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.

Specs:

  • 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

37 Comments

  • Dan says:

    I thought that flat or negative-tilt keyboards were better for ergonomics. That looks almost too steep for me.

    • Zerod Zunaro says:

      Not entirely correct, the denivelation of the keyboard, at first glance, seems steep but looks pretty much like any keyboard height increasing clip.

      It does not seem like the thing is there to destroy your wrists, it’s not like your typing on a wall.

      I’m pretty sure the people at Dell wouldn’t risk such important selling point that is ergonomy for the thin experience.

    • fin says:

      tend to agree…my medical insurance wouldn’t like this notebook, i’d be going to the doctor too much

      • Dr Steve says:

        …and the doctor would or should send you right back out onto the street with your tail between your legs. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Repetitive Strain Injury etc. are bogus conditions (complete lack of substantiable research) which have been reliable crutches for lazy people who don’t like their job.

        • Dan says:

          What about the people that actually want to do their job, but can’t because of the pain in their wrists?

  • Quixotic says:

    This looks NOTHING like anything Dell has ever put out (except for the original Adamo). Dell has come a long way from the company that made cheap gray boxes

  • Manuele De Lisio says:

    A laptop you can’t (safely) use on your laps… great idea Dell!

    • BLToday says:

      I agree. How is that hinge going to work on my lap. Usually I have my laptop hanging off my lap just a bit since most of the weight is in the base so it’s still stable. From the picture, it looks like a lot of the weight is in the screen portion (battery + screen). I can imagine this very quickly falling off my lap if I use it like any other laptop. It’s a laptop that requires a desk.

      • trojanwar says:

        How are we supposed to use it as “lap”top? I don’t see a way to use it (with comfort) on any surface other than a table. Did anyone try it out at the airport or on a bed? and how did it feel? Yanko, please ANSWER!

  • holywar says:

    The original Adamo looked beautiful and sleek. This new Adamo looks down right cutesy with the rounded corners. Thumbs down.

  • Sam says:

    It looks nice but I’d be interested to know how the screen holds up after a year of use. Also on the screen can you adjust the tilt of it easily? I find that when I work on a laptop being able to tilt the screen down from the vertical vital for reducing glare.

    It looks nice but I’m not too convinced that the design will work out – especially with regards to cooling.

  • PDShake says:

    It’s important to note that the Adamo line has been touted by Dell to “show off their design capabilities”. While the hinge and the touch sensitive latch are gimmicky, in reality every innovation has at one time been considered a gimmick. I would imagine they could care less if they sell these laptops to the majority of the buying public. This is clearly a niche item, a design item which the YD community should appreciate.

    • Kelmon says:

      The problem here is that this thing is, apparently, going to be “put out” and it should not be. I am in total agreement that the computer is a wonderful demonstration of how far Dell has come over recent years but this should be nothing more than a concept model. At least until they produce a version with a flat base to rest on your lap.

  • Seigfrates says:

    This thing is cool in many way – first truly daring new laptop form-factor in ages, THIN, LIGHT, and actually fairly powerful considering the extreme form-factor.

    Do I think it will sell well? Nope, definitely not (compared to normal laptops, anyway).
    Would I buy one? Nope, I don’t have that kind of disposable money.
    Would I love to own one? You bet. This thing is unlike every other notebook out there.

  • Manuele De Lisio says:

    …And what happens if it runs out of battery? Will it unlock itself with the power of magic?

  • trs says:

    The previous adamo was just a mac copy but this version shows some unique and creative thinking. Congrats Dell, this looks pretty cool.

  • MJtheOne says:

    is the hinge reallly stiff? if not, then how can you adjust the screen to get your preferred viewing angle (seeing as the screen is essentially the rear ‘feet’ of the laptop?), without causing the whole body to shift when rest your hands on the keyboard?

  • Bokusatsu_Tenshi says:

    Yeah… looks hot from a design point, but just as the Macbook Air does nothing to me, Adamo also don’t.

    Very daring move from Dell to make a keyboard/screen redesign.
    The screen bevel is interesting… the weird mount could be better for ergonomics and ventilation, but I’d have to try to see if it’s practical.

    It’d be interesting to have a working tablet with different design ideas like that though.

  • Tj says:

    Hmm, seems they are trying to imitate Macs Air notebook and overall scheme, the silver finish, square black keys.. Im not impressed. It may be thin, but is seems to be large in circumference. I also don’t like the wide rounded border around the screen, seems trivial, but this is about design is it not? Interesting Ideas, though most not original, but it just carries a cheap quality to me.. Not to mention, you are sacrificing a lot of processing power to gain the thinness, also not a novel aspect, but is it worth it? Depends on your applications I guess. Having an external Disc reader would be little annoying at times, and more tedious than carrying a thicker laptop, which is also a downfall of the laptop they try so hard to imitate. This is anything but novel and exciting.

  • Steve says:

    So many different computers and notebooks released, but when I am asked to advise what is better, I do not know what to say. Because they are all the same!

    Each new computer is only a cover, inside rot. No matter how beautiful it was, they all work on the Windows. Why you seriously discussed that?

  • FLX says:

    When i first saw the PR shots i thought it was standing on its back. As is it s so unpractical in many ways and i have to say i hate the look when its opened. I was really excited bout it when i thought that the screen flips out the body in that way though so… reverse it, Dell and we re talking.

  • Fay says:

    I’m wondering how Apple will respond.

    • Diego Ibara says:

      I’m pretty sure apple will only have to do some small changes to their laptops to dominate this because this laptop only has 1.04 GHz and only 4gb ram and the macbook pro has 3.06GHz and up to 8GB ram

    • jdi says:

      there’s no need to respond when there’s no competition at all. I seriously doubt of the commercial success of this so called product.

  • jdi says:

    Complicated, useful and … awful.
    The keyboard does not improves ergonomics.
    Maybe it improves cooling but that speaks loud about the bad design. And yes its super thin, but its bigger than any notebook of its screen size.

  • dot-ru says:

    I do not like this keyboard, I think it will be very difficult to use

  • G Roediger says:

    Just got one from BBuy for less than $1100. LOVE it! Will go back to get their display model that they marked down to $800. Solid state drive on a mac? Go price that one! This thing is blazing fast. This will be my music maker when I install a Garage Band – type program. Sits fine on my lap. Sturdy as hell – like it has been chiseled out of a block of magneseum or something. Came with two batteries regular + long-life- how cool is that? The thing sips power with the solid state drive as is. Nothing like it on the planet and I can tell that pompous ass Steve Jobs to go jump in a lake.

  • XPS laptops are of very good configuration and also very thin laptop that you define what is the portability…
    looks is also good…Nothing stands in front of Dell XPS

  • XPS laptops are of very good configuration and also very thin laptop that you define what is the portability…
    looks is also good…Nothing stands in front of Dell XPS

  • Dell Xps…Awesome man..
    graphics card is very spedy and good to play games…

  • Dell Xps…Awesome man..
    graphics card is very spedy and good to play games…

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