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Dell Studio 1555 - 15.6in Laptop

Dell's Studio range of laptops first debuted last year in the shape of the Studio 1535, but to keep things fresh the PC giant has updated its 15in mainstream offering with the Studio 1555 (15 for short) we're looking at today. Primarily this is to make the switch to a 16:9 aspect, 15.6in display, but there's also been one or two design tweaks, new features and hardware options added, so there's a little more to it than a simple change of scenery.

Being a Dell, the Studio 1555 can be configured to suit all sorts of budgets. For instance, if you select the most expensive options available, you could pay close to £1,800! This would net you a pretty impressive machine mind, with some of the premium options including a Full HD display, a backlit keyboard, up to 8GB RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a Blu-ray Re-writer drive. Conversely, in its most basic form, you could pay as little as £449 and still get what we'd consider a decent budget machine.

Our review unit finds a happy medium between the two. On a normal trading day it would cost around £1,040, though at time of writing Dell is running a special offer that would bring this down to a bargain £763. Dell's pricing is always prone to fluctuation, so it's worth keeping an eye on what's going on.

For this you get an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 clocked at 2.4GHz, which puts the 1555 firmly in desktop replacement territory. This is joined by 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM, a 7,200rpm 320GB hard drive and a 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570. Given these specs, this system should be a very brisk performer, something we'll be putting to the test later on.

Other non-standard features in our system include Bluetooth, Draft-N Wi-Fi and the backlit keyboard, though we were a little disappointed to discover the display is the standard 1,366 x 768 effort, not the £70 1,920 x 1,080 option - an upgrade we'd heartily recommend. As ever this is the beauty of buying from Dell, since anyone who doesn't want Bluetooth or a backlit keyboard could easily spend it on a better screen or save the money.

Of course, however much you spend, you'll still get the same basic chassis and the same plentiful connectivity options. Most of this is situated on the left edge, with HDMI and VGA for video, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an eSATA/USB combo port, a dedicated USB port, mini-FireWire and a trio of audio jacks (1 x line-in, 2 x line-out) all neatly integrated.

Following on the right is a 34mm ExpressCard slot - below which sits the multi-format card reader - one further USB port and the power input. Just above the power input is a small white LED to show when the system is charging, which unusually is the only activity light on the machine bar the backlit power button on the hinge. Our only complaint on the connectivity side of things is the lack of standby power USB ports, which is an increasingly common feature and very useful for charging mobile devices.

Go to page 2: Dell Studio 1555
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Mini J

July 21, 2009, 5:16 am

Awesome! I ordered one about a fortnight ago, should be here any day now!


July 21, 2009, 1:11 pm

From past experiences with Dell - if I order one will it ever be delivered?


July 21, 2009, 1:34 pm

Nice looking machine.

It seems a shame it's not as sturdy a chassis as a Unibody MBP but on the other hand it has the very useful Expresscard/34 slot to enable the use of 'Pro' peripherals like high spec audio interfaces and Compactflash card readers which Apple clearly think you should have to spend a minimum of 1849 for the privilege of using. Plus it has eSATA another essential for many 'Pro' users.

Windows 7 x64 and I'm in.

Luan Bach

July 21, 2009, 2:01 pm

I wouldn't get the 1920x1080 on a 15.6" monitor. I've got an older Dell 15 that has 1900x1200 an it's sharp but text is unreadable.


July 21, 2009, 3:08 pm

Wedge: I imagine the Studio XPS 16 offers build quality more similar to the MBP. The Studio 15 starts at 450 so its build quality is going to reflect that, when all said and done.

Daniel Gerson

July 21, 2009, 5:47 pm

@Luan Bach. I'd definitely get the 1920x1080 resolution!! Extra work space if you need it. You can always change the default size of the text in the browser/OS, as I've done with my 1280x768 laptop (made it very small) so everything I need fits on the screen. It's great to see this resolution available in at 15 inch. Soo hard to find a portable that can do Large Canvas painting/HD editing/ enough space for programming.


July 21, 2009, 5:58 pm


No doubt the unibodies are great but you do pay for the privelige.

@Luan Bach

I'm sure you can increase the text size at the highest res to make it more readable. At least in Vista.


July 21, 2009, 6:25 pm

Just received an automated phonecall asking me when I want the laptop delivered. Thursday morning it is :)

A friend bought the Studio above with integrated graphics, and it's the quietest machine I've ever used. However the dedicated graphics card will inevitably create more noise and heat.


July 21, 2009, 9:02 pm

This is probably a silly question, but does anyone know if the integrated graphics card (Intel Integrated GMA 4500MHD) on this laptop, is good enough to play HD content without the thing grinding to a halt.

Andy Vandervell

July 21, 2009, 9:06 pm

It shouldn't be a factor. The CPU is more than capable of handling it all on its own.


July 21, 2009, 9:46 pm


Thanks for your comment, not sure what to do now, I was contemplating getting it with the Radeon graphics card but I'm not sure if I have a need for it, decisions decisions.

Tony Walker

July 21, 2009, 11:57 pm

Re the GMA4500HD.

The clue is supposed to be in the HD at the end of the model name. This version is *supposed* to be able to assist some codecs in the decoding of video. I think there is another model without HD at the end too for penny pinching suppliers.

Re the 1920x1080 resolution.

Fine on my 17" Inspiron 9400 (1920x1200) though i believe I did change the DPI setting (XP). I found it too small on my 15.4" Inspiron 8500 (1920x1200) though i don't think I adjusted the DPI. Text was sharp but small.

@ the guy wondering about delivery.

Haven't Dell switched to UPS from that useless bag of beep-beeps they used to use?

bob 12

July 22, 2009, 8:03 pm

Can you confirm which battery option was included in the review system ?

Love It.

July 24, 2009, 2:23 am

This is solid. I like the hinges, bright display, speed. It is a good home laptop but may big a tad too much for extensive travel. The screen size is perfect and nobody from my children, wife or myself have any complaints in the first few weeks that we have owned ours. Dell beat the delivery date they promised- nice! The price was great even with a plan that will fix anything no matter what for two years. Love It!


August 8, 2009, 2:33 pm

Just wanted to let you know, the Studio 15 is capable of charging USB-devices while in standby. For that to work, you have to allow USB-devices to wake up the pc. It's a setting under USB-Options in the BIOS. (F2 Setup while booting). It won't charge while it's shutdown though.

Given the price you can get a Studio 1555, with a lot of possible discounts using the right links, you get a laptop with a lot of features compared to the competition. Backlit keyboard, Slotloading Bluray, reasonable sound, easy access to it's internals, i.e. I added a bluetooth card for 10 euros, instead of having Dell doing it for me at 󌍘,- I'm a very happy Studio 1555 owner!


August 28, 2009, 7:52 am

I can't seem to find the same laptop for that very price (449gbp)!

any idea how and from where i can?

Geoff Richards

August 28, 2009, 12:05 pm

@Ovi - the Dell Studio 15 range starts from 449 on, but the final price you pay depends on the spec. But true enough, you can't by the 4GB, 2.4GHz version tested here for as little as 449, but you will still get all the other features we liked.


August 28, 2009, 5:42 pm

Ah, cause the best price i could find was 600+GBP for the reviewed specs.

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