Dell is going big on personalisation with the Studio 15, with five colours and 11 artistic designs available to choose from. If you really want your laptop to stand out from the crowd, then you could opt for one of the colourful finishes from designers such as Mike Ming, Derek Welch, Joseph Amedokpo, Siobhan Gunning or Bruce Mau …
re: only two usb ports
The eSata port actually doubles up as a third USB port so it's still useful in the highly likely event that you don't have any esata devices!
Yes, it's annoying that (by default) if you want to press F1, then you have to press Fn-F1. There's a simple switch in the bios to change this though: Advanced -> Function Key Behavior -> Function Key First
I've had the machine for about a month, and it's a solid performer. Games-wise, it might not be bleeding edge, but it's pretty damn competent. (I can easily play Left 4 Dead with the graphics ramped up to the max; the missus can play The Sims 3 without moaning that she can't make out her characters blinking or something like that)
The only small issue for me is keyboard flex - it's noticeable, if not particularly restrictive.
If you're happy to stay in one place next to a power supply, why the bloody hell do you need a laptop in the first place?
I have a laptop in the living room that is constantly plugged into the mains because I use it for developing when the missus gets home... It means I can be a little less ignorant than disappearing into the office and leaving her on her own
Last I checked, a laptop is portable. Even if one tends to stay in a place next to a power supply, the portability is a huge convenience factor. Ever tried using your desktop on a Virgin train, where power sockets are available in table seats? It isn't totally recommended.
That's an odd resolution for a 15" machine, slightly wider and squatter than even typical widescreen systems, and being a non-uniform resolution, many games may not support it properly.
I'm pretty damn pleased with this one.
I also like the subtle touches like the power button not working when the lid is closed so you don't accidentally turn it on when it's in a bag.
1920 on 15" is fine
I've had a Dell with a 15.4" 1920x1200 res screen and I'll never go back. Just up your DPI to 150 in Linux (or up your font sizes in Windows XP) and you can see everything fine and crisp.
@ Jonathan White - About portability
I use a laptop and an esata drive for recording bands from a digital mixer on location. In these mobile recording situations, Id rather not have to lug a full pc, expecially as space is also a concern. Due to the length of sessions and the fact that my esata drive requires external power via a wall wart, I have to plug them in. So, there is an example contrary to your thinking.
Jobs is the Devil for thinking he knows what I want.
It's a uniform 16:9 resolution, which is sadly the direction the industry's heading.
Also a fan
Dell included software aside (I nuked it and installed windows7), it's a huge leap forwards over my last machine.
Takes a lot of the stuff from the XPS series, and puts it into a decent midrange machine. I get over 5 hours runtime with the 9 cell battery, the 1920x1080 screen can get a bit squinty at times, but being LED backlit it's pretty damn good colour wise, easily good enough to process photos.
Have this and love it
Very nice machine for the price. I have the 1920x1080 screen with otherwise similar specs to the review and its both looks nice and functions very well. Its also reasonably light for a 15" laptop which is nice so while I wouldn't want to do long walks with its still perfectly reasonable.
The only down sides to me are that the function keys are combined with the volume keys etc which is a pain because I use both a lot and there's not an equivalent of capslock for the function key. The backlit keyboard looks great and has a nice smooth texture but I find it very soft and with too much flex for my liking. Not unbearable but I wouldn't write any books on it.