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Dell Studio XPS 16 with RGB LED Display - Specs, Options, Connectivity

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



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


Our Score:


Inside, our Studio XPS 16 is ideally configured for the photography enthusiast, with a rapid 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU with 6MB L2 Cache and a 1,066MHz front-side bus. This is matched by 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM and for those who are greedy for system memory you can specify as much as 6GB or 8GB of the stuff. For graphics there's a 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670 and Gigabit Ethernet, Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth all come as standard.

Our version also comes, not unsurprisingly, with a Blu-ray ROM drive as well as a TV Tuner, while storage is provided by a capacious 500GB drive. It also came pre-loaded with the Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements bundle (a £60 extra), though we've left this off the final £1,419.00 price since it's, strictly speaking, an optional extra.

As for the rest of the range, there are four standard configurations, starting at £929 inc. VAT, though this configuration nets you a lower resolution, non-RGB LED 720p display, no Blu-ray drive and no TV Tuner. At first glance this would seem like pretty shoddy value of money, especially compared to the significantly cheaper and excellent HP HDX X16-1005ea that we reviewed at £869.99 with a 1080p display, Blu-ray and a TV Tuner.

However, that was then and this is now and right now the weakening pound is pushing prices up, with the equivalent HDX 16 now priced at £1,099 online. Still, the lack of a non-RGB LED 1080p option on the Dell means an identical spec (with Full HD screen) to the HP means a higher final price of £1,238.99, so unless you truly desire after or need the high colour gamut of the Dell then the HP remains the better value investment. We should add, too, that despite being a multimedia machine, Dell doesn't provide any kind of remote in the box. This is a pretty poor show given that HP manages to include two with its HDX machines.

Connectivity, though, as it was with the Studio XPS 13, is very good. You get three video connections, VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort, three USB ports, one of which is an eSATA/USB dual-function port, a 54mm ExpressCard slot, four-pin FireWire and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. An IR receiver is also present, despite the lack of an included remote, as are dual-headphone outputs and a microphone input. Above the keyboard, meanwhile, is the usual assortment of touch sensitive media keys - all of which work just fine.

One other neat feature of the Dell is its power supply, which despite being a 90W unit, is quite thin and portable. This is matched by another signature Studio XPS feature, the highly useful power indicator on the power plug. Both these show that Dell is thinking in a slightly more practical way than most and it should be praised for this, even if its execution in other areas can sometimes be off the mark.


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: http://www1.ap.dell.com/con...

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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