Dell Studio XPS 16
Dell’s Studio XPS 16 is the most expensive alternative on my list, weighing in at a hefty $1,624 as I have configured it, but you can save an additional $175 by going with an only slightly slower processor (the 2.4 GHz 3 MB cache P8600). The loss in performance should be nearly negligible, but I chose the T9550 configuration because it was most similar to that of the MacBook Pro’s 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo.
So, what makes the XPS 16 so much like the MacBook Pro? For starters, it looks surprisingly good for a Dell. With aluminum accents, leather grip trim, and an obsidian black paint job, it could win a few beauty pageants. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but opening it up reveals a stunning LED screen and brilliant backlit keyboard, much like the MacBook Pro (although granted, it is not quite as sleek). Either way, it would be tough to call this machine unattractive. Under the hood, it is a powerful beast, sporting the same DDR3 and processor as the MacBook Pro, all powered by a nine-cell Li-Ion battery, giving it up to eight hours of battery life. All of this weighs in at 6.5 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the 5.5 pound MacBook Pro, but it is still reasonably light.
It also has a few features not found in a 15.4” MacBook Pro. The Studio XPS 16 has premium speakers as well as a subwoofer, giving it excellent sound quality. It also has one ultimate coup de grace, its 16” Edge-to-Edge 1920x1080 LED display, trumping Apple’s greatest oversight in its 15.4” line, the mediocre 1440x900 screen. Oh, and it has an HDMI port.
Sadly, however, it isn’t all diamonds and pearls. Compared to the Apple’s all-aluminum unibody design, the XPS 16 is lacking in build quality, although with its aluminum hinges, only slightly. Also, the XPS 16’s keyboard leaves a bit to be desired and is just a small bit flimsy.
All in all, the XPS 16 scores high for performance, battery life, and aesthetics, but only receives a moderate score for build quality.
|Dell Studio XPS 16|
|Processor||Core 2 Duo T9550 (6 MB cache, 2.66 GHz)|
|Memory||4 GB DDR3-1066|
|Hard Drive||320 GB 7,200 RPM|
|Video Card||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 512 MB|
|Display||16" RGBLED 1920x1080|
|Relevant I/O Ports||3x USB, 1x eSata, HDMI, 8in1 Card Reader, 54 mm Express Slot, IEEE 1394a|
|Dimensions||15.15 x 10.02 x .95-1.34"|