Dell's Studio range of laptops first debuted last year in the shape of the Studio 1535, but to keep things fresh the PC giant has updated its 15in mainstream offering with the Studio 1555 (15 for short) we're looking at today. Primarily this is to make the switch to a 16:9 aspect, 15.6in display, but there's also been one or two design tweaks, new features and hardware options added, so there's a little more to it than a simple change of scenery.
Being a Dell, the Studio 1555 can be configured to suit all sorts of budgets. For instance, if you select the most expensive options available, you could pay close to £1,800! This would net you a pretty impressive machine mind, with some of the premium options including a Full HD display, a backlit keyboard, up to 8GB RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a Blu-ray Re-writer drive. Conversely, in its most basic form, you could pay as little as £449 and still get what we'd consider a decent budget machine.
Our review unit finds a happy medium between the two. On a normal trading day it would cost around £1,040, though at time of writing Dell is running a special offer that would bring this down to a bargain £763. Dell's pricing is always prone to fluctuation, so it's worth keeping an eye on what's going on.
For this you get an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 clocked at 2.4GHz, which puts the 1555 firmly in desktop replacement territory. This is joined by 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM, a 7,200rpm 320GB hard drive and a 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570. Given these specs, this system should be a very brisk performer, something we'll be putting to the test later on.
Other non-standard features in our system include Bluetooth, Draft-N Wi-Fi and the backlit keyboard, though we were a little disappointed to discover the display is the standard 1,366 x 768 effort, not the £70 1,920 x 1,080 option - an upgrade we'd heartily recommend. As ever this is the beauty of buying from Dell, since anyone who doesn't want Bluetooth or a backlit keyboard could easily spend it on a better screen or save the money.
Of course, however much you spend, you'll still get the same basic chassis and the same plentiful connectivity options. Most of this is situated on the left edge, with HDMI and VGA for video, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an eSATA/USB combo port, a dedicated USB port, mini-FireWire and a trio of audio jacks (1 x line-in, 2 x line-out) all neatly integrated.
Following on the right is a 34mm ExpressCard slot - below which sits the multi-format card reader - one further USB port and the power input. Just above the power input is a small white LED to show when the system is charging, which unusually is the only activity light on the machine bar the backlit power button on the hinge. Our only complaint on the connectivity side of things is the lack of standby power USB ports, which is an increasingly common feature and very useful for charging mobile devices.