The Bottom Line
- Well Priced
- Optional High Color Display
- Two Year Warranty
- Dated Design
- Older Generation Graphics Processor
- Best Features Require Upgrades
- Intel Core i5-520M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6-inch WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4570 Graphics With 512MB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, eSATA, FireWire, HDMI, ExpressCard/34, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.6" x 10" x 1.5" @ 6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Internet Security
Guide Review - Dell Studio 1558 15.6-inch Thin And Light Laptop PC
May 7 2010 - Dell's Studio 15 has been through a large number of revisions with very little external change. The Studio 1558 updates the internals of the laptop to use the new Core i3 and i5 processors over the previous Core 2 models. In the case of the high end unit, it comes equipped with the Core i5-520M dual core model that actually provides some surprising levels of performance with its 4GB of memory. If you aren't using a large number of processor intensive tasks, the processor is actually on par with the more expensive quad core CPU.
The Studio 1558 has a number of hard drive options. Ironically, the most expensive base configuration uses a smaller 320GB hard drive compared to some other versions that feature a 500GB drive. Both versions spin at a desktop 7200rpm rate for increased performance. Those wanting a bit more storage space can elect to get a 640GB drive that spins at a slower 5400rpm rate. A dual layer DVD burner handles all playback and recording of CDs and DVDs.
The Dell Studio 1558 uses the same 15.6-inch LED backlit panel that it has been using for some time. Color representation and brightness are quite good but viewing angles can be problematic on the vertical plane. The 1366x768 resolution is fairly typical of what is seen in this price range. Users can elect to get an optional high-brightness or WLED panel as well as a higher resolution panel. Those working in graphics will probably want the WLED panel for its higher color gamut. All versions still carry a glossy coating that makes it difficult to use in outdoor lighting.
What sets this version of the Dell Studio 1558 apart from the other models is the graphics processor. Most version use the Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated solution that is fine for most basic graphics work and high definition video playback. This model comes with an ATI Radeon HD 4570 mobile graphics processor with 512MB of memory. It provides sufficient performance for casual 3D gaming but falls short of what many gamers might want out of a laptop. It is an older generation version that does not support Direct X 11 though.
Unlike many other low cost 15-inch laptops, the Dell Studio 1558 comes with a nine cell battery pack. This allows the system to run a bit longer than average in my DVD playback tests. It was able to manage just under two and three-quarter hours before going into standby mode. This would translate to roughly three to three and a half hours of more typical usage. This is good compared to similarly priced laptops that feature six cell packs but is more average for nine-cell models.
Probably the best aspect of the Dell Studio 1558 is the pricing. Originally priced around $1250, it is possible to get the system now for just $899. That makes the features and price very compelling against the competition if you don't mind a fairly dated design.