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Dell's Studio 1558 is a sturdy and attractive laptop with a 15.6in widescreen display. We were very taken by the rubber-textured metallic aubergine finish on the lid. Inside, it is more restrained, with a black bezel around the screen and a silver wrist rest.
Unlike most of the 15.6in laptops we've seen recently, the Studio 1558 lacks a numeric keypad. This isn't likely to be a big problem for most people and means that there's more space for the keyboard. We found that the standard laptop keyboard was comfortable to use. With no unusual layouts or large gaps between the keys, we didn’t have to adapt our typing style to accommodate it.
The touchpad is sufficiently well positioned to prevent us from brushing it by accident while typing although we occasionally pinched-to-zoom by accident while moving the mouse cursor. The keyboard itself has a backlight, which makes it easy to use under low light levels.
We found that the wrist rest gets rather warm, which can become uncomfortable if you type with your wrists flat against the laptop for an extended period. The base of the laptop also gets warmer than most, particularly on the left-hand side. In general, the Studio 1558 is warmer to touch than most of the Core i5 laptops we've reviewed, although not to the point of being unusable.
Dell has left little room for improvement here. The 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M processor and 4GB of RAM (all of which is usable thanks to the 64-bit version of Windows) worked to produce an Overall score of 87 in our benchmark tests, showing that this laptop will cope with anything you throw at it.
Graphics are provided by a 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 graphics processor, which managed a more-or-less playable 21.1fps in CoD4 at 1,280x720. At the 15.6in display's native 1,920x1,080 resolution with AA disabled we got a framerate of 18fps. This is good news for 3D gamers, as most games should be playable if you can live with a few compromises to your graphical quality.
Another advantage of the Studio 1558's HD graphics processor and native 1080p display is that you'll be able to play High Definition video files. The display itself looks stunning - evenly lit with accurate colour even on plain white screens.You can also connect the laptop to a TV via its HDMI port. It only has a standard DVD-RW drive, though, so you won't be able to play Blu-ray discs.
The 1558 has three USB ports and a Firewire port, but no eSATA connection. We were pleasantly surprised to find that it has a dual-band wireless adaptor built into it, with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n networking, making it one of the first laptops we've seen that can connect to the latest dual-band routers. It also has a built-in Bluetooth adaptor.
Three 3.5mm stereo ports which can be configured for 5.1 analogue surround sound speakers. The integrated memory card reader supports SDHC, MMC and Memory Stick PRO formats and a 320GB hard disk provides a reasonable amount of storage. We were pleased with the Studio's three hour, 33 minute battery life, too.
Dell continues trying and updating their notebook designs this year, and the new Dell Studio 15 is the latest consumer 15-inch notebook that highlights these new designs. Is it possible taking design elements from the 13.3" XPS M1330 and the 15.4" Dell XPS M1530 and make a budget notebook that keeps consumers happy? Take a look at our full review of the Studio 15 to find out for yourself.
We purchased our review unit of the Studio 15 from Staples where they offer set configurations of the Studio 15. Our budget configuration cost $799. Fully customized configurations are available at Dell.com.
As mentioned in our first look, we had hoped to conduct a full review of a custom-ordered Studio 15 machine with an orange colored lid. Unfortunately, the shipping date for our review unit was pushed back more than a month … so we will complete our full review based on the pre-configured model available at Staples.
The Good Borrows are some of the best design features of the more expensive XPS line; built-in media remote control.
The Bad Bulkier than the 15-inch XPS model; just under the wire for new Centrino 2 chips.
The Bottom Line Dell's first release from its new Studio line, the Studio 15, sits between the Inspiron and XPS lines and offers a good mix of features for the price, but we'd be tempted to save up a few extra dollars for a thinner, lighter XPS.
Parsing the intended markets for Dell's ever-shifting in-house brand names requires a bit of tea-leaf reading, although it's been easier of late, with the company stripping down its consumer brands to just the Inspiron and XPS lines. Now the company is adding a new line between the budget Inspiron and the high-end XPS. The new Studio line, as personified by the $1,250 15-inch Studio 15, has the same tapered shape, slot-loading optical drive, and rounded hinge as the Dell XPS M1530, but a similarly configured Studio system costs roughly $300 less than a similarly outfitted XPS.
The trade-off is mostly in size and finish. Even though it has a similar look, the Studio laptop is about 25 percent thicker and slightly heavier than its more upscale XPS cousin, with plastic accents instead of metal. We'd be tempted to toss in the extra $300 for the brushed-metal wrist rest and slimmer design of the XPS, but the Studio line does offer personalization options (lots of colors and graphic imprints) beyond what's available for Dell's other laptops, along with a slot-loading optical drive and credit-card-style media remote for about $200 more than a similarly configured Inspiron 1525 (not including discrete graphics, which are not available on the 1525).
I have had my Dell Studio 15 since September 2009. I've used it to play games, do college work, and other minor things. Anytime I have had an issue with something on the laptop the Dell support has been readily available to help me out and solve the problem quickly.
I've seen a lot of reviews on here that say that this laptop overheats easily. I find this FALSE. (caps used for emphasis) Mine has never crashed because of becoming too hot, but it has become hot enough that the bottom was uncomfortable to touch.
I have also read many reviews saying it has a terrible battery life. Mine is 3 years old and by setting it on "Power Saver" form the Power Options window, I get about 4-5 hours of battery life.
For those of you who don't know or are curious, if you look in the bottom right corner of the screen there should be a battery icon that you can right-click on and select "Power Options" which will open a window that you can choose one of three different ways for your battery to use its juice. There's one that devotes most of the juice to high performance, but this drains the battery quickly. There's another that saves power (which is what I use), but says that it doesn't give very good performance - for doing college work, surfing the internet, playing games, and streaming videos/movies I find the level of performance to be very adequate for this option. The third level is a balance between the two...well, it says balance, but it devotes slightly more juice to performance than battery life (it's like a "55-45" ratio.)
Now, here are the things I find unfortunate about this laptop.
1. No number pad - this isn't awful, just inconvenient.
2. No indication of whether or not Caps Lock is on unless you're on the log in screen. - Slightly annoying, but it's not too hard to type a letter and see the result.
3. The grips on the bottom of the laptop come off easily if you slide your computer around on your desk. I lost all of mine over the course of the 3 years I've owned it, but unless you're always working on a slanted surface you really don't need them.
Overall, I think this is a nice computer to have despite other reviews. I purchased mine from a Best Buy in 2009. I run Windows Vista and have not/will not "upgrade" to Windows 7 because Vista works for me.
Oh! I have dropped the laptop repeatedly, but one time I dropped it hard enough to mess up the disc drive and Dell sent out a repairman "to my house" and he repaired it without any questions. It was very nice.
I hope this review has helped you decide whether or not to purchase this product.
One of many great things about the Studio line is that you can opt for a third-party graphics card to give your system some video and gaming oomph, unlike with the lower-end Inspirons. Granted, Dell only currently offers the 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3450 as an option for the Studio 15, but this midrange graphics engine delivered a respectable 2,085 on our 3DMark06 test at 1,024x768 resolution. It also churned out an average 16 frames per second (fps) on our F.E.A.R. test (run at the same resolution). If you need better gaming performance than that, the similarly priced Toshiba Satellite A305-S6845 delivered higher frame rates on the more visually complex Company of Heroes (31fps at 1,024x768), thanks to its 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 graphics.
In addition to solid performance, the Studio packs plenty of features. An optional LED-backlit 15.4-inch wide-screen display pumps out bright, rich color, and you can choose among three resolutions when configuring your system. (Ours was the midrange 1,440x900 version.) At our test unit's price, you get 2GB of RAM to go with a top-shelf Core 2 Duo T9300 processor. Unfortunately, the Studio in its current configuration misses out on the recently launched Centrino 2 technology.
There are almost too many additional bells and whistles to mention. A slot-loaded DVD burner is a nice, clean touch; plus, you can upgrade to a Blu-ray reader/DVD±RW for an additional $200. The Studio's keyboard, which has a nice, soft feel yet plenty of traction, offers two brightness levels courtesy of its backlight. Meanwhile, connection options include an HDMI port for high-definition output, five USB ports, FireWire, and a multiformat memory-card reader, as well as a PC Card slot that doubles as a place to stow the included media remote control. Connectivity includes built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and wireless wide-area-network (WWAN) options. You also get a built-in 2-megapixel Webcam residing above the screen. Our unit came with the optional fingerprint reader for extra security, but it appears you cannot add it to the lowest-price configuration Dell has available on its Web site. Instead, you'll need to choose a configuration with 3GB of RAM to have the fingerprint reader installed on your system.
Besides MS Works, Dell also throws in some nifty utilities like Video Chat, the new Dell Dock (a desktop launcher bar a la Mac OS X), and Media Direct (a multimedia tool, much like Apple's Front Row, that you can call up via one of the touch-sensitive buttons above the keyboard). Unlike similar touch-sensitive controls on other machines, however, the ones on the Studio we tested actually work, which was a welcome surprise. Still, we wish Dell had included a software volume meter to correspond with the pressing of the buttons, since we had to resort to using the Windows volume meter just to see where our volume was preset every time.
Audio from the stereo speakers was loud, but a bit tinny and distorted at top volume. DVD playback was clear and smooth. And the included six-cell battery lasted 2 hours and 6 minutes on our DVD drain test.
I got this Dell 15 to play games.Being a gamer I needed a computer which could handle graphics and had RAM capabilities. Well the graphics was really another company's headache but, few laptops provided that kind of customization, Dell being one of the few. Anytime I have had an issue with something on the laptop the Dell support has been available to help me out and solve the problem quickly. and what can I say I was impressed . The brightness of the screen is at a acceptable level and it is truly gorgeous. It has a sleek design and it is not to large. It comes with a good graphics card. It has made my life so much easier , love it that it has two headphone jacks. The battery has a good life span and it even has facial recognition software when you login, The laptop speakers are good quality and its got a good sd reader and memory of 8gb ram. The HDMI output is a very nice feature because you can hook your computer to your TV and watch movies, or play games.
There are some bad points through about this laptop .
The laptop can get very warm. The cooler runs off USB (but you don't lose a port because it has some on it), keeps the laptop from getting warm, and fits perfectly. I suggest the black one.It is Somewhat hefty and only has 3 usb ports and there is no number pad functionality
I brought this laptop for college and let me tell you, i was disappointed. First of all when i got it it looked very cheap and didnt look like a well made laptop. Bits of the laptop fell off after the first use of it and it malfunctioned after a few uses. The keyboard functionality was good until about a week later when most of the keys fell out. The fans and hardware inside the laptop were really loud and i couldnt concentrate while writing my essays. However when watching youtube views the sound was clear. This was until the speakers in the laptop broke and i had to get them replaced costing me another £150. The laptop is also very heavy to carry around in my laptop bad and is also very bulky. It is so bulky i had to get a specialist laptop bag made for it costing me yet again.
Dell's first release from its new Studio line, the Studio 15, sits between the Inspiron and XPS lines and offers a good mix of features for the price, but we'd be tempted to save up a few extra dollars for a thinner, lighter XPS.
Bought the machine new in Feb 2010 with
Intel Core i5 520m
ATI (now AMD) 5470
9 cell battery
500GB 7200 RPM drive
backlit keyboard to round it out.
Intel Cetrino wireless N card
First off Dell Service is excellent. This is what keeps me with them.
I received laptop and within 2 weeks Dell was at my house to replace the mainboard due to freezing intermittently when checking the DVD drive during POST. Since then machine has been flawless in running ouside of cosmestic issues.
The battery (9 cell) still lsats for 5 hours when using it to do yahoo chat and web browsi ng over wifi.
The 1080p display is awesome to say the least and hides the smudges when in use.
1. Reliable after first repair
3. Sound for a laptop
4. Easy access to ram and hdd and card slots
5. hinges are very well built and show no signs of wear
6. Beyboard and palm rest have aged gracefully
Quality of chassis construction that has resulted in the following:
1. Cheap plastic housing at the hinge points. I Have actually covered mine up with black electrical tape to hold them together as they no longer lock tight.
2. Over time the adhesive has come out from the rubber pad around the screen making them look nasty. I took them off and cleaned the adhesive off and put new adhesive on.
3. Due to chassis not being rigid like the other business machines (precision, lattitude, vostro), the screen has some marks on it from the keyboard
Now that the machine is being replaced with a Vostro 3450, it will be delegated to HTPC duty in my bedroom.
Up until now, the machine has been carreied every day that I work in a backpack and during the summer I ride on 2 wheels.
GENERAL Desktop type Gaming system Packaged Quantity 1 Product Form Factor Tower ManufacturerDell, Inc. CACHE MEMORY Installed Size L3 cache - 8 MB Cache Per Processor 8 MB PROCESSOR / CHIPSET Number of Cores Quad-Core 64-bit Computing Yes CPU Qty 1 Max CPU Qty 1 RAM Installed Size 8 GB / 16 GB (max) Form Factor DIMM 240-pin HARD DRIVE Spindle Speed 7200 rpm STORAGE CONTROLLER Type SATA - integrated CARD READER Type 19 in 1 card reader MONITOR Monitor Type None. GRAPHICS CONTROLLER Type plug-in card Graphics Processor ATI Radeon HD 5770 Video Memory 1 GB GDDR5 SDRAM INPUT DEVICE Type keyboard AUDIO OUTPUT Type integrated Compliant Standards THX TruStudio PC KEYBOARD Interface USB MOUSE Technology optical NETWORKING Wireless LAN Supported Yes Data Link Protocol Gigabit Ethernet Compliant Standards IEEE 802.11g
- Pretty nice layout
- Semi-Decent performance for the age and price
- 2 Headphone jacks
- Windows 7 (I'd consider this a plus, personally. Windows 8 is a little buggy right now)
- Facial recognition software. It's pretty neat to have access to and can help speed up login.
- Battery life is alright.
- Laptop speakers are surprisingly good for a laptop.
- SD/Media Card reader. Super useful for getting those pictures and such off of your phone or iPod
- Gets pretty warm pretty easily
- No number pad
Overall, this is a pretty decent laptop. It was a nice laptop to have to hold me over for a few semesters of school while I saved for another one. I was able to enjoy the SD/Media Card reader more than I thought. Being able to pull pictures off of my phone was handy. This is a pretty good laptop for a college student that plans on using it for homework.
I bought this product it in 2010. Been in for service once after about a year due to a failed DVD drive. Repairs were done very fast (5 days) and very happy with the service done under waranty. I paid a few dollars for another 2 year service program. No need to use it till now, 2013. The adapter is not charging the battery at all. I called for service but unfortunatly was told that the battery and adapter are not covered and Dell recommends that both the battery and adapter be replaced every 12 months. It's a very nice computer but it will cost an additional $180 every 12 months to keep it running so the long term cost of this Studio 1555 laptop is kinda high.
I would recommend this product for anyone starting college!!
This is my first Dell laptop that i have purchases and to be honest, i didnt know what to expect.
There were a fair amount of bad reviews for them. Since purchasing this item i have been practically glued to it and very pleased with its performance! Its a nippy wee machine. It gets used daily for multiple tasks, be it small word documents for my college course, internet searching or even watching movies on it. The high def screen and the back lit keyboard are also fantastic features. having to type in the dark is annoying so i dont think ill be buying another laptop without this feature!
Windows 7 runs smoothly on this machine so its easy to get the hang of the OS very quickly.
What this machine has going for it is:
it has a fast processor, a fairly large hard drive, a decent battery life (useful for taking it to college if i forget the charger), its amazingly beautiful screen and backlit keyboard ;D, its quiet which can be handy if working late at night...
The downfalls to this machine are minimal but they are as follows...
The shell its flimsy and feels like i could break it if i dropped it...its also very prone to being a police finger print pad...
minimal but can be annoying if you have a clean OCD like myself...
apart from this, this machine is almost perfect fro college and or uni courses :D
The slot-loading drive takes a bit getting used to, at first I was trying to be gentle and place the disc in but you have to push it in or it will force the disc out by itself. This is an outstanding value, don't let people in the forums fool you, the ATI Mobility 3450 is a fantastic card it can play all the COD Video Games in high quality settings very well. Do not buy this computer if you are a speaker type , because they are the worst, really. As for looks this thing will rival a Macbook pro maybe even might beat out it by a little. Overall its a good handy dandy computer if your a gamer and streamer.
The Dell Studio is a great all round laptop. With an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, it is a fast operating system. The Dell studio comes with the latest software package. The great thing about the Dell is that it is compatible with anything. Unlike an Apple Mac where you may have to purchase alternative software to even run microsoft word, the Dell Studio has everything you need.
It has an easy-on-the-eye desktop view, with simple access to shortcuts and a shortcut tab.
this laptop is a reasonable size and isnt particularly heavy, so it is easy to carry around, and it is the standard laptop size so it is also easy to buy laptop bags or cases for it.
The Dell studio comes in a variety of different colours which makes it fun and personal! I have a navy blue one which looks pretty slick! But they come in all sorts of colours to suit your taste!
It is a reliable laptop however many people find that Dell support is inadequate. Dell laptops have been known to stop working after a certain amount of time, and the support is timely. You have to send it off and wait for it to be repaired, thats if your warranty is still in tact!