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Dell Studio Hybrid Desktop review

Ardjuna Seghers

By

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Exceptional image quality
  • Manual controls
  • Compact design
  • Great build quality
  • Fast lens

Cons

  • Limited zoom range
  • Limited video modes
  • Expensive
  • Slightly fiddly controls

Miniaturisation is big these days. Asus' brilliant Eee PC not only had a profound effect on the notebook sector, single-handedly laying the foundation that made the netbook a success, but it also allowed the company to expand that tiny form factor onto the desktop in the form of the Eee Box.

The problem with the Eee Box and its likewise Atom-using peers is that, unlike Apple's Mac Mini in that system's heyday, it lacks processing power. Current 1.6GHz Atoms are great chips due to their low power usage, but try to run some high definition video or multiple apps, and they'll struggle. But fear not, you can (on paper at least) have both a minuature and powerful system courtesy of Dell's Studio Hybrid Desktop. Essentially, what you're getting here is the internals of a laptop stuck in a desktop case. And while this is hardly the first PC to do that, few we've come across can match the Studio Hybrid for compactness and style.

For such a small device, the Studio Hybrid is shipped in a rather large box. That's a good thing, though, as the extra space fits lots of extras, including a metal stand along with a keyboard and mouse set that, aesthetically at least, makes Dell's usual peripherals look rather cheap. Equally pleasing is the Studio Hybrid's super-slim power brick, which makes a change from the lumps we often see.

Also included is a cable clip, shaped to resemble the machine itself; a cardboard sleeve containing the manuals and warranty information; and the system CDs. Among these you'll find an Audigy driver for the integrated Sound Blaster chipset, an applications disc, a driver disc, and OEM versions of Microsoft Works 9 and Windows Vista Premium 32-bit.

The wireless keyboard and mouse, meanwhile, match the Studio Hybrid's sleek and shiny looks perfectly. Saying that, they're only available in black, so if you want them to match the system you should go for the Slate Grey version. The three-button mouse has a piano-black, one-piece body with rubberised sides. Unfortunately the scroll-wheel does not support four-way scrolling, but the mouse fits nicely in the hand, with its two AA batteries giving it decent weight. However, it doesn't come close to the comfort or quality of even budget Microsoft or Logitech devices.

The keyboard is rather slab-like and has a large circular volume control flush with its surface. Its keys have plenty of travel but don't offer a pleasant tactile feedback and the spacebar is noisy. Overall, peripheral-wise, Dell provides a shining example (pun intended) of why you can't take such things at face value.

HSC

November 6, 2008, 1:45 pm

you cant be serious at those prices Dell.....


a better specced Dell laptop costs considerably less and includes a screen..!!

TechVegan

November 6, 2008, 3:11 pm

@HSC: Personally, I couldn't agree more! Unfortunately, at this kind of size there isn't exactly much competition to Dell's Hybrid at the moment, and some people will want it for its looks alone.

Pbryanw

November 6, 2008, 5:37 pm

Yes, I agree, you can buy an Atom based EeePC for 𧷤 less which is the same kind of form factor, but your performance will suffer. A similarly specced Mac mini would probably come to about the same price.

timple

November 6, 2008, 10:33 pm

Does anyone produce a PC with onboard freeview tuners and a remote control? I want a single box under my telly that I can use to watch the BBC iplayer - but also do the Humax type of thing as well for the other channels...... (Apple are you awake?) I am hoping the HDD maunufacturers will add an ethernet port and iplayer function but it is more likely to be a PC manufacturer who does it first. The ironic thing is that with the BBC iplayer the "media PC" is finally a desirable item - except I can't find one now!

Technology changes, and so sho

November 6, 2008, 11:09 pm

Something's not right here:


I went to the Dell website and it seems to claim that Wi-Fi is an optional extra on the base model, and I find no mention of integrated Bluetooth.


Blast! This units could have been so right (older Intel platform aside), but not including Bluetooth seems laughable.


This unit would look lovely next to my Full HD Plasma TV linked with HDMI, and I could save money on the package if it included Bluetooth and I could use my existing Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.


Is there some sort of conspiracy among technology manufacturers to release stuff that just doesn't quite live up to expectation?

basicasic

November 8, 2008, 3:46 am

So if I've got this right it cant play decent HD video or games due to feeble graphics, has a miserly 2GB RAM and 320GB hard drive, uses older (and cheaper technology), has a poor keyboard and mouse, has no screen and costs the best part of 𧼐. But it looks nice.





And somehow ends up getting an overall 8/10. Fascinating.

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