The Good Excellent port assortment; backlit keyboard; full Microsoft Office Home & Student 2010, Webroot antivirus software included.
The Bad Value of included software is questionable; no discrete media controls or quick-launch keys.
The Bottom Line The Dell Studio s1558-5691MSL offers a little more for your money than competing laptops, though it's a bit bulky and short on battery life for a day in a backpack.
Editors' note: This review is part of our , which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.
The Dell Studio s1558-5691MSL is a Next Class laptop from Best Buy. Like the retailer's Blue Label systems, Next Class laptops are designed based on customer feedback; in this case, feedback from college students. A Next Class notebook comes preloaded with a full version of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2010; 12 months of Webroot antivirus protection; a backlit keyboard; a built-in Webcam; and at least up to 4 hours of battery life. Including Office is nice and does make the s1558-5691MSL a better value. It's loaded with good components, too, including a 7,200rpm 500GB hard drive and an Intel Core i3 processor.
However, if you've made the switch to Web apps like Google Docs, are fine with free antivirus software like AVG or Avast, and would rather have a more entertainment-minded laptop for that $800, check out the Sony Vaio EA24FM/W, which has similar performance and battery life, but has a Blu-ray drive and Intel Wireless Display. Or if you like everything here, you can configure the Studio s1558 on Dell's site and get it for about $75 less without the software.
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