Review: As thin as it gets
Dell isn't the first name that comes to mind when you think luxury laptops, but as one wise man would put it, the times they are a changing.
Launched a couple of months back, the Adamo is not merely another Dell lappie, it's an entirely new brand created for fashion minded and well off folks who don't mind being noticed. Last time Dell thought it needed a new brand, it simply went out and bought one - Alienware. However, this time around it chose to go it alone, and take on the likes of Apple, Lenovo and to some extent, Sony, with a beautifully styled, art-decoish lump of hardware.
You're probably thinking this isn't a very good time to launch a $2000 laptop, and you're right, to some extent at least. Analysts claim luxury goods makers aren't doing so bad even in this tough economic climate, and if I were to make a wild guess, I'd say people who had a lot of money to burn a year ago, are still doing pretty well. You don't see luxury car brands going under, or even complaining too much, do you?
However, whereas under the bonnet of most sports cars you'll find two rows of supercharged cylinders eager to catapult you down the road, in the Adamo you'll find two cores running at 1.2GHz and two gigs of RAM. Obviously the power plant used in the Adamo isn't in a hurry to get anywhere. This is the main concern here, not the economy or the price tag. A year ago we'd just say it's an ultraportable, a stylish device that compromises on speed to cater to a niche market and that would be it. However, as more and more vendors announce skinny and cheap CULV-based 13-inchers, the Adamo starts to show some shortcomings in the value for money department.
Dell chose to couple a pricey platform with some pricey storage, courtesy of Samsung. A 128GB SSD doesn't come cheap, and adds a few hundred bucks to the price tag. Unlike a MacBook Air or Lenovo X301, Dell doesn't offer a cheaper HDD option. The choice of CPUs is also limited to the SU9300 at 1.2GHz or the SU9400 at 1.4GHz, and you also have to pay extra to get 4GB of memory. There is no matte screen option, so you're stuck with the glare screen.
True, a premium model can't have as many customization options as an Inspiron, but a bit more flexibility would have made a world of difference. After all, the best thing about getting a Dell is the ability to build a system best suited to meet your individual needs from the ground up. With the Adamo, this simply isn't the case.
In terms of connectivity, the Adamo does pretty well for this product class. Two USBs, Ethernet, DisplayPort and eSATA, all located at the back. Although some may moan about not having a USB on the side, it's a price you have to pay for the looks, and we believe it's worth it. Another price to pay is the integrated battery, which really isn't a great idea and is the main shortcoming of the both the Adamo and Air.