Dell Adamo S510302AU
3.6Overall Score
Price (RRP): $3,799 Manufacturer: Dell

In a market increasing focussed on low cost netbooks, Dell has gone the other way, producing a “prestige” notebook computer that’s hard on the wallet but easy on the eyes. Available in either onyx (black) or pearl (white), the Adamo has a combination of matte and piano finish that looks fantastic – although you will undoubtedly spend a maddening amount of time cleaning fingerprints off the case.

And it’s slim. Much like the Macbook Air – a device with which it shares many similarities – the Adamo is super thin and extremely portable. At just one and a half centimetres thick and weighing only 1.8 kg, it will slip neatly into most carry bags and won’t weigh you down when travelling.

It’s not a performance notebook, however. Thanks to its generous memory allocation and solid-state hard drive it runs Vista well enough, but if you want it to do any heavy lifting you may be looking at the wrong notebook.

Features and performance

All Adamo models boast a glossy 13.4 inch screen that looks great – although its high reflectivity can make viewing it at an angle a little difficult. The Adamo also has a fantastic backlit keyboard, with very large, flat keys that make rapid typing a breeze.

As we mentioned, the Adamo doesn’t have a great deal of power under the hood. It runs on a low power Core 2 Duo processor, designed to ensure decent battery life but not really capable of higher-end tasks like 3D games. However, thanks to its plentiful RAM and its solid-state hard drive, the Adamo is very responsive for basic Windows functions, and is more than capable of keeping up with you when it comes to Web browsing and basic productivity applications.

The 128GB solid-state hard drive, meanwhile, is the major reason that the price tag for the Adamo is so high. A solid state hard drive isn’t really a traditional hard drive at all – it’s actually a bunch of flash memory (the stuff that’s found in SD cards and MemorySticks) that’s used instead of a regular platter-based drive. It has a number of advantages over a normal hard disk: it’s smaller, faster, uses less power, makes no noise, produces little heat and is less susceptible to jolting than a regular hard disk. But it’s also hella expensive. Hence the price of the Adamo.

The good news is that to expand the storage capacity of the Adamo, you can always attach an external hard drive. The Adamo actually has what’s called an eSATA port for you to do that. eSATA external drives are a lot faster than USB external drive, although they do tend to be more expensive and usually require mains power.