Friday, March 27, 2009

The Adamo Arrives

Earlier in the year I wrote a blogpost where I bemoaned my laptop-less existence and did a little drooling over one of the blurry publicity photos of the Adamo.

Well, the Adamo has arrived, and you can order, or at the very least get the full specs list and non-blurry photos.

As many other reviews have noted the Adamo bears a strong resemblance to HP's Voodoo Envy 133 PC, and in my opinion the Voodoo Envy looks more atractive. Yes, it's .16 of an inch thicker, and I bet the glossy body becomes saturated with fingerprints more quickly, but while both have a similar boxy design, the Voodoo doesn't have the same laptop-butt sticking out behind the screen.

At the very least no one can excuse the Adamo of being a Macbook Air clone (though I'm sure Apple must have some pretty draconian lawyers protecting their design). As I mentioned previously the Adamo is technically slimmer than the Air, or at least it's slimmer than the Air at the Air's thickest point. However the Air tapers down to .16 inches.

The Adamo's real opportunity to shine should have been the hardware, but its guts are even more anemic than either the Voodoo or the Air. The baseline model features a 1.2 Ghz Core Duo processor. That's right, not 2.2 Ghz, 1.2. The Air's base model features a 1.6 Ghz Core Duo processor. Yes, the Adamo is the new generation of Centrino processors, but that isn't really going to give it a boost in speed so much as energy efficiency, and even that probably won't be more than a 20 minute difference in battery life. 1.2 Ghz Core Duo might be a decent upgrade to the Atom processors currently used for netbooks, but netbooks tend to run on Linux, XP basic, or some other stripped down operating system. Anyone expecting to run Vista Premium on their new Adamo better be prepared for some loooonnnnngggg load times.

No where on the website was I able to find information about the graphics card, but as with most laptops it's bound to be integrated, so the only question is whether it uses Intel's pathetic GMA 950 series, or the Geforce series that's currently in all of Apple's consumer notebooks. The Adamo does have the option of an external Blu-Ray drive, but that seems to be targeted at those who simply must have the most expensive gadgetry. The native resolution of the Adamo screen is less than 1080p and the external drive costs $350, which could buy you a PS3 with integrated Blu-ray player. And this information may be buried somewhere, but the Adamo seems to lack an S-Video or HDMI port so the Blu-Ray player would be exclusive to your Adamo's 13 inch screen. Not cool.

One interesting decision Dell has made with the Adamo is that even the base model utilizes a Solid State Drive. Of course this makes the base model of the Adamo about $200 more expensive, but that's still a pretty good deal. It's certainly better than the 4200 speed hard used in the base models of the Voodoo and Air. The high-end model also offers 3G (Mobile Broadband), but otherwise it's hard to tell what your extra $700 is buying you. Certainly an extra .2 Ghz on the processor, 3G, and 4 rather than 2GB of RAM hardly seems worth it. For the same price you could get a nearly fully loaded Sager NP8662 with better than 1080p resolution, a built-in Blu-Ray drive, a bigger SSD, and a pretty fast dedicated graphics card. Of course the NP's battery life is probably about an hour and a half and it weighs triple as much, but the comparative "bang for your buck" is mind-boggling.

On the whole the Adamo seems roughly comparable, and perhaps with the exception of the base model's SSD, a little lower-spec than the Air. O.J. says, if you're so concerned with portability wait for the dual core Atom processor to find its way into netbooks and save yourself $1500 (at least). And if you're in it purely to make everyone around you jealous, and/or if you have a surplus of money and a deficit of taste why not just get yourself a Gold-plated Macbook Air?

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