Dell Studio 17

The Dell Studio 1735 is a decent laptop which is best for multimedia and casual gaming, but the glossy, hi-res screen isn't suited to general usage.


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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


In the last few years, Dell has reinvented itself as a lifestyle manufacturer, with the release of products like the XPS series and the Inspiron Mini. The new Studio range is all about style AND functionality, and today we're looking at the 1735.

Prices for the Studio 17 currently start at AU$1,499 for the entry-level machine, which is a good price if you're looking for a desktop replacement, but how does it perform?

Design
The Studio is a little bit of a Frankenstein in design terms: it takes Lenovo's distinctive hinges, adds the Sony Vaio hinge-mounted power buttons, and spills some of HP's etched palmtop on top.

In terms of Dell's overall range, the Studio fits somewhere between the XPS gaming machines and the Inspirons, but with a slightly more professional focus.

Despite the colourful metallic cover and these design touches, Dell couldn't save the laptop from looking a little like a "cookie cutter" once it's open. It's still gun-metal grey and black inside, and resembles any number of desktop replacements from the last few years.

Office users will appreciate touches such as the number pad and the fingerprint reader, while gamers and late-nighters will love the backlit keyboard with its three different levels of backlighting (including "off").

Like many other 17-inch laptops, the Studio isn't particularly portable — it weighs in at a hefty 3.6kg. If tote-ability is your aim then try the smaller 15-inch or even the XPS M1330.

Features
The Dell Studio 1735 that we received consisted of an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5GHz) processor with a generous 4GB of RAM — unfortunately, only 3GB will be utilised by Windows due to a restriction in the 32-bit operating system. You also get a lot of storage on-board, with two 320GB drives.

This laptop accommodates multimedia use with a bright, glossy screen with a native 1,920x1,200 resolution (a 1440x990 screen is also available). Video acceleration and games are powered by ATI's Mobility Radeon 3650 graphics card. Like many Dell laptops we've seen recently, the palmtop includes capacitive "Play" controls, and Blu-ray playback is also available as an option.

Strangely enough, while the 15-inch Studio includes an eSATA port, the 17-inch doesn't. It looks like they started to incorporate the same hybrid USB/eSATA port, but then gave up halfway through. Instead, you get a massive five USB 2.0 ports. If you need more than this on a laptop then Dell can't help you.

Other notable features include a mini-FireWire port, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, a full-size ExpressPort, and an SD/MMC/MSPro card reader.

Performance
Just as the design is a culmination of different bits and pieces, for a semi-professional laptop the balance is heavily in favour of multimedia use — not what we initially expected.

DVDs and games look magnificent, and while the Radeon 3650 isn't the best gaming card around it still does OK with most modern games. The 3DMark06 score of 2,941 helps to bear this out. The laptop also performed well with our other, more generalised benchmark, PCMark05, with a very respectable score of 5,853 marks.

Battery life is average for a desktop-based system at one hour 27 minutes, which means you'll be able to watch most DVDs before recharging — given that most movies run for 90 minutes.

While we appreciated the dual headphone ports the on-board speakers could have been better. While voices were communicated excellently, music and games lacked any real bass thump.

While the 1,920x1,080 resolution is great for multimedia purposes, it's a little small to be comfortable for general Web surfing and word processing on the 17-inch screen. This in conjunction with the reflective screen means eye-strain could be a problem.

Typing, though, is a plus, with good tactile feedback, and the number pad is great for number crunchers. Conversely, the trackpad feels a little slippery — and not as precise as those on other Dell products. It's worthwhile buying a dedicated mouse for use with this laptop, what, with all those USB ports to burn and everything.

Lastly, this machine is loaded with crapware, but Dell somehow thinks it can get away with it by putting its name in front of everything — for example, why do we need Dell-eBay? Surely Dell isn't expecting us to sell the laptop again straight away…

Conclusion
We liked the Dell Studio 1735: it's well-made, has a smattering of useful features, and is great for casual use. And it's available for a reasonable price. However, in many ways the Studio 15 is more attractive, features an external eSATA port which lets you easily add an external hard drive, and is a whole kilogram lighter.

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CreamingSoda
9
Rating
 

"Amazing laptop"

CreamingSoda posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Highly customizable, looks great, great support

The Bad:Battery life

Every laptop I have ever owned has been a Dell for a reason, and my Studio 17 is no exception. I was able to customize my laptop on almost every aspect from RAM to optical drive which I find very impressive.

The only bad side is the battery... which is to be expected on a 17" i5 laptop.

johnboy21bc
7
Rating
 

johnboy21bc posted a review   

The Good:Great Looking,Windows Vista

The Bad:Graphics Card,RAM,Scratches

A Good Laptop,Fast To Start With Slows Down After A While Same With Most Laptops,Seems Easy To Scratch But Maybe Thats Just Me!Screen Rubbish Outside.
Overall A Good Laptop For Office Use!

 

Dusty posted a comment   

The Good:Everything except the Blue Screen of Death

The Bad:Blue Screen of Death

We bought this laptop about 2 months ago and everytime we do an update, windows, it goes into recovery mode. We have called Dell and they keep having us do a back up or have us recover to a previous time. Frustrating! But all in all everything else has worked great.

 

rog posted a comment   

The Good:nice screen, fast as hell with 6gb, 7200 drive

The Bad:sound!!! and sound!

I have a four year old dell inspiron, and its sound is way better than my studio... You can only put it a little over half volume and it starts to deistort! and it sounds really tinny. Great laptop, but the sound is terrible.. oh I have an eSATA on mine, i didnt ask for it. and I have 64 bit vista... But I am canadian, I guess they offer different stuff!

Sup
9
Rating
 

Sup posted a review   

Dells are unbeatable value. Disagree about 1920x1080 being too much for normal use - I'm using a Vostro 1510 with 1920x1200 res 15.4" display and it's brilliant.

styleman
1
Rating
 

styleman posted a review   

I have ordered one aswell and I have to wait a month.
I got the same excuse about parts.
Pretty pathetic, considering they are a major computer seller.
Unfortunately I can't find a laptop that looks as good as the studio.

 

CreamingSoda posted a reply   
Australia

These laptops are built to order... thats why they take a while. Thats why they are soo customizable.

nativea
8
Rating
 

nativea posted a review   

my advise is go to tesco pc world as going to dell direct you have to wait a month for delivery there feeble excuse is we are waiting for parts.MMMMMMM

blaah
8
Rating
 

blaah posted a review   
New Zealand

The Good:good looks
decent specs
keyboard backlighting

The Bad:a bit thick at the rear
dell wireless, ati graphics, 32 bit vista

at that price, it's worth paying a bit more for the XPS line

Lazymonkey44 Facebook
9
Rating
 

Lazymonkey44 posted a review   
Australia

The Good:HDMI, Looks great, Cheap

The Bad:4GB RAM and nor 64 bit vista?

Looks Stunning, i am wanting the 15" one!

(Also, i want to give it 8.5)




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User Reviews / Comments  Dell Studio 17

  • CreamingSoda

    CreamingSoda

    Rating9

    "Every laptop I have ever owned has been a Dell for a reason, and my Studio 17 is no exception. I was able to customize my laptop on almost every aspect from RAM to optical drive which I find very i..."

  • johnboy21bc

    johnboy21bc

    Rating7

    "A Good Laptop,Fast To Start With Slows Down After A While Same With Most Laptops,Seems Easy To Scratch But Maybe Thats Just Me!Screen Rubbish Outside.
    Overall A Good Laptop For Office Use!"

  • Dusty

    Dusty

    "We bought this laptop about 2 months ago and everytime we do an update, windows, it goes into recovery mode. We have called Dell and they keep having us do a back up or have us recover to a previo..."

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