Dell's Studio range of laptops is aimed at the regular home user, with the Studio 15 offering a great mix of affordable portability and power.
The 15.4-inch screen is superb, with LED backlighting used to offer the most accurate colour reproduction currently possible. The resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels is among the sharpest we have seen, and creates the crispest image quality. Reflections show up in brighter conditions however, as with other Super-TFT panels.
Graphics are handled by an integrated Intel graphics chip, which is the same GPU used in many of the Studio's rivals. It gives this machine moderate 3D capabilities, and we had no trouble running presentations or watching DVDs, and photo editing was also carried out with ease. You won't be able to play anything more than the simplest of games, however.
The Dell's keyboard is very comfortable to use, and one of the best we've seen at any price. A soft-touch finish makes the keys comfortable to use, and it's both responsive and near silent when typing. It also benefits from backlighting – a feature usually found on machines costing far more – letting you work comfortably in dark conditions.
Build quality is excellent throughout, and we particularly like the robust and coloured rubber coating on the lid. Not only is it tactile and hardwearing, it also hides scratches a lot better than glossy rivals such as the Samsung R510.
You'll find a mid-range 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and 2048MB of memory within the chassis. Performance is nothing less than stunning, and the Dell is capable of carrying out tasks considerably faster than its rivals, and also proves the ideal laptop for everyday home and business use. Even battery life is impressive, lasting for just under five hours away from a power point.
The Studio 15 is equally impressive when it comes to features. Connectivity is better than average, with 802.11n Wi-Fi, along with Gigabit Ethernet for fast wired connections. The 160GB hard drive offers less space than some of its rivals but, spinning at 7200rpm, it also lets you access your files quicker.
There's also a slot-loading DVD rewriter for backing up files, and an HDMI-out port lets you hookup a high-definition TV, while a VGA-out port allows regular analogue connections.
Those seeking a gaming laptop should look elsewhere, but for practically every other use the Dell Studio 15 is an excellent choice. Its all-round abilities are amazing, especially considering the price, and we feel it's the best mainstream laptop you can currently buy.
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