Dell Studio XPS 16 Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

* Updated:  9/14 - 11:00PM

Performance Summary:
In our SiSoftware Sandra testing, the Studio XPS 16 performed a bit better than we expected in most cases, and while it held its own in most of the other benchmarks, we were concerned by the lackluster performance during muilitasking. Gaming was solid with the robust 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4670 GPU, which handled by Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 at 1920x1080 with no problems at all. The XPS 16 was the definition of a mixed bag; while it handled gaming and basic tasks without issue, it struggled a bit to keep up when simply opening new Firefox tabs, firing up a few applications at once and booting into Vista (we highly suggest you choose the Windows 7 upgrade coupon option). For an $1750 machine, as configured, we simply expected the all-around performance to be a little stronger.

Dell's Studio XPS 16 is a great addition to the growing Studio lineup. It's probably the sexiest 16" notebook we've seen, and it just might be one of the most handsome gaming notebooks / pseudo-desktop replacements to date. There's no doubt that Dell put a lot of effort into making this one look great, and while the style may not work for everyone, we certainly dug it. In most ways, this is just a larger version of the already-great Studio XPS 13, though the extra screen real estate really set it apart. We were a bit worried by the amount of heat this machine generated even during day-to-day computing, and while the trifecta of video outputs were great, we would've loved an extra USB port or two to really fill things out.

As for battery life, we weren't too impressed. Then again, this is a desktop replacement of sorts, so it's not like we were expecting a whole lot. You could also opt for the 9-cell battery for a bit more life, but that'll certainly cost you. As for extras, the Studio XPS 16 is pretty much exactly what you'd expect and little more. It's sexy and sleek for its size, and it's capable of running modern games. We'd recommend slapping an SSD into this rig to make it really shine, and of course, having Windows 7 on it come October won't hurt matters either. We do feel that this machine is priced too highly (as tested, anyway) for most to consider reasonable. At around 1750, there are a lot of rival machines to choose from. Competition heats up dramatically when cracking the $1700 mark, as it should. For that much cash, we simply expected better all-around performance from the Studio XPS 16. Gaming was strong but opening up applications, booting into Windows and opening a handful of Firefox tabs all seemed a bit sluggish with notable "lag" in far too many situations. Had this been a $1000 machine, we'd be more likely to accept its performance profile. But even at closer to $1400 after current discounts (which vary with some amount of frequency), we couldn't give this one a wholehearted recommendation with the current HDD.

  • Overall Design
  • Great Keyboard
  • Blu-ray Drive
  • Thin For a 16" Notebook
  • Strong Gaming Performance


  • Gets Quite Warm
  • Overly Glossy
  • Lackluster Battery Life
  • A bit on the pricey side for its peformance

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