The Good Better battery life than its predecessor, thanks to extended-cell battery; 4GB of RAM and big 320GB hard drive; HDMI output, touch-sensitive media controls.
The Bad Big, unwieldy battery adds bulk and weight; slightly clacky keyboard.
The Bottom Line The Dell Studio S1535-143B strikes a fine balance between Dell's XPS and Inspiron lines, offering good looks and decent performance for less than $1,000, even if the previous model had a slightly better processor.
Dell Studio S1535-143B
Editors' note: This review is part of our Holiday 2008 Retail Laptop Roundup, covering specific new configurations of popular laptops that can be found in retail stores.
Dell's Studio line of laptops is an attractive middle ground between the inexpensive Inspiron line and the high-end XPS line, incorporating some of the design cues of the XPS systems (such as their tapered bodies) with a mainstream set of components that won't break the bank.
We were very fond of the previous incarnation of this retail-only configuration, dubbed the S1535-125B. The updated version, the $849 S1535-143B, knocks the CPU back a bit, from a 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 to a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T5800. The difference in real-world performance is negligible, but since the older version is still available for a slightly discounted $799, it might be worth a look. One difference to keep in mind--the newer S1535-143B has a bigger battery, which adds about 80 minutes of battery life but is positively huge, adding bulk and heft to the system.
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