Dell Studio One 19 First Look Review

by Reads (14,206)

Despite reactionary news about the desktop market shrinking in recent months, manufacturers are continuing to innovate in the space and Dell is certainly no exception.  There has been an explosion in touch technologies lately and the Round Rock OEM has responded with the Dell Studio One 19, an all-in-one, multitouch desktop.  Read on for our first thoughts on this unique new machine.

Be sure to check out our full review of Dell’s multitouch desktop here!

The Dell Studio One 19 comes with the following optional specifications:

Processors Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 – Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
Chipset NVIDIA MCP 7A
Memory Up to 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2GB starting)
Storage Up to 750GB 7200RPM SATA drive (320GB 7200RPM starting)
Optical Drive Slot-loading CD/DVD burner or slot-loading DVD burner/Blu-ray reader
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9200 integrated graphics or 9400 integrated graphics
Webcam and Microphone 1.3MP integrated webca and microphone
Display 18.5″ 1366×768 (optional multitouch capability)
Wired Networking Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN
Wireless
802.11b/g wifi (optional 802.11n)
Media Card Slot 7-in-1 card reader
I/O Ports (6) USB 2.0 ports, power connector, Ethernet, stereo microphone in jack, stereo headphone/line out jack, wireless kb and mouse synch button
OS Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Home Premium (32 & 64-bit)
Dimensions 15.5 x 21.9 x 3.2 inches (HxWxD)
Weight Around 22.7 pounds
Warranty 1-year limited hardware warranty w/InHome service w/remote diagnosis

Build and Design
The new Dell Studio One 19 is a stylish all-in-one desktop, a form factor that has steadily been rising in popularity over the past few years. It’s interesting that the Studio One 19, however, isn’t very big. A lot of the all-in-ones that have been recently introduced are either nettops, replete with very low power processors and coming in at around 15 inches, or full-on computers, with discrete graphics, high resolution screens and ranging in size from between 20 and 26 inches. The Studio One 19 sits somewhere in the middle. It features an 18.5-inch display, but at a relatively low resolution of 1366 x 768. For those concerned about watching HD content, that means that it will show 720p video natively, but 1080p will be downsampled. That’s not really a concern since at less than twenty inches you likely wouldn’t miss the added detail anyway.

Dell Studio One 19

The screen actually extends outward from the body of the computer, a departure from the style most all-in-one configurations have assumed. A translucent plastic border surrounds it, setting it apart from the cloth covered speakers behind it. That’s right, cloth. This is the first time I’ve seen actual cloth used as a building component on a computer. The speakers are decent but not outstanding; for all but the biggest media hounds, though, they’ll probably perform just fine.

Dell Studio One 19

The display itself is solid glass, thankfully, so it’s very scratch resistant and easy to clean. The touch technology works optically, rather than in a resistive or capacitive fashion. This means that much like a resistive display you can use anything to touch the screen, not just your fingers (or toes). At the same time, however, the screen feels much more like the capacitive multitouch surfaces found in devices like the iPhone. While Windows 7 is supposed to be a much more multitouch-friendly operating system, Windows Vista really isn’t. It offers the tablet features pioneered in Windows XP Tablet Edition built-in, but often delivers an unsatisfactory experience to the end user. In an attempt to compensate for this, Dell ships the the Windows Vista-equipped computers with the DPI scaled up. While this does make items like scroll bars and dialog boxes easier to navigate with stubby fingers, it doesn’t look very attractive. Icons in the taskbar notification area in particular often look terrible.

Dell Studio One 19

In addition, Dell developed a custom application for launching programs and utilities on the Studio One 19. A hemispherical arc sits a third or so up from the bottom of the screen. Dragging your finger along the arc reveals that it turns on a central axis like a wheel, allowing users to navigate to the button they want. The arc is easy to use and provides a very intuitive way of launching applications. Unfortunately, however, it can sometimes get in the way when trying to do something on the desktop, and it isn’t immediately obvious how to make changes: adding and removing programs, rearranging icons, etc. Grandma might not have a problem with this, but power users could become frustrated.

Dell Studio One 19Dell Studio One 19
The exceedingly rare Desktopreviewasaurus.

Performance
Like most all-in-one systems, some of the Dell Studio One 19 is fashioned from laptop components. While this necessitates a reduction in overall performance, the traditionally smaller parts lets the system take up less space, use less power and run a good bit cooler than it might otherwise be able to do. While we typically use PCMark as a good overall synthetic system benchmark, it couldn’t complete a full sweep of tests, at least in time for this first look review.

wPrime CPU performance comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

Desktop Time to complete wPrime 32M
Dell Studio Slim (Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 @ 2.33GHz) 16.301s
Dell Studio One 19 (Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 @ 2.5GHz) 30.999s
Dell Studio Hybrid (Core 2 Duo T8100 @ 2.10GHz) 35.582s
Lenovo A600 All-in-one (Core 2 Duo P7450 @ 2.13GHz) 37.363s
HP TouchSmart IQ506 (Core 2 Duo T5850 @ 2.16 GHz) 39.544s

3DMark06 overall graphics performance comparison results (higher scores mean better performance):

Desktop 3DMark06 Score
Lenovo A600 All-in-one (Core 2 Duo P7450, ATI HD3650) 4265 3DMarks
Dell Studio One 19 (Pentium Dual Core E5200, NVIDIA 9400) 1966 3DMarks
Dell Studio Slim (Core 2 Quad Q8200, ATI HD3450 256MB) 1820 3DMarks
HP TouchSmart IQ506 (Core 2 Duo T5850, NVIDIA 9300M GS) 1714 3DMarks
Apple Mac Mini (Core 2 Duo P7350, NVIDIA 9400M) 1552 3DMarks

Fortunately, Dell had the forethought to use someone’s integrated graphics besides Intel. Intel may have done a lot for the computer industry but their integrated graphics are outdated at best and really need a shot in the arm. The NVIDIA integrated GPU in this system managed to pull down a respectable 1966 3DMarks in 3DMark06.

Other Thoughts
The Dell Studio One 19 is available from Dell.com and has a starting price of $699. That will get you a dual-core processor, 2 gigabytes of RAM, and the integrated webcam and microphone. It doesn’t, unfortunately, get you the multitouch capable display. That configuration isn’t available until consumers pony up another $150. The display itself is only a $100 upgrade, but Dell forces users to also use the Vista Home Premium 64-bit OS as well as buy an extra gig of RAM. Frankly, it’s unfortunate that companies are still even putting Vista Home Basic on reasonably powered desktops like this one. Nettops are one thing, but this system features a dual-core CPU and much more powerful graphics. Vista Home Premium should be standard, letting users get the touch-capable version of the Studio One 19 for only $799.

Stay tuned to DesktopReview for more information as well as our full review of this fun little desktop from Dell, which should be coming up in the next couple of days.


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