Despite weighing a reasonable 2.65kg, the Studio 15 is a heavyweight in performance terms. With 4GB of memory and a fast 7200rpm hard disk, the Studio demolished our benchmarks, with an overall score of 1.59. Battery life suffers as a result, but with 3hrs 25mins of light usage, it isn't far behind the pack.
The relatively compact chassis precludes a powerful graphics chipset, but the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 worked well with the Core i7. Our least-demanding Crysis test cruised to a result of 56fps, even if upping the ante to medium detail saw it struggle to an average of 15fps.
The chunky wedge design looks presentable, and only the over-flexible lid gave us any cause for concern. And if the black chainlink finish is too plain for your taste, a premium of $99 will buy you one of several "arty" designs.
The 15.6in display has a standard 1366 x 768 resolution, but to make full use of the power at the Studio 15's disposal, we'd be tempted to upgrade to the optional Full HD panel. Even if you don't, though, image quality is excellent, with vibrant, accurate colours, strong contrast and believable skintones.
The Studio 15 makes a strong showing elsewhere, too, with a keyboard that provides a lovely feel and a sensible, spacious layout. The keys have plenty of travel and a positive action, a combination that makes for comfortable typing over long periods. Even the speakers are excellent, with the tiny bass driver on the Dell's underside imparting full-bodied clarity to music and movies alike.
In fact, our only real concern is that the Studio 15 struggles to keep cool when pushed to the edge of its considerable capabilities (see opposite), but, for this price, the Studio 15 offers an unbeatable combination of power and poise.