Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display - Performance & Verdict

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



  • Recommended by TR
Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display


Our Score:


For all its qualities the 1640 couldn't do without decent performance, but this is never a problem for it. Its 2.53GHz CPU happily chomps through most things you could throw at it. Unless you're very demanding we can't see many people being unhappy with the performance, though the option for a quad-core processor might just have tempted prospective photography buffs even further.

Battery life isn't terrible, either, though it'll be interesting to see how it stacks up against the 17in MacBook Pro, which Apple claims can last for up to eight hours thanks to its hybrid nVidia 9400M integrated graphics. Indeed, it's curious that Dell hasn't opted for this in the 1640, especially since its 13.3in little brother does. In any case, in the Productivity segment of MobileMark 2007, the Dell managed two hours and 22 minutes, with the lower intensity Reader test ending in two hours and 42 minutes. Neither of these are bad results for such a large notebook and you could get a little more with some optimisation.

As for gaming, the ATI Mobility Radeon 3670 and its 512MB dedicated memory do a decent job. In Trackmania Nations, at 1,920 x 1,080 with detail set to high, it achieved a smooth 35.5 frames per second - leaving enough headroom for anti-aliasing at lower detail settings. As a whole there's enough performance here to play many modern games at reasonable settings.

Overall, then, the Studio XPS 16 is an interesting machine. Like the 13.3in version there are a few things that could do with tweaking, such as the keyboard, but it's basically a solid and attractive machine. We do wonder, though, whether the majority of people that are more interested in a multimedia machine than photo editing will want to pay more for the Dell's RGB LED display over the similar HP HDX 16.


We can't recommend the Dell Studio XPS 16 to everyone because HP's HDX 16 offers a similar feature set at a keener price. However, if you've been hankering after a notebook with desktop quality colour fidelity, then it makes a tantalising proposition - especially when, in the greater scheme of things, the option isn't even that expensive. As such it gets a (qualified) Recommended Award.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

Cinematic sound

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


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?


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.


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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