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ATPM 14.10
October 2008




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by Mark Tennent,

Ding Dong Dell

Well done, Dell! Congratulations for catching up only eight years late. The new Studio Hybrid looks the business, but one has to ask, what is it for?

Dell’s new box of tricks is similar in size and appearance to an external hard drive. Its removable coloured sleeves are presumably the hybrid part of the name. When Apple’s Cube went on sale in 2000, many found it hard to believe the little white box wasn’t just a power supply, but they were comparing it against PCs at the turn of the millennium. With the Studio Hybrid, Dell probably has the Mac mini in their sights, both computers with similar internal specifications and prices.


The computers’ Core 2 Duos are looking long in the tooth, and both are limited to 4 GB of memory. Integrated graphics won’t get gamers excited, and internal storage space limits the computers to one drive and one CD/DVD reader/writer. A reviewer on Dell’s Web site says they purchased the Studio Hybrid as a media player, a role the Mac mini is aimed at as well. The Studio Hybrid and Mac mini have a similar range of ports to connect external devices, which is lucky because modern digital media takes up enormous quantities of disk space, making their hard drives look cramped for space.


As soon as monitors, keyboards, input devices, and all the other paraphernalia of modern computing are added to them, they take up a lot of space and power sockets. All-in-one computers such as Apple’s iMac look a better bet, especially as they are more proficient computers, albeit for an extra couple of hundred quid. An iMac can also be moved from room to room dragging only one lead behind it.

Alternatively, laptop computers, which Apple and Dell manufacture in a broad range, would fill the media centre role without being tied to one location or even to a power supply. The higher end versions have usurped desktop computers for many users.

What exactly is the Studio Hybrid for? It’s too low-powered, limited in performance by integrated graphics and CPU, lacks upgrade options, and is hampered by needing to connect to a monitor, keyboard, and power supply.

But it does have a range of coloured sleeves.

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Reader Comments (4)

Gregory Tetrault · October 2, 2008 - 12:49 EST #1
What exactly is the Studio Hybrid for?

As you said above, it serves the same purpose as the Mac Mini. It can function as a headless media center, it can be a media center with the TV as monitor, or it can be a low cost, compact computer that works with a buyer's existing monitor and keyboard.

Though it follows the Mac Mini by more than three years, there still may be enough Windows users interested in the Studio Hybrid to provide Dell with profits.

Why did you write about this anyway? A new Dell computer isn't newsworthy to most ATPM readers.
Lee Bennett (ATPM Staff) · October 2, 2008 - 13:55 EST #2
Personally, I thought this was one of Mark's better pieces, especially since so many are sometimes lost on me due to differences in UK vocabulary. This sort of came across to me as a subtle poke that Dell tried—and will probably ultimately fail—at stealing away some iMac and Mini customers.
Michael Tsai (ATPM Staff) · October 2, 2008 - 16:36 EST #3
The Studio Hybrid is also interesting in light of the persistent rumors that the Mac mini would be discontinued. On the theme of PCs inspired by Macs, take a look at the Vaio JS1 (via Gruber).
Daniel · October 9, 2008 - 18:20 EST #4
So how does it compare to the current Mac Mini models? Hard drive size, processor, graphics, price? They seem pretty similar to me, except for the OS of course. If the dell machine is out of date then we must say the same for the mini hardware.
I'd have to say it at least looks better than a Mac mini :(

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