Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When news of Dell’s ultra-portable Macbook Air rival burst onto the tech blogosphere, questions started to pour in wondering what it would look like as well as specs, customizations and more importantly if it would be able to steal market share from Apple. The latter question was kind of nonsensical however seeing that the Macbook Air does not have a market share…yet.

However, this information was soon answered by Dell themselves when the specs of the Adamo were released. Now that said netbook is available for purchase, we thought it would be good to give you a little run down of the systems weaknesses, strengths and bang for buck.


For those who were wowed by the design of the Macbook Air and more recently the Voodoo Envy, the Adamo has reinvented sexy. Just looking at the machine its quite easy to tell that the design inspiration came from such products as the Bentley, Rolls Royce and of course Rolex.

The device features covered glass screen and lid, as well as brush aluminum. The keys are smooth to the touch and have a slight curve for better typing. Backlit is also standard so no need to adjust screen brightness during the night for typing.

While we were fund of the design, we have to say that the location of the speakers (behind the screen) is more then a little awkward. More importantly we wish we had a bigger trackpad (and maybe more multitouch functionality). Other then that we like the design.

As for dimensions, the Dell Adamo is the smallest thinnest notebook on the market. While the Macbook Air measures .76 inches at its thickest point, and the Voodoo Envy .70 inches, the Dell Adamo is just .65 inches. But that does not mean the system is the lightest. The Adamo weighs in at 4 pounds. That is a full .5 pounds heavier then the Air. But with such detail to design, we can forgive the extra half pound.


The specs on the Adamo are not too shabby either. While we were disappointed overall with the price to spec offering we can’t complain.

The Adamo is fitted with an Intel Core 2 Duo ULV processor that has a clock speed of 1.2GHz (a 1.4GHz option is available for hundreds more). Random access memory is 2GB and can be expanded to 4GB. As for hard drive, you will be happy to know that you will be getting a 128GB SSD for your $2,000. As for the 13.3 inch screen, you get 1366x768 pixels which carries a 16:9 aspect ratio. As for graphics, Dell has decided to go the integrated route with a GMA X4500HD GPU (not good for a $2k system when Apple is offering a $1.7K with Nvidia graphics).

Ports include 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 eSATA port (doubles as a third USB 2.0 port), Ethernet, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, DisplayPort, SIM card and headphones jack.


While the Dell shines on the outside, we were a little disappointed with its internal specs. For one, we wish they had included DDR3 type RAM which can be up to 2x faster then DDR2. The Intel option, while good could have been better matched with the Envy and Air which both offer 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz offerins for hundreds less. But our biggest concern was the integrated graphics. Nvidia clearly carries better GPU’s then Intel and going the Intel route really sucks.

We noticed high fan speeds even during everyday tasks such as email, web browsing and document editing. Multitasking is not something you want to try either as the systems small processor cannot handle such programs as Photoshop and Dreamweaver while running other programs.

On the fan speed subject, for those who do no like noisy computers, you might want to look elsewhere as the Adamo carries a pretty noisy performance.

Basically to sum it up, had the system come with XP or Window’s 7 we would have gotten much better performance marks, but the specs barely meets Vista’s requirements much less the ability to handle much else.


So what is our verdict you ask? Well for one, we know Dell is marketing this to a specific audience, and more importantly those who would be interested in this system are probably not interested in the performance specs for F.E.A.R, Crysis or Photoshop as we would expect.

But if you happen to have $2,000 lying around the place and wondering if this is your call, we will say that you might want to look elsewhere performance wise. But if you’re looking for a laptop to match your Bentley, Rolls Royce or better yet Aston Martin, you should be obliged to spend a mere $2,000 for the match.



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