Microsoft Surface Pro 3stars
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Apple MacBook Air (13-inch)stars
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Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2013, 15-inch screen)stars
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Asus Transformer Book T100
We've commentedthat Dell's Studio XPS systems look pretty good next to the company's existing Inspiron lines. If you're after a "design" notebook that's not too flashy, this is the line to go for. The design clearly accentuates the size of the laptop, with the keyboard placed in the middle of a lot of piano black plastic with a silver trim. As with the previously reviewed model, a set of touch-sensitive media keys sit above the keyboard and below the 15.6-inch 1920x1080-pixel LCD display.
The design is nice, but it is rather marred when in actual use. The finish suggests firm construction, but the actual feel is rather more on the plastic side of things. It's not a terrible feel, but it does sit in stark contrast to what you might expect from just looking at it.
As with most things Dell, there's a fair amount of configuration you can do with the Studio XPS line, all of which has an effect on the price. The unit we tested came with an Intel Core i5 M520 2.4GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, 640GB hard drive and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 with 1GB of its own RAM. That's a potent enough combination right there, and Dell runs it on Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition.