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Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display review

Andy Vandervell

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Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display
  • Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display

Summary

Our Score:

8

This gradual move to 16:9 aspect ratio displays in notebooks is starting to win us over. Yes, you do lose a few vertical pixels, but given we've seen such pleasures as the 1,600 x 900 13.1in effort in the Sony VAIO Z Series (see: Sony VAIO VGN-Z11WN/B) and the magnificent 1,920 x 1,080, RGB LED one in the Dell Studio XPS 16 we're looking today, there are enough points in the 'pros' column to even things out. Clearly this is good news for Dell, then, since this is the first and only 16in notebook to sport such a display - the closest alternative being Sony's 18.4in VAIO AW11XU/Q, which you won't see south of £2,000.

Let us rewind a little, though, to explain what we're actually talking about here. Chances are you'll have heard of LED backlit screens; they're very common among netbooks and any notebook whose aim is to be thin and light. However, RGB LED is the name given to a display that uses red, green and blue (hence RGB) LEDs, as opposed to just white LEDs as a backlight.

As a result the display in the Studio XPS 16 can reach something approaching 100 per cent of the Adobe RGB colour space, giving this machine one of widest colour gamuts you'll see on a notebook. This is great for watching films or TV, but is arguably of more import to anyone editing images, where the high colour accuracy is of particular interest.

We'll be taking a more detailed look at the images produced by this display a little later, but first we'll take a cursory glance at the Studio XPS 16's chassis. Anyone who read the review of the promising if slightly flawed Studio XPS 13 will recognise the lineage, since the 1640 (as it is also known) looks identical save for its obviously larger frame. However, measuring 33.95mm at its thickest, 24.1mm at its thinnest and weighing 3.06kg, it's no porker, even if it doesn't quite slip under the 3kg mark like Apple's new 17in MacBook Pro.

In any case, the jury is still out on the new Studio XPS design. Our sample doesn't exhibit some of the more alarming quality control issues of the 1340, such as the wobbly base, but there are points where the silver trim isn't as firmly fixed as it ought to be and we're still none too enamoured by the looks or durability of that leather strip on the lid. Still, the glossy black and silver accenting is a nice combination, as is the edge-to-edge 'frameless' display and backlit hinges.

Speaking of backlighting, the other key standard feature on all Studio XPS machines is the backlit keyboard. As on the 1340, though, the non-isolated nature of the keyboard means a certain level of bleed when viewed from an angle. Our opinion of the keyboard hasn't improved much, either. Its basic layout is fine, more or less perfect in fact, but keys are uneven and lack a little feedback. It's not quite bad enough to make this machine one to avoid, but it does take a little getting used to.

sockatume

March 10, 2009, 2:17 pm

Your description of the display is incorrect. An "RGB LED" display like this one is identical to any other LED-backlit LCD display, except it uses seperate red, green, and blue LEDs, instead of the typical one-LED "blue-plus-phosphor" approach to generating white light. That gives a more accurate white light at the cost of great lightguide complexity. Displays using red, green, and blue LEDs for each pixel do exist, but they're the "jumbotron" kind of displays used for advertising and news in train stations etc. Shrinking down such a display to the size of a 16-inch laptop would cost many orders of magnitude more than the equivalent OLED display, never mind a conventional LCD.

mjaffk

March 10, 2009, 2:40 pm

Does RGB LCD mean that blacks are going to be 100% black on the screen and contrast ratio is going to be really, really close to infinity?

Jmac

March 10, 2009, 3:23 pm

"Does RGB LCD mean that blacks are going to be 100% black on the screen and contrast ratio is going to be really, really close to infinity?"





No - you need local dimming LEDs for that, which this laptop doesn't have (and nor does any other laptop currently in production, AFAIK). This just has a normal flat backlight which happens to be provided by separate red, green and blue LEDs rather than white LEDs or one or more cold cathode fluorescent lights. The separate RGB LEDs provide a wider colour gamut, but they don't (as the article originally incorrectly suggested - I think it has been rectified now) individually light each pixel.

Riyad

March 10, 2009, 3:26 pm

@sockatume - You are of course right. The concept of RBG LED is to produce a completely clean, white light, and ultimately improve colour fidelity. Screens like this usually use a matrix of LEDs to create more even contrast and colour purity too. Thanks for the spot - review updated.

sockatume

March 10, 2009, 4:03 pm

No bother, it's an easy mistake to make given the sort of marketing RGB LED has been getting. Of course, in a couple of years we'll probably be seeing OLED displays in laptops, and then we really will have the truly black displays that Лис looks for.

Tomi

March 10, 2009, 4:57 pm

Thanks guys, been waiting for your review!





It's unfortunate tho, that I just had to cancel my order due to shocking delivery times. My delivery by - date was moved three times, and I've been waiting for almost two months now, with the new date still 2-3 weeks out..


Being a huge movie buff and casual photographer I was really looking forward to the screen! Sorry Dell, but your time taking has "forced" me to join El Jobso's camp.

Kristian

March 10, 2009, 11:05 pm

"Dell has chosen not to include any kind of mid/low-range sub-woofer underneath the machine."





Actually, 1640 has a subwoofer, albeit a poor one.





From Dell's official description page: http://www1.ap.dell.com/conten...





Cinematic sound


For extraordinary sound quality, the Studio XPS 16 has premium speakers with an integrated subwoofer and 5.1 Dolby® Digital outputs.

ksdp37

March 10, 2009, 11:41 pm

Would I be able to connect a dell 30" monitor to the laptop. I'm aware you can get HDMI -> Dual Link DVI-I adapters, but can they support 2560 x 1600 resolutions @ 32bit colour?

GoldenGuy

March 11, 2009, 1:18 am

I see everyone seems to be going for that piano black//digital picture frame bezel that the MacBooks have been touting.

Kristian

March 11, 2009, 10:15 am

"I see everyone seems to be going for that piano black//digital picture frame bezel that the MacBooks have been touting."





HP did it first before Apple.

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