During my time at Tech.Ed, I got to spend some time with Dell’s premium, top of the line laptop – the Adamo. It’s a slick, lightweight, piece of engineering, however there are a few draw backs.
Whilst the Adamo in a couple of different configurations, and colours – Pearl (White) and Onyx (Black), the version I got to review is as follows.
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (1.4GHz)
- Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium SP1 64 bit Edition (Free upgrade to Win7)
- 4GB 800MHz DDR3 dual-channel memory
- 13.4" 720p WLED (1366×768 resolution)
- 128GB Solid State Hard Drive
- 6-Cell (40WHr) Li-Ion Primary Battery
- Backlit keyboard
- 802.11n Wireless
- No optical drive
- Solid State Drive – The speed of this drive is amazing, it meant that Windows 7 (64-bit) booted in around 20 seconds. That’s 20 second. 128GB in size also meant there’s none of the typical data selection we experience when using laptops with small drives.
- Design – Right from the beginning, when you see the packaging, you realise the appearance and presentation is important. It’s a very, very different experience to opening up a regular Inspiron. The design looks fantastic, during my time with the Adamo, I showed it off to friends, which was usually met with ‘ooohs and aahhs’. The only place I could fault the design was a little bit of flex in the bottom panel, which by the way covers a non-user replaceable / upgradable battery.
- Keyboard – Oversized backlit keys make typing on the Adamo a breeze. Slightly concave, for touch typists, it’s easy to find where one key ends and the next one starts. For those times when you do need to look at the keys, you can happily do so in the dark. The keyboard backlight brightness is also adjustable, so it won’t be super-bright in a dark environment. You can also turn off the backlight completely to conserve battery life.
- Weight – The Adamo is definitely light, especially compared with other 13” laptops. Undoubtedly the aluminium body assists here. Personally the weight of a laptop is becoming more important to me. If I’m going to use a laptop for it’s desired – portability, then it needs to be comfortable to carry. The Adamo weighs 1.81 kg.
- Price – Of course that SSD speed and size doesn’t come cheap, so surely a decent slab of the price can be contributed to that.
- Battery Life – Dell claim 5+ hr battery life, but in my experience it was more like 2-2.5hrs.
- Speakers – The arrangement of the speakers mean they’re actually pointing away from you. This results in a reflected sound reaching you which sounds quite tinny. Your best bet for audio on the Adamo is a USB headset.
- USB ports – the Adamo has 2 USB ports on the rear. The problem here lies in the closeness in which they’re placed. If your using a larger USB device (e.g. wireless USB modem), then you can forget about plugging in anything else like a mouse. Essentially this means you need to carry around a USB hub.
The Adamo is without a doubt Dell’s sexiest laptop. Fitting that amount of performance in such a small bundle is an amazing engineering feat. Clearly Dell are not the pioneers in ultra-thin laptops, but their edition is certainly a great device. The number one problem is the price. Despite having a great list of specs, the price of $3,299 is just too steep for even those in love with the Adamo.
Even the entry level Adamo with a 1.2Ghz processor and 2GB RAM costs $2,199. You could find many higher powered laptops for that price point, so you are paying quite a premium for the design.
If your cashed up and price isn’t an issue, I’d absolutely recommend the Dell Adamo. But Dell, if you want to move units, please drop the price.
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