Saturday, 2 August 2008

Dell Studio Hybrid!

Dell Studio Hybrid
I like the styling of the Hybrid. It's almost like my stackable multimedia rack idea over on IdeaStorm. Okay I might be stretching that a bit. But it's almost like it.

I like the interchangeable sleeves. The fashion conscious will love that feature. The slot loading DVD drive is another nice touch. In fact there are quite a few storage options packed into the hybrid. Including USB ports for flash drives and an SD card reader.

The inclusion of a HDMI port is also a nice touch. It will allow consumers to integrate the Hybrid seamlessly right into the home entertainment experience. I didn't notice it on the UK page, but apparently there's a TV decoder option as well. So people can use one machine for watching TV, listening to music, surfing the web, dealing with e-mail, recording/pausing live TV, playing DVDs (don't know about Blue-ray) and playing casual games. Tetris, Solitaire that sort of thing.

The Studio Hybrid only gets Intel X3100 graphics and a 5400RPM hard drive. The Intel graphics rule out high caliber resource hungry PC games. The slow hard drive might impact on recording Live TV. I guess it'll depend on what sort of quality you're willing to accept. But if you're plugging your Hybrid into a large LCD I'd say forget recording from the TV.

Overall I think Dell have made a good attempt here. It's a better option than previous attempts to build a desktop from laptop components. The XPS One and the XPS M2010 are more capable in the graphics department. But they're also tethered to their displays making them less adaptable and less able to integrate into the home environment. They were essentially still desktop PCs.

The hybrid is a device. A set-top box almost.

The final drawback is Windows Vista. Dell insists on selling the Hybrid with Vista because as we all know Dell "Recommends Vista". Which is of course nothing to do with how good Windows Vista is.

Well selling it with Vista means you need to take the most powerful configuration you can afford to get the best performance out of it. If it were being sold with Ubuntu we could get away with maybe 1GB of RAM instead of a minimum of 2GB. For Vista I'd recommend taking the full 4GB which of course will only give you 3.5GB because the "Wintel" feature that's meant to get you the rest doesn't work. But in fairness Dell do point out only 3.5GB will be available.

Dell Studio Hybrid
All things considered the Dell Studio Hybrid is a capable machine that will more than meet the needs of it's target audience at a reasonable price point. It's just a shame about the graphics and hard drive.