Dell Adamo XPS, World’s Thinnest Laptop Reviewed

At a scant 9.99mm, the Dell Adamo XPS really is the world’s thinnest notebook – truly design like no other. I’ve been trying to keep my tongue in check when Dell invited me to grab a first hand look at their new baby. It doesn’t look real. It’s almost too thin, yet underneath that metal exterior and diamond cut logo is hardware powerful enough to run Windows 7 without skipping a beat. Hit the jump for my review.

As I said before it’s almost too thin. If it weren’t for the softly bezeled edges the Adamo XPS might also be the world’s sharpest notebook. Weighing only 3.2lbs with the 20WHr battery installed is quite impressive but my favorite feature is the capacitive latching device. Por que? There’s no button or indentation to lift open the Adamo XPS. Just swipe your finger across a touch sensitive bezel and the lid magically magnetically unlocks.

The design is quite interesting. In lieu of the usual perpendicular form most notebooks take, the Adamo XPS opens up to an angle. The keyboard is raised for better ergonomics and all that space underneath facilitates cooling. The screen is slightly recessed because the entire keyboard plane folds into the display. When you look at the Adamo’s profile, what you’re really looking at is the screen housing.

I’m avoiding the phrase “wafer thin” because that implies flimsiness. The Adamo XPS is far from it. It’s incredibly sturdy and any give comes from the carefully seamed joints, alas the Adamo is not a unibody design. The keyboard looks almost like polished stone but it’s actually metal. How novel and appropriately chic! On the left edge is single USB  and display port. The opposite side has another USB port, an audio jack and power connector.

All the exterior sex appeal doesn’t mean diddly if it chugs during everyday use (cough – MacBook Air). I’m not a PC user so this was also my first experience with Windows 7. Upon start-up I was greeted with a facial recognition option. I didn’t try it because I was in no mood to see my mug in the incredibly bright 13.4″ HD (720p) screen. Once in, Windows 7 looked like a supremely clean version of Vista. All the nonsensical gadgets were gone and the taskbar now had a companion ala Mac OS X dock. I don’t want to make this a Windows review so lets just say I browsed, interneted and emailed without pause. The Adamo XPS is fast.

Dell has been on a roll lately releasing computers that step outside the proverbial grey box. The Adamo XPS looks like a winner in most areas but since we’re a design site, lets get picky. The corners are a little bit too rounded. The trackpad is too small. The speakers are too quiet. The bezel around the display is too noticeable. You’ve got the grey aluminum on the exterior and the black hugging the display. This double whammy makes the screen feel smaller. It would also have bee nice to move the Dell logo off the display area down into the keyboard because it’s way too distracting where it is. What Dell deserves snaps for is the beautiful, crisp screen. The keyboard is a dream to type on and that capacitive latch is like concept finally making it to reality. It’s unnecessary but design is only half about function – the other is emotion and that latch immediately introduces the idea of a computer far more advance if not a little cooler than anything else out there.


  • 13.4″ HD WLED (720P) display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHz
  • Integrated Intel graphics
  • 4GB DDR3-800MHz RAM
  • Thin Micro SSD 128GB
  • Integrated webcam with security face recognition
  • Full size keyboard with touchpad gestures
  • Built-in 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1
  • 2x USB 2.0, audio, DisplayPort
  • 20WHr li-ion battery
  • Windows 7 Premium 64-bit OS
  • 3.2lbs

Optional attachments:

  • VGA, HDMI i/o
  • External optical DVD+/-RW, Blu-ray Disc

Designer: Dell