The Bottom Line
- Multitouch Capable
- Wide Range Of Peripheral Ports
- Good Level Of Performance
- Older ATI Graphics Processor
- Limited Software Functions To Take Advantage Of Touchscreen
- Intel Core i7-720QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Multitouch Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Radeon Mobility 4650 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, eSATA, FireWire, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, ExpressCard/34, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.4" x 11" x 1.6" @ 7.1 lbs.
- Winodws 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Dell Studio 17 Touch 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jul 12 2010 - Dell's Studio 17 laptop has been on the market for some time and has undergone a number of updates over time. While the exterior of the system still is very similar to its original release, the internals have changed to keep the system relevant. This includes the Intel Core i7-720QM quad core processor. Performance is quite strong in just about any type of application thanks to the auto clock scaling to give optimal performance for single threaded or multi-threaded programs.
Storage features have been upgraded a bit as well. It comes with a fairly typical 500GB hard drive for storing applications, data and media files. The drive spins at a faster 7200rpm desktop rate to give it a bit of higher performance. A standard dual-layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CDs and DVDs.
The key feature that sets apart the Studio 17 Touch from the standard models is the 17.3-inch is the multitouch capable display. The display itself uses a fairly high 1600x900 resolution. It would be nice to see the touchscreen available in higher resolutions but then it would be more difficult to get precise points when using one's finger. The touchscreen seems responsive enough compare to some other touchscreen laptops on the market.
While the touchscreen interface is useful with Windows 7 in place of using the trackpad or mouse, there are too few applications that can really take advantage of the touchscreen. It would have been nice to see Dell invest some time into developing some more software applications to use the interface. They did this somewhat with the Touch Zone software but it lacks the same finish that HP has put into their TouchSmart programs.
A big issue for the Dell Studio 17 Touch though is the graphics. Dell may have upgraded the processors to use the latest Intel processors, they chose to continue to use an older ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4650 graphics processor. While the processor is fairly capable of playing 3D graphics at resolutions up to 1440x900 it does drop frames at times or require lesser details. The bigger drawback though is the lack of Direct X 11 technology for improved detail in more modern games.
One bright spot with the Dell Studio 17 is the peripheral ports. Many laptops now sacrifice ports to save a bit in costs. Dell manages to include just about every type of interface including ExpressCard, eSATA, FireWire and DisplayPort. This makes external upgrades much easier.
With the nine-cell battery pack on the Studio 17 Touch, the system was able to post fairly average running times. In my DVD playback test, the system was able to run for roughly two and a half hours before going into standby mode. It would have been nice to see longer running times with the larger battery but it isn't out of the ordinary for desktop replacements. More typical usage should see running times be somewhere over three hours.