Mere hours after the official launch of the new "Fashion" focused laptop from Dell, Pocket-lint has already had a brief play. But will it ignite your imagination and will it let you proudly shout "I am a PC" at the top of your lungs? We flew in to Dell's UK headquarters to find out.
We want to point out our time was brief, like 20 minutes brief. We weren't able to benchmark the performance, however we were able to have a good close look at the build, the design, the aesthetics and the features. We bashed out a quick email, played with the touch sensitive buttons and stroked the different materials used in both the Pearl and Onyx versions, giving us we feel a good vibe for what to expect when the new laptop starts shipping in April.
Lets start with the design. The Adamo by Dell is incredibly thin. The W x D x H dimensions are 13.03 x 9.5 x 0.65 inches while the chassis is milled from a single piece of aluminium, with a "scalloped" backlit keyboard.
There are two colours, Onyx (black) and Pearl (greyish white). The Onyx model is made of brushed aluminium while the Pearl model is made using the same material but is instead smooth on the inside and etched on the outside. Tactile to touch in both instances the casing is very well made and feels solid. Continuing that "You've got something special here" feeling there is a plaque on the bottom giving you the model number - Adamo thirteen. Even the Windows and Intel logos have been etched into the plaque. Very steam train like.
Back to the dimensions and to put it into a real world perspective and that means it's only slightly thicker than a USB socket. Unlike the MacBook Air and more like the HP Voodoo Envy 133, the unit is the same thickness throughout - there is no tapering of the design. It's as thin as it is at the back as it is at the front.
Keeping the design as simple as it possibly can, the ports have been moved to the back of the unit out of sight. It's a different approach to Apple and HP and means that you aren't going to have a bunch of wires hanging out the side of your unit. It will also mean that you can sit with the laptop cross legged (random fact we know but important for some).
In fact the only port on the side is the headphone jack - a good thing - as it could have been problematical reaching behind the screen. Those worried about not being able to see their 3G dongle in action needn't be, the "Desire" model will feature a built in SIM card slot so you can ditch it altogether.
The back promises one Display Port, three USB sockets (one of which doubles as an eSATA port) an Ethernet for the hotel traveller in you and a power socket. But no FireWire, no Line-in, no CD drive, no PC ExpressCard slot, no VGA port. It's all about being minimal, remember.
Get past the connection options and open up the laptop lid (it's magnetically closed rather than anything latch based) and you're presented with a 13.4-inch 16:9 (High Definition; 720p) WLED very glossy screen. It's glass from edge to edge, but damn is it glossy. We had great fun (read frustration) trying to photograph both models without appearing in the shots in full crystal clear colour and for the most part failed.
Still with a resolution of 720p it's sharp and will be great for watching movies you've downloaded or just seeing that spreadsheet in glorious Technicolor. Still if you plan to use this laptop on the train or in your corner office with plenty of windows, it's going to be a concern. There isn't a matt finish option.
Embedded in the screen is a 1.3-megapixel camera that lets you do video calls: it's standard fare.
Below the screen is as you would expect the keyboard - it is a laptop after all. Set into the metal casing, Dell have not opted for the individual key options you'll find on the high-end Sony Vaio or Apple MacBook options, instead offering a keyboard with large flat-ish keys, but which still offer plenty of space even for fat fingered typists. Physically bigger than Apple's key offering, the font change to something a little more rounded will certainly take those who notice these things a little getting used to. The font isn't hard to read, it's just it's different.
Keys are arranged over six lines with the Fn keys along the top. Typing was comfortable, although we did notice a fair amount of flex in the keyboard towards the centre of the keys (around the g,h,j part) this could be because it was an early build, but we very much doubt it. If you are a heavy typist this could be a worry.
Above the keyboard is an array of multimedia touch-sensitive buttons that light up and allow you to control your music. Beside audio controls like skip forwards, backwards and play/pause you also get volume controls including a mute button. It's straightforward and easy to use with the control as responsive as you would like them to be.
The trackpad is also very easy to use and very traditional in its design. Two buttons under than pad itself offer you the usual commands and controls.
Inside and there are some choices but not masses. The basic setup (£1649) includes a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with Centrino technology, 2GB 800MHz DDR3 dual-channel memory, and a 128GB solid state drive. The second option (£2249) gives you a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor with Centrino technology, 4GB 800MHz DDR3 dual-channel memory, a 128GB solid state drive and that Mobile Broadband SIM slot we mentioned earlier. Both models come with Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11n wireless connectivity as standard.
We weren't able to test the laptop to any extent, as we've said, our time was brief, however from experience those specs aren't going to give you a "super computer", but one that is going to get the job done on the road. This is, Dell keep reminding us, a "Fashion" focused laptop.
Where's the catch? Well there are a couple that are likely to worry. Like the Apple MacBook Air the battery isn't replaceable, you'll have to send it away to get it replaced when it finally gives up the ghost. I personally find that a deal breaker however it hasn't stopped people buying Apple's thin laptop so maybe it won't here.
Then there is the price with a starting point of £1649, this isn't going to be for everyone.
There is no questioning it, the Adamo by Dell, or Dell Adamo (depending on who you talk to) is a very nice looking laptop and will certainly appeal to the PC set looking for something a little more "stylish" to what they've been used to in the past.
This however, is no work horse PC. The model isn't the best spec'ed to do any heavy work on and the glossy screen will stop you doing any work in the sun altogether.
Still if you do still have a job where you can get away with doing very little, and have the cash to spend on this top of the range (as in price) laptop, this might just be what you've been waiting for.