Many of you knew about the techsupport fiasco with my personal laptop last year; my well-working XPS (other than the annoying touchpad) was essentially converted to a laser-hot finger burner device. After so many on-site and off-site attempts, Dell gave up and waved the white flag. As compensation they offered a one-to-one replacement for my laptop, except that there were no longer red models like the special one I used. That upset me, because I like the colour of blood; it sucks not to be able to prey on human victims during day time, so having a device before my eyes that distracted me a little was needed. So I was given an option: back up my hard disk and ship back the old laptop...
And get this baby in return...
The Dell XPS Studio 16, souped-up and superior to my M1530 in almost every manner. It sports an even larger screen at 15.6" with a HD resolution of freaking 1920x1080. Yup, it's a 16:9 aspect ratio and all ready to entertain me with unending HD video. Even the power adapter has been redesigned with a much more sensible light indicator at the cable connector instead of the adapter brick itself. Thanks for saving me the trouble of looking under my desk and risk being accused of checking out my colleagues' mini skirts.
It still features the slot-in DVD drive (disc tray??? what's that?), and a really useful self-lit keyboard. Computing in the dark is now a possibility; thanks for the productivity boost!
The keyboard does not stay permanently lit either; it lights down after a short period of inactive keyboard use to conserve energy. Keyboard commandos, however, may despair at the greater energy consumption of this feature. Up to now, I still haven't figured how to disable this altogether. But in all honesty I can't be bothered as I do not perceive it as a major energy drain. I could be wrong of course, but so far I do not suffered short battery operation.
It's a rather nice laptop, really. For entertainment. The thing is I used my old XPS as a personal mobile development workstation. This 15.6" size cannot fit into my regular laptop sling backpack, which at most could accomodate 15.4". Lugging this beast around has gotten a little more troublesome. Moreover for regular computing/work purposes I've always preferred the 16:10 aspect ratio as it provides for vertical real estate. Oddly enough, the LCD panel design covers up the ventillation slots when opened; I wonder where the thermal engineers intended the hot air to flow when the laptop is in use. Even worse, there are only measly two USB ports! Two! In this day and age when a person typically carries 45 USB devices in his pockets, two ain't gonna cut it, dude. At least offer an extension USB hub.
(UPDATE: it turns out Dell cleverly "hid" a third USB port into the right-side eSATA port. So if one is not using an eSATA disk, it is available as a USB port.)
But seriously, how can I possibly complain, correct? I essentially got an upgrade for free. On top of that, it uses web-cam facial recognition to auto-logon instead of another possible finger-burner reader. I mean, I just stand there and it recognises my ugly face and I'm in. Look mum! No typing!
Well, I didn't really want the upgrade; I was rather satisfied with the older model (which was sleek in its own right), and would have taken it happily if it weren't for the "blood loss". I think I can even live without the extra USB ports as I can deploy hubs like a dog lays mines on the sidewalk. The one thing I am rather taken aback though, was the laptop protective bag...
Yup, instead of an actual bag, Dell now come up with ingenious ways to cut hardware costs and now supplies a face towel. Either that or I heard these type of materials are great for moping the floor. Ah well, win some, lose some, as they say.