"A problem-free desktop replacement"5.0 starson by Maureen_in_Mukilteo
Pros: My Studio 17 worked perfectly right out of the box and I've had not a single problem in my 6 weeks of ownership. I'm dumbfounded at the low rating it has gotten here. No problems with Vista either; I much prefer it to XP.
Powerful but sexy machine.
Cons: The only thing I don't like about my Studio are the speakers. They are like the earbuds that come with the iPod: you can hear the music but not well. I added speakers but there was static on them until I adjusted the sound via the sound card options.
Summary: This laptop was a replacement for an almost 4 year old Inspiron that still had at least another year or two in it. My accident insurance with Dell was still in effect when my Inspiron got totaled. Two weeks after Dell received my damaged notebook, the Studio 17 arrived at my home. I paid $1800 for my original 17 inch Inspiron (not including a $700 discount) and Dell sent a replacement that was worth almost $1900 sold new (it was a refurbished computer). Dell really came through and quickly approved a replacement. Since I wasn't in the market for a new computer I was not aware of the Studio model and it really blew me away when I took it out of the box. I love the easy to use 2 megapixel webcam, the two earphone ports, and the full sized backlite keyboard with separate numerical keypad. I love the feel of the keys which is important since I'm on the computer day and night sometimes. It's hard to describe but the whole wrist rest is one solid piece (except for the touchpad buttons). The touchpad is made out of the wrist rest which not only looks cooI but gives the touch pad a smooth plastic surface that is very responsive to touch. In other computers the touchpad is a matt black surface inserted into a square cut in the wrist rest. I've had problems scrolling with this kind of surface and eventually the ability to scroll by running the finger along the end of the touch pad was turned off . Not so with this plastic touch pad. I find it very easy to control scrolling and size of print by running my finger along the edge.
I love the slot loading blue ray drive (burned a dozen DVDs so far with no problem) but you must have a high def screen to take advantage of it. I connect it to the TV to use it as a blue ray player and plan to add a TV tuner and satellite card so I can record off the TV. I'm a writer who enjoys fooling around with graphics programs. My T-9400 processor, 4 mb of Ram and 7200 rpm drive allow me to do this easily and makes this laptop a true desktop replacement. The slower budget laptops are going to be less successful at all this and perhaps they are the ones with the problems running Vista.
I rarely ran my Inspiron at full resolution because it made the icons and print so small on the screen. Vista has corrected this and allows users with high definition screens to enlarge their icons and the text in programs without losing definition. Goodbye tiny icons!
Given how big this laptop is yes it is heavy. But I carried my Inspiron, which was heavier, overseas and across country a number of times without breaking my arms. The way the weight of the Studio is distributed makes it easy to carry this laptop around the house tucked under one arm.
Even though my Studio is a powerful desktop replacement, it is not an XPS and it is not designed to play today's 3d games. That is why there is no choice for a better video card. If you a gamer, buy an XPS. I can't believe the guys who sell Studios on TV who insinuate you can play games on it. The Sims 3 yes but not first place shooters. And not with budget Studios.
I don't care what brand of laptop you buy, they all have their horror stories. My advice is to consider in home next day repair insurance as part of the price. If you plan on keeping the laptop for three years, get three years of in-home repair insurance. I purchased 4 years of insurance including accident insurance because that is how long I planned on keeping my last laptop. Dell replaced the screen, motherboard and (after 3 years) the hard drive of the original Inspiron over the 4 years of ownership and eventually replaced the whole computer. Not bad for a $300 investment in insurance.
BTW it has been at least 5 years since I have seen the blue screen of death (BSOD).
Bottom line: I'm in love!