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Dell Studio 15 Notebook

But if your budget doesn't extend to the £888 this 13in-screen design has now been generously reduced to (from £1199 when we reviewed it), Dell has a lot more affordable versions obtainable, including this 15in-screen Studio 15 - now sporting a brand-new Intel Core i5 dual-core processor.

Note that specs and costs of Dell computers could be something of a moving target. In fact our review of this Studio 15 notebook computer had to undergo major rewriting to accomodate a change from a 2.1GHz Intel dual-core sample, at just £479, to this design with fresher 2.4GHz Core i5.

At time of press this version is £579, but be prepared to see more spec and cost revisions on Dell's ever-evolving web market.

Construct high quality and overall appear and feel remain superb. This Dell Studio 15 feels classier than any circa-£500 notebook computer we've seen prior to. The chassis is sturdy and creak-free, and includes a host of useful connection options. At 2.7kg, though, it's no ultraportable.

We were also impressed by the Dell Studio 15's keyboard and trackpad. While the keyboard may be a touch clankier in action than our memory from the Studio XPS recalls, it was still comfortable in use. The touchpad meanwhile was incredible silky and responsive, a little small but one of the best at any cost, when so many manufacturers cut corners by fitting cheaper low-grade devices here.

The two mouse-click buttons are slightly recessed but are nevertheless simpler to use than the long-travel buttons we remember from the Studio XPS 13. There's even a £30 choice to fit an Apple-style white-LED backlit keyboard.

Screen high quality was much better than average, a glossy widescreen panel of 1366x768 resolution, with crisp definition. Given the high build quality and excellent trackpad we were nearly inclined to overlook the usual eye-strain posed by this glaring reflective screen.

Our final design of the quite came with an Intel Core i5-520M CPU running at 2.4GHz. Intel's built-in Turboboost feature soups this up to 2.93GHz when conditions allow.

But 1t is easy sufficient to configure as your taste and spending budget allows, up to some Core i7-820QM apparently. Other choices consist of Bluetooth for another £30, or a full-HD widescreen panel, and wireless-n networking.

And if you think like sprucing up a lot more than the internal components, Dell also offers dozens of colourful patterns to customise the lid back.

The Core i5-equipped Studio 15 proved a really quick machine, logging a sterling score of 103 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test. For context, that's quicker than this month's Best Buy within the £500 Best 5 Charts. We did notice the Core i5 version seemed to run just a little hotter, with the fan kicking in more frequently.

Battery life of this Dell Studio 15 suffered a little from the new chip. Our first dual-core sample stretched to 260 mins within the MobileMark 2007 Productivity check. Having a Core i5 onboard, this figure dropped to 225 mins - or 3hrs 45mins. A 9-cell battery is an choice which ought to break the five-hour barrier.

Thanks to a true discrete ATI graphics card, the Dell Studio 15 was very up to playing modern 3D games. The Mobility Radeon HD 4570 includes 512MB of dedicated video RAM, helping it along to a smooth 36 frames per second in our top-spec FEAR game check.

Dell's design of Studio chassis 1s really a sound foundation for building a solid notebook computer. Dell has managed to equip the really latest Studio 15 with sufficient performance and ports rebuild an outstanding notebook within the key areas of comfort, longevity and outright speed. Itís a little heavier than the competition but it feels like itís built to last. At this price, and with this performance and build it.

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Gursel Batmaz writes articles about different things, including Notebook. For more information about works of Gursel Batmaz visit this Sony Vaio Notebook webpage.

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