With the price ($1,206) and CPU availability (tomorrow, 11 a.m., Pacific Standard Time) questions out of the way, we finally posted our review of Dell's new Studio Desktop. We don't expect Dell is happy with the result, but HP simply kills this system with more and cheaper upgrade options.
Here's what we don't understand: Dell made an obvious attempt with this system, as with the Inspiron 518 we saw this summer, to mimic the familiar OS X icon carousel. The Dell version sat on the top of the Windows desktop screen. Dell certainly wouldn't be the first vendor to imitate Apple, and yet, among the options for this system are all kinds of Dell-made plastic receivers for various accessories, each dangling sloppily from the system in a decidedly unApple-like manner.
If the idea is to copy Apple's visual appeal, we wonder why Dell doesn't execute this strategy across both its hardware and its software. Better, we'd like to see Dell come up with a strategy of its own. Gateway's aggressive, fixed-configuration desktops, Sony's smart, affordable all-in-ones, and HP's unique TouchSmarts all have distinct flavors to them. Dell's Studio Hybrid is interesting cosmetically, but is in an awkward category. Desktop sales may be in decline, but there's still money to be made. We're surprised that Dell isn't going after it more aggressively.