So how did our test system perform? As you might expect given the components, pretty well; in PCMark Vantage it matches the HP Pavilion dv5-1011ea more or less toe-to-toe, besting it in some tests and actually producing a nominally higher overall score than it as well. Given that the dv5 used 2.0GHz processor, against our Studio 15’s 2.4GHz model, this isn’t a great surprise. One notable exception here was the gaming segment, where the dv5’s 512MB nVidia 9600M GT edged ahead of the 256MB ATI card in the Dell.
Our in-house benchmarks, however, showed the difference in processor speeds even more markedly. In the batch image processing test the Dell was around 50 seconds faster and in video rendering this increases to just over two minutes, a significant difference all told. What this demonstrates is that the disappointment of not using the latest Intel processors is, perhaps, mis-placed; especially since it means you can get an essentially faster CPU for around the same money and without sacrificing on features.
Battery life is pretty decent, too. In MobileMark 2007’s Productivity test the Studio 15 lasted just over three hours, increasing to three hours and 20 minutes in the lower intensity Reader test. Finally, a figure of almost two hours and 20 minutes in the DVD Playback test at full screen brightness shows you shouldn’t have too many problems watching the occasional film unplugged as well.
All-in-all, then, a decent performance all round only let down by the graphics card having half as much memory as we’d probably like. This will probably upset anyone looking to play some games, but this was never going to be a serious gaming machine and for all other tasks it’s hard to find fault.
Dell’s Studio 15 can be characterised in two ways. Without the 1,440 x 900 it’s a very good, but not quite outstanding, 15.4 inch notebook that has a strong but not dazzling design – not at least till you opt for the Mike Ming lid designs – and standard feature sets and pricing that are competitive but not outrageously so. With the 1,440 x 900 WLED display, however, you have a different proposition entirely. It’s a feature that few can offer and given you can have it and not sacrifice too much in terms of specification or price over competing models, it helps elevate the Studio 15 to an award.