New Computer, Dell Studio XPS 16


What I really wanted was a piece of hardware that was as slim and light as a Mac Book Pro but ran Windows.  What I got was a Dell XPS 16.  Its not near as thin and light as an MBP and, though it is quite pretty in its own right, it is not as good looking either.

Here are the positives.  It has a slot loading optical drive an Intel i7 720QM processor (my understanding is that it has 4 cores but shows to the system as 8 due to hyperthreading) at between 1.6 GHz and 2.8 GHz with 6 MB of Cache, 8 gigs of DDR3 1333MHz ram, a Radeon HD 4670 video card with 1 GB of dedicated RAM, a 256GB solid state hard drive, and a 15.6  WLED screen.  Its actually pretty hard to top those specs in a laptop.

The disappointing features are related to the battery.  First the battery itself. I ordered the unit with a 9 cell 85 WHr battery so that I could get extra battery life.  What I didn’t know was that the thing is giant and sticks out of the back of the unit ruining its otherwise slim (but not super model slim like the MBP) profile and adding to the weight.  I have the 6 cell 56 WHr battery on order to correct the appearance problem.

However, despite its heft, the 9 cell battery delivers terrible performance.  I barely get 2.5 hours out of it.  Now admittedly my initial use pattern has been installing software and transferring files from my server, syncing up Dropbox, etc. but still, these hefty specs come at a price.

I will continue to tweak the power configuration to see if I can get better results.  I suspect between changing my usage and tweaking the settings I should get much better battery life, but I’m surely not going to get 3 hours on my deck watching high def streams from my Slingbox.

The other negative is the finish.  The glossy black looks great when you unbox it.  But after just a few minutes it is all smeary looking, like the screen of an old iPhone, from the oil in my fingers.  Ick.

I think this is going to be a good machine because spec wise it rocks.  But I will need to learn how to use it.