Dell Adamo XPS £899

8th May 2011 | 09:00

Dell Adamo XPS

A high-end concept laptop that makes a stylish, if flawed, device

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Like:

Good build quality; Ultra-thin design; Spacious keyboard; 128GB SSD

Dislike:

Performance; Battery life; Gets a bit hot

The Dell Adamo XPS was released to great a fanfare a while back courtesy of its slim, high-end design. A year or so on and the laptop has crashed in price, making it a great option for those out to make a (reasonably) affordable style statement.

Unfortunately, however, Dell has cut a few corners in the making of this concept machine.

Dell has taken a unique approach in the design. To open the laptop you brush a finger over the edge of the lid which then unlocks it. As you lift the screen the keyboard folds out of a recess (flush to the panel) in which it's been parked. The action works well and feels good to use.

When open, the keyboard hinge is located at the bottom of the screen, but actually sits high off your desk, causing a wedge-shaped empty space under the laptop. In theory, this should make it easier for air to cool the laptop from underneath, but the machine still got surprisingly hot.

Dell adamo xps

While the design is unique, it does look awkward, and not exactly aesthetically pleasing.

Spacious keyboard

Nevertheless, a benefit of this is the comfortable typing angle of the keyboard, which is generally excellent. The keys are nicely spread apart and have a succinct action that's a pleasure to use.

The F and J keys don't feature the usual marks to indicate where your index fingers should sit, and occasionally it's easy to get lost on the board.

The 13.4-inch screen features a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. It is bright and detailed, but features a very slight green tinge, making it, like the HP EliteBook 2540p, unsuited to multimedia work.

Like the Apple MacBook Air a shiny screen coating makes the display irritating to view in bright light conditions.

A CULV Intel Core 2 Duo processor provides limited performance, and your power requirements should be limited to surfing the web and creating office documents. If you're after real power, the HP EliteBook or Sony VAIO VPCZ13M9E/B are the laptops to consider.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 98 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 160
3DMark 2003: 1502

Graphical performance is also poor, and you'll be limited to consuming media rather than creating it.

A 128GB hard drive will also mean you'll need to regularly move data to an external hard drive.

At 11mm, the laptop is incredibly thin, so carrying it around is no problem at all, but the 98-minute battery life is terrible.

It's important not to criticise the Dell for being something that it's not supposed to be. It was designed as a high-end concept ultraportable and, on this level, it succeeds – largely thanks to the incredible design.

Unfortunately, performance and battery life have been the casualties, but that may not be a problem for everyone.

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