Dell Studio 1555 - 15.6in Laptop - Dell Studio 1555

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

As we noted earlier we were a little disappointed to discover this machine only has a 1,366 x 768 resolution display, though this is the norm in this form factor. On the whole it is decent display, even if it won't win any awards. Its LED backlighting ensures it's very bright, while colour production is vibrant without becoming oversaturated. However, viewing angles are merely okay - good enough when viewed from a distance, but when up close you'll want to be right in front to get the best picture.

We were mightily impressed with the speakers on the Studio 1555, however. It's a '2.1' system, with two stereo speakers up top and a mid-range woofer underneath, which produces an impressively earthy and clear sound. Distortion does creep in when pushed really hard, but at sensible volumes music, films and games can be enjoyed without recourse to a set of headphones.

And you should be able to enjoy plenty of the above given the performance on offer. Looking at PCMark Vantage, there's little this system shouldn't be able to cope with, be it HD video encoding or RAW image editing. Were we being hyper critical it would have been nice to have the option for faster DDR3 RAM, but on the plus side every system comes with Vista 64-bit as standard, so all the RAM you have is being put to good use. We'd add that, given the next CPU choice down from the 2.4GHz P8600 is the 2.0GHz P7250, spending the extra £30 on the faster processor is a good idea - as you can see from the performance difference between the Dell and the Medion Akoya S5610.

In gaming, meanwhile, the Studio 1555 doesn't quite qualify as a fully-fledged gaming system, but it's more than good enough for casual needs. In Trackmania Nations we managed to push the settings to high detail with 4x anti-aliasing at the native resolution, while still maintaining a playable 32.2fps. Call of Duty 4 required a little more compromise, but at 1,024 x 768 with medium detail settings and 2x anti-aliasing it still looked good and the framerate was a playable 25-30fps.

Finally there's the battery life, which is also pretty solid. Three hours and 56 minutes in the multi-tasking Productivity segment is a very strong result for a laptop of this size, so if you do need to take it out with you then it can handle it. Moreover, Dell has a nifty 'no charge' feature in its power management software, so you can use your laptop plugged-in and not degrade the battery as heavily. It's not quite as sophisticated as Apple's system on its MacBook Pros, but it's better than no option at all.

Verdict

If you're after a flexible and powerful laptop for the home and occasional mobile use, the Studio 1555 is a very good option. It's attractive, easy to use and can be configured more or less as you please. Discrete graphics options mean it's also a reasonable gaming machine, while the backlit keyboard and Full HD display options will tantalise those with cash to burn.

Mini J

July 21, 2009, 5:16 am

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

Zonko666

July 21, 2009, 1:11 pm

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

Wedge

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.

TheVoice

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.

rav

July 21, 2009, 5:58 pm

@Wedge


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.

jingyeow

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.

bara03

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.

bara03

July 21, 2009, 9:46 pm

@Andy





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!

IceEyz

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!

Ovi

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 www.dell.co.uk, 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.

Ovi

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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