Ever since Apple first introduced its MacBook Air, consumers have been lusting after ultra-thin, ultra-light laptops that still pack a solid performance punch. While many manufacturers have come to challenge the Air, from Lenovo's X300 series to Voodoo's Envy 133, Apple's offering has maintained its dominance. As of today, that dominance will be challenged yet again.
Dell's Adamo will go on sale later today, with an expected shipping date of March 26. The Adamo (Adamo means "to fall in love with" in Latin) carries many of the high end features one would expect with an ultraportable of this caliber. The 13.4-inch, 720p display is made from "edge-to-edge" mineral glass, and the entire laptop chassis is machined from one piece of aluminum. For storage, SSD is the only option, with 128 GB being standard.
While good looks and speedy storage are all well and good, the rest of the insides are a bit of a letdown. For $1,999, the Adamo carries a 1.2 GHz Core 2 Duo U9300 processor with 2 GB of DDR3 memory. If you're willing to p[ay an additional $700, you'll get a processor bump up to 1.6 GHz, 4 GB of RAM, and a built-in 3G wireless card. Unfortunately, both models come with Intel's X4500, which leaves something to be desired on the graphics front. Sure, no one was expecting a GTX 260M, but there are several viable alternatives to the X4500. As for other amenities, the Adamo comes with a DisplayPort, with cables to connect to DVI, HDMI and VGA. North America buyers can also expect an exclusive Adamo Premium Service and the upper echelons of Dell's technical support.
In comparison, the $1,799 MacBook Air ships with a 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo as well as Nvidia's highly regarded 9400M graphics, giving it a solid advantage in both general processing and graphics muscle at a lower price point.
"Great design needs to be timeless and evoke emotion in people", said Alex Gruzen, Senior VP of Dell's consumer products division. "While a premium computing experience was assumed for Adamo, the intent was for people to see, touch and explore Adamo and be rewarded by the select materials and craftsmanship you would expect in a fine watch." Judging from the sentiments of Gruzer and the Adamo's insides, Dell undoubtedly put style before performance with this ultraportable.
One area where the Adamo beats the MacBook Air is thickness. While the Air has a maximum thickness of .75-inches, the Adamo maxes out at .65-inches. However, it should be noted that the Air comes up to .75-inches from .16-inches, whereas the Adamo is .65-inches throughout its body. The Adamo also comes in about one pound heavier than its veteran rival.
While the Adamo is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the ultraportable market, it's lackluster hardware may be an Achilles heel.