magnesium alloy and plastic chassis carries the exact same style as its smaller counterpart, albeit in a 16-inch design. Build quality is generally excellent, although the glossy plastics are prone to scratches. The leather finish on the base of the lid also may not suit all tastes.

Bearing in mind its 3.1kg weight and limited battery performance of just 157 minutes under test, this isn't a laptop intended for regular travel use, but you can work around the home comfortably.

Excellent keyboard

Usability is excellent. The large keyboard spans 307mm of the chassis width and allows for large and accessible keys. The smooth typing action is extremely comfortable and all keys are firmly fixed and accurate. The keyboard is also backlit for easy use in low light conditions.

The 16-inch LED screen is equally impressive. It is a true widescreen panel, with a full HD resolution, so is ideal for watching viewing movies and photos. Image quality is truly stunning, and colour, contrast and black levels all prove far more accurate than on the 13-inch model.

This excellent multimedia usability is enhanced by the inclusion of a Blu-ray compatible optical drive for watching the latest HD releases. The slot-loading design adds style and, although you cannot write data to Blu-ray discs, you can easily record files to standard CDs and DVDs.

Awesome performance

Performance is where the Dell truly shines. The 2.35GHz dual-core processor and 4096MB of high-speed DDR3 memory, delivers some of the best performance we've seen from any laptop, letting you effortlessly multi-task with even the most high-powered applications.

Graphics power is equally impressive. The ATI graphics card provides enough power to edit photos and videos smoothly, and even delivers basic gaming power. It is also designed for full processing of HD video, which again adds to the HD media centre usability.

The 500GB hard drive provides comprehensive storage space for even the largest multimedia collections. Its 7200rpm speed is also the fastest speed a laptop drive can currently spin at, so data can be written and accessed with speed.

While the style may not suit your taste, the great power, storage and HD usability of the Studio XPS 16 make it a strong addition to Dell's high-end range. As long as you don't require great mobility, this is a great home media centre.