Dell Studio 1555 - 15.6in Laptop - Dell Studio 1555

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Compared to a lot of the alternatives out there, the Studio 1555 is quite unfussy in terms of aesthetics. The simple combination of glossy silver and black is only interrupted by the matte speaker section between the screen and the keyboard, with the only spot of colour coming from the orange playback controls on the F-keys. We rather like this simplicity, too. It certainly makes a nice change from the over-elaborate embellishments of many manufacturers.

Any more flamboyant touches are reserved for the lid and even then you have total control over what you get. Including the standard matte black finish, there are a startling 17 different lid designs and finishes available, including: five different colour 'microsatin' options for an extra £29; eight 'artist' designs for £69; and a further three (PRODUCT) RED inspired designs, also for £69. Our system came in the 'midnight blue' microsatin finish and very nice it is, too. Not only does it look very classy, its soft-touch rubber-like finish is more durable than the glossy efforts seen on so many laptops.

This is a nice system to use, too. We particularly like the keyboard. It has a sensible uncluttered layout, while keys have a wonderful sharp and positive action. Added to this is the ever-popular backlighting, which has two brightness levels, adjusted using the F6 key. This is the primary action for the key - in fact, all the F-keys are mapped to machine-specific actions. It's a very useful time saver, but if you're keyboard shortcut fiend it can be reversed in the BIOS.

Since we're on the topic, the primary actions of the F-keys include an external monitor shortcut, a wireless radio toggle, a power manager shortcut, brightness controls and the volume and playback controls, which are highlighted in orange. One final key acts as an eject button for the slot-loading DVD drive. Dell's decision to configure the keys like this also means no more touch-sensitive buttons, which is no great loss.

Moving from the keyboard to the touchpad, it's positioned off-centre so doesn't interfere with typing. Dell also eschews the trend for irritating rocker-style buttons, with two individually sprung buttons doing the job nicely. However, one fashion Dell has indulged in is multi-touch support, though it doesn't make much of it. Given the limited use for it right now, we can see why.

One minor issue we did find with the touchpad is that it got quite warm from time to time. This, we found, is because it sits directly above the wireless modules, which seem to produce some heat when active. Indeed, the system as a whole isn't the coolest we've ever encountered, though neither is it excessively hot or noisy. We suspect this is due to the more powerful graphics processor, which is bound to kick out more heat than the integrated kind. As such this system is better suited to a desk than your lap, though short sessions shouldn't be a problem.

Mini J

July 21, 2009, 5:16 am

Awesome! I ordered one about a fortnight ago, should be here any day now!


July 21, 2009, 1:11 pm

From past experiences with Dell - if I order one will it ever be delivered?


July 21, 2009, 1:34 pm

Nice looking machine.

It seems a shame it's not as sturdy a chassis as a Unibody MBP but on the other hand it has the very useful Expresscard/34 slot to enable the use of 'Pro' peripherals like high spec audio interfaces and Compactflash card readers which Apple clearly think you should have to spend a minimum of £1849 for the privilege of using. Plus it has eSATA another essential for many 'Pro' users.

Windows 7 x64 and I'm in.

Luan Bach

July 21, 2009, 2:01 pm

I wouldn't get the 1920x1080 on a 15.6" monitor. I've got an older Dell 15 that has 1900x1200 an it's sharp but text is unreadable.


July 21, 2009, 3:08 pm

Wedge: I imagine the Studio XPS 16 offers build quality more similar to the MBP. The Studio 15 starts at £450 so its build quality is going to reflect that, when all said and done.

Daniel Gerson

July 21, 2009, 5:47 pm

@Luan Bach. I'd definitely get the 1920x1080 resolution!! Extra work space if you need it. You can always change the default size of the text in the browser/OS, as I've done with my 1280x768 laptop (made it very small) so everything I need fits on the screen. It's great to see this resolution available in at 15 inch. Soo hard to find a portable that can do Large Canvas painting/HD editing/ enough space for programming.


July 21, 2009, 5:58 pm


No doubt the unibodies are great but you do pay for the privelige.

@Luan Bach

I'm sure you can increase the text size at the highest res to make it more readable. At least in Vista.


July 21, 2009, 6:25 pm

Just received an automated phonecall asking me when I want the laptop delivered. Thursday morning it is :)

A friend bought the Studio above with integrated graphics, and it's the quietest machine I've ever used. However the dedicated graphics card will inevitably create more noise and heat.


July 21, 2009, 9:02 pm

This is probably a silly question, but does anyone know if the integrated graphics card (Intel Integrated GMA 4500MHD) on this laptop, is good enough to play HD content without the thing grinding to a halt.

Andy Vandervell

July 21, 2009, 9:06 pm

It shouldn't be a factor. The CPU is more than capable of handling it all on its own.


July 21, 2009, 9:46 pm


Thanks for your comment, not sure what to do now, I was contemplating getting it with the Radeon graphics card but I'm not sure if I have a need for it, decisions decisions.

Tony Walker

July 21, 2009, 11:57 pm

Re the GMA4500HD.

The clue is supposed to be in the HD at the end of the model name. This version is *supposed* to be able to assist some codecs in the decoding of video. I think there is another model without HD at the end too for penny pinching suppliers.

Re the 1920x1080 resolution.

Fine on my 17" Inspiron 9400 (1920x1200) though i believe I did change the DPI setting (XP). I found it too small on my 15.4" Inspiron 8500 (1920x1200) though i don't think I adjusted the DPI. Text was sharp but small.

@ the guy wondering about delivery.

Haven't Dell switched to UPS from that useless bag of beep-beeps they used to use?

bob 12

July 22, 2009, 8:03 pm

Can you confirm which battery option was included in the review system ?

Love It.

July 24, 2009, 2:23 am

This is solid. I like the hinges, bright display, speed. It is a good home laptop but may big a tad too much for extensive travel. The screen size is perfect and nobody from my children, wife or myself have any complaints in the first few weeks that we have owned ours. Dell beat the delivery date they promised- nice! The price was great even with a plan that will fix anything no matter what for two years. Love It!


August 8, 2009, 2:33 pm

Just wanted to let you know, the Studio 15 is capable of charging USB-devices while in standby. For that to work, you have to allow USB-devices to wake up the pc. It's a setting under USB-Options in the BIOS. (F2 Setup while booting). It won't charge while it's shutdown though.

Given the price you can get a Studio 1555, with a lot of possible discounts using the right links, you get a laptop with a lot of features compared to the competition. Backlit keyboard, Slotloading Bluray, reasonable sound, easy access to it's internals, i.e. I added a bluetooth card for 10 euros, instead of having Dell doing it for me at 󌍘,- I'm a very happy Studio 1555 owner!


August 28, 2009, 7:52 am

I can't seem to find the same laptop for that very price (449gbp)!

any idea how and from where i can?

Geoff Richards

August 28, 2009, 12:05 pm

@Ovi - the Dell Studio 15 range starts from £449 on, but the final price you pay depends on the spec. But true enough, you can't by the 4GB, 2.4GHz version tested here for as little as £449, but you will still get all the other features we liked.


August 28, 2009, 5:42 pm

Ah, cause the best price i could find was 600+GBP for the reviewed specs.

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