Dell Adamo £499

9th Jun 2009 | 08:00

Dell Adamo

Dell's Adamo may be the most desirable laptop we've seen, but it doesn't come cheap

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

Like:

Build quality; Usability; Battery life; Screen; Connectivity

Dislike:

Performance; No DVD drive

Dell's Adamo 13 (£1649 inc. VAT) brings luxury to the laptop market and may be the most visually arresting and exquisitely made laptop we've seen.

The most striking aspect of the Adamo is the incredibly thin design. The chassis measures just 19mm in depth making it no thicker than just two magazines and rivalling the MacBook Air for skinny superiority.

Build quality is also staggeringly good, and its style has more in common with a fine watch than a regular laptop. Constructed exclusively from aluminium, the result is one of the toughest yet most stylish machines we've seen to date.

Even the touchpad and mouse buttons are made from aluminium and the clean design sees all the screws hidden, with no vents or stickers anywhere on the body. It's surprisingly heavy, however, at 1.8kg.

The 13.4-inch screen draws attention, with a glass cover that stretches to the edges of the machine, giving it a frameless appearance. It's a widescreen panel with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution that results in crisp image quality. LED backlighting aids colour reproduction and it's also more than bright enough to use in any lighting conditions, making it ideal for travel use.

The keyboard is also incredibly well designed with a unique style that sets it apart from its peers. The distinctive font on the keys takes getting used to, but the characters are large and clear. The keys themselves are spacious and feature slightly scalloped centres.

Ambient backlighting is built in as standard, with the keys lighting up in low-light conditions – a feature that can be dimmed or disabled to save battery power.

Ample power

With no room for a large fan, a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage Intel Core 2 Duo processor is used. Backed by 2048MB of memory, it provides capable power. Windows Vista runs smoothly, as long as you're not running too many intensive applications, and it is fine for most office work. Battery life is reasonable, lasting for over four hours between charges.

Due to the thin design, there's little space for ports on the chassis. You'll find all functional items on the rear of the machine, from a set of tidy looking square holes cut into the aluminium for ventilation, to all of the ports. Three USB ports are provided, with the third doubling as a high-speed eSATA interface, for backing up files to an external hard drive.

You'll also find an Ethernet port and a Display port with a DVI adapter provided to connect external monitors or TVs. There is no built-in memory card reader, however.

It's impossible not to be amazed by the Adamo 13's craftsmanship and attention to detail. However, it is far more than just a pretty face and also offers great usability, for those who can afford it.

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