Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dell Studio 1735

By Darius Chang, CNET Asia

The Studio 1735 is the larger brother to the Studio 1535, with the same curved chassis which takes after the XPS series. The backlit keyboard and mini remote control are also present, though Dell has made use of the extra space and incorporated a discrete numeric pad. Asia pricing details have yet to be released, but in the US this Studio starts at US$999 (S$1,363.18), which makes it very competitive compared to other entertainment desktop replacements such as the Toshiba Qosmio G40,

Fujitsu LifeBook N6460 and HP Pavilion dv9700. However, to keep costs down, Dell had to cut back on some common features such as S/PDIF output and integrated subwoofer, which make the multimedia capabilities of the Studio 1735 merely competent at best. But for those who want a desktop replacement for work and play, this Studio fits the bill nicely without looking like a concrete block.


The Studio 1735 looks almost exactly like the smaller Studio 1535, save for an a slight different port placement and the addition of a discrete numeric pad. The unit weighs in at 3.97kg with the extended cell (3.57kg with the normal battery), and a footprint of 392.6 x 288.6 x 43mm. Fortunately, the curved body makes the unit look sleeker than most other desktop replacement models.

The hinge design is first seen on the XPS M1530.

The rubberized top cover is available in seven different shades and is surprisingly hardy and easy to maintain. The grey palm rest has a unique topology pattern, which resembles a map of a small island or hill.

On the surface, the full-sized keyboard with a discrete numeric pad looks just like those on any desktop replacement machine. But Dell has hidden LED lights under the keys which light up at a touch of a button. The glow is just bright enough not be be too glaring, yet usable in the dark. The LED lights will dim in a few seconds after the last keystroke, but will resume service once any key is pressed. They can also be disabled manually. The Studio 1735 follows the trend of touch-sensitive multimedia controls which are attractive as well as functional. A wireless switch is located on the side which turns the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radio on and off.

There is a battery level indicator located on the cell which displays the charge level in 20 percent increments. Our unit came with the high-capacity option which tilts the laptop slightly from the rear. This makes typing a little more comfortable and increases the heat ventilation of the Studio 1735.


As an entertainment desktop replacement, we fully expected to see features such as remote control and HDMI output. However, the Studio 1735 provides only a mini remote control which stores in the ExpressCard slot. Considering one would rarely want to commute with a laptop this size, we would have preferred if Dell had offered a full-size remote control instead. Another gripe is the lack of a S/PDIF audio jack and built-in subwoofer, features which are common for entertainment desktop replacements. Though the starting price is attractive, we can only consider the feature set of the Studio 1735 average at best.

The 17.1-inch display has a nice level of brightness and our review unit has a full-HD panel capable of 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution. The underlying graphics engine is an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 card with 256MB of video memory. Barring dual-graphics machines like the XPS M1730, the Studio 1735 should be able to handle the latest gaming titles with the best of them. External displays can be linked via the VGA or HDMI ports. Despite being an entertainment laptop, there is no integrated TV tuner which is a little disappointing. A 2-megapixel Webcam with dual array of microphones is available for video conferencing as well as impromptu snapshots.

As previously mentioned, the unit lacks a subwoofer which is an expected feature for an entertainment desktop replacement. There are two headphone jacks available for private movie viewing for two, but of them are S/PDIF-capable so only external analog speaker systems are usable. For an multimedia desktop replacement, these omissions may be a deal-breaker for those seeking an all-in-one device to replace their home entertainment setup.

The MediaDirect application provides a nice interface for multimedia functions. Unfortunately, the software does not have a pre-boot feature so pressing the MediaDirect button will boot the machine into Vista before the application is launched.

Touch-sensitive multimedia controls are all the rage.

The slot-loading DVD writer drive is a concern for us. Though it looks nice, using the same disk repeatedly may result in scratches. Moreover, you cannot remove the disk manually, unlike tray-loading drives, which means that should the system fail to boot up, the CD is stuck inside. The standard drive is a Super Multi DVD writer which can be upgraded to Blu-ray at the point of purchase.

The unit is equipped with a nice array of ports which include five USB 2.0 (one more than the Studio 1535), mini-FireWire, memory card reader (SD/SDHC/MMC, Memory Stick PRO and xD-Picture Card) and an ExpressCard/54 slot. Though there is a fingerprint sensor present, the lack of a TPM security chip means this feature is meant for easy logins, not as a strong security measure. We were a little disappointed that an eSATA port or, better yet, an eSATA/USB combo port like the one on the HP Pavilion dv3000, was not available for use with next-generation storage devices.

In today's broadband age, not many will miss the omission of the modem port on the Studio 1735. Wired networks are handled via the Gigabit Ethernet adapter, with 802.11a/b/g/n or Bluetooth radios taking charge of wireless connections. The button on the left hinge activates the Wi-Fi catcher application, which displays the various wireless networks in the area and the individual signal strengths.

Performance And Battery Life

Our US$1,968 (S$2,685.43) review unit came equipped with a Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz processor with 2GB memory and a 160GB harddisk. With a 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650 handling graphics rendering, the Windows Experience index reported a score of 5.0, with 5.4 for the processor and 5.0 for the graphics engine. This Studio may not be the gaming monster that the XPS M1730 is, but it should be able to handle even the latest titles with ease.

Using MobileMark 2007 DVD runtime test, the system ran for 2 hours 19 minutes on the larger nine-cell extended cell before shutting down with 4 percent of power left, which is merely average for a desktop replacement. We expect the results to be significantly lower with the standard cell, so it may not be able to complete a full DVD movie on a single battery charge.

Service And Support

Dell offers a one-year local warranty for its notebooks as standard. The warranty covers both parts and labor. For a fee, the coverage period and service terms can be extended at the point of purchase. Should there be a problem with the notebook, the company will send a technician onsite to repair the machine. Updated drivers and other documentation can be downloaded from Dell's Web site, with the online DellConect tool used by service technicians to troubleshoot your system remotely. Users can also purchase additional warranty packages such as HelpDesk phone support and international coverage online.


Processor Core 2 Duo

Processor number T9300

Processor speed 2.5GHz

Motherboard chipset Intel 965PM chipset

Centrino Yes


Amt of RAM 2048 MB (max 4096 MB)

Hard drive 160 GB

Card Reader SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro, xD

Optical drive Slot-in DVD writer


Ports 5 x USB2.0; FireWire; VGA-out; HDMI

Bluetooth Yes

Infrared No

Ethernet 10/100/1000

Built-in devices 1 x ExpressCard/54 slot; fingerprint sensor

Wireless LAN 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n

Webcam Yes


Graphics hardware ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650

Amt of video RAM 1GB

Diagonal screen size 17.1 inch

LCD technology Transflective TFT (widescreen)

Screen resolution (max) 1,920 x 1,200


Remote Yes

Sound hardware Integrated audio; 2 x speakers;

Jacks mic-in, earphone-out


Operating system Win Vista Ultimate


Weight w/battery 3.57 kg

Dimensions 392.6 x 288.6 x 43 mm

Power Supply

Battery type(s) 9-cell Lithium-ion


Warranty One year on-site warranty