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Dell Unveils Premium Studio XPS 1640 and Studio XPS 1340

Dell has already taken the wraps off of its budget notebook for CES, the Inspiron 15, and now its time for the exciting stuff. The 16-inch Studio XPS 1640 dazzles with a first-of-its-kind RGBLED display. And the Studio XPS 1340 is a more modern looking successor to the XPS M1330. Both notebooks, which are available now on Dell.com starting at $1,199, offer welcome redesigns, complete with glossy black finishes, leather appointments, aluminum accents, and backlit keyboards and touchpads. Like most high-end multimedia notebooks, Dell's new Studio XPS 1640 offers an optional 1080p display. But this is no ordinary screen. It's the first on the market powered by RGBLED technology, delivering 100 percent of the color gamut. Most displays offer only 40 to 60 percent. What's the payoff for this $250 upsell? Truer, more vibrant colors—up to 16.7 million of them, in fact—whether you're watching Blu-ray movies, playing games, or editing photos. You'll also enjoy 130-degree viewing angles, a fast response time of 8ms, and an impressive 300 nits of brightness. Under the hood of the Studio XPS 1640 are the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670 graphics (with 512MB of video memory), and your choice of three hard drives (500GB at 5,400 rpm, 320GB at 7,200 rpm, or a 128GB SSD). Other highlights include HDMI and DisplayPort connectors, eSATA connectivity, and premium speakers with a built-in subwoofer, complete with 5.1 Dolby Digital output.

The Studio XPS 1340 looks like a good Windows alternative to the MacBook, at least on paper. In fact, this 4.9-pounder features the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics as Apple's premium 13-incher, although discrete Nvidia GeForce 9500M graphics is available as an option. If you go this route Dell says you'll be able to toggle the graphics cards on the fly—good for when you need to save battery power or get a little power boost. Another highlight of the Studio XPS 1340 is the slot-loading DVD drive, which offers a 1080p DVD upconversion feature when you attach this thin-and-light to a TV via HDMI. (Why not offer Blu-ray as an option?) You get two display options: an LED-backlit 13.3-inch WXGA panel paired with a 1.3-MP webcam, or a traditional CCFL screen with a sharper 2-MP webcam. Storage options include a 320GB hard drive spinning at 7,200 rpm, 500GB HDD at 5,400 rpm, and a 128GB SSD. Stay tuned for hands-on impressions.

Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.