Friday, September 11, 2009
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM
This is my review video of the Dell Adamo laptop - please check out my unboxing and first impressions video if you haven't already. This is easily the most impressive Dell product I've ever looked at from a design perspective - if you took the name Dell off the laptop, you'd never know it was created by the world's second biggest computer maker. The materials, the design, the build-quality, the fit and finish, the attention to detail: all are mind-blowingly excellent. But the hardware performance and price tag that comes with it? Much less impressive.
This is the "Admire" model, which features a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (SU9300), 2 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD drive, Windows Vista 64-bit, a 13.4 inch 16:9 aspect ratio 1366 x 768, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth 2.0, a back-lit keyboard, two USB ports, one USB/eSATA combo port, gigabit Ethernet, Display Port out (it comes with an adaptor for Display Port to DVI), 802.11n WiFi, built-in speakers, and a 40-watt hour battery that's rated to last five hours. As you can tell from my video, five hours would only be possible if the display was so dim it would only be readable in the dark, and you couldn't actually use it for anything during those five hours.
The Dell Adamo has no optical drive, nor any memory card slot - the first one I don't care much about, but the second one is practically unforgivable. Who wants the hassle of having to carry an external memory card reader with them? This is the Onyx version - it also comes in Pearl (white). The price for this particular model is $1999 CAD from Dell Canada, or $1499 USD from Dell USA. Nice exchange rate there eh? Yeah - not good news for Canadians that want to buy this product.
My video turned into quite an epic (20+ minutes long), so here's the short version of my findings: the design is killer, other than the awful fingerprint magnet piece on top. The build quality is superb - everything about the Adamo screams quality. The hardware? Less impressive. It's one thing to charge $2000 for a laptop - it's quite another to charge $1999 and not have that laptop feel like a fast, responsive work tool. The 128 GB SSD drive isn't very fast - the laptop boots up as slowly as any hard-drive based laptop I've tried, and the overall performance of the 1.2 Ghz CPU also fails to impress. And when I can buy an HP laptop for $600 that comes with 4 GB of RAM, it's hard to accept a laptop that sells for $1999 CAD only provides me with 2 GB of RAM, even if that RAM is DDR3.
Ultimately the Dell Adamo might be the perfect laptop for someone that values design above performance, and if that someone is willing to pay a premium for that design. If that's you, then this laptop is worth looking at - no one who owns an Adamo would feel inferior if everyone around them took out their Macbooks. The Adamo can stand toe to toe with even the design darling of the OS X camp - the Macbook Air - and come out looking good...but are there enough people out there like that for this to be a viable product category for Dell? Time will tell.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He's still searching for the ultimate netbook.
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