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Dell unveils heavier, more expensive MacBook Air rival

post #1 of 83
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Dell on Tuesday took aim at Apple's high-end portable computing dominance with a new design-focused Adamo notebook, but the PC maker is already facing questions about the machine's viability in a slumping economy.

The Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker has been teasing the public for months, and has now finally taken the wraps off the the notebook and begun accepting preorders for shipments due next week. At a weight of four pounds, it's a pound heavier than the MacBook Air.

The LED-backlit 13.4-inch, 16:9 HD-screened notebook is being touted as the thinnest in the world. Dell claims the new Adamo brand was "inspired by fashion, luxury brands and timeless design" to "challenge people's perceptions of what a computer is." For $1,999 customers get an ultra-low voltage 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo with integrated Intel graphics, 2GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. Dell refers to this option as "ADMIRE" on the website.

A higher-end model dubbed "DESIRE" is priced at $2,699. The speed increases to 1.4GHz, memory is doubled to 4GB, and a 3G modem is included. All machines have Ethernet, DisplayPort, and three USB connectors along with a claimed battery life of five hours and a MacBook Pro-style backlit keyboard. (One USB port is also a combo eSATA port.) The Adamo runs 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium Edition SP1.

"Style-minded people who place a premium on precision craftsmanship and design can now add Adamo to their list of must-have items for 2009," Dell says.



The company is also being careful to avoid the Intel and Microsoft stickers typically found on most Windows-based notebooks. The stickers are gone from the top case, moved to the bottom with monochrome-printed logos, and the Crave blog at CNET News reports the Adamo's magnetic coverplate is intended to hide Microsoft-required certification on the bottom.



"We are definitely trying to shift the perception of Dell to one of fashion and style," said director of consumer marketing John New. "But we're not going to do a piece of jewelry just to do one. We're focusing on the fashion instead of the IT [information technology]. We want the user to be presented with this and feel special about what they're getting."

Dell offers "optional luxury packages", such as a Jet-Setter bundle that adds a DVD burner, Tumi case, Microsoft Office Home and a year of premium service for $389. The Entrepreneur bundle ($339) removes the burner and Tumi case for a 250GB external hard drive. An external Blu-ray drive and 500GB external hard drive are also available. Like the MacBook Air, the notebook has no built-in optical drive, and the internal battery can only be replaced by sending the machine to a depot for an unspecified period, according to Macworld UK.



Dell claims the Adamo is the first product under a new brand, also called Adamo. While this machine hasn't been given an official name, a Dell support document dug up by Engadget refers to an "Adamo 13" and "Adamo 9", hinting a nine-inch version is on the way soon. Orders placed on the website currently are for the "Adamo Thirteen."

While Dell is pushing its 0.65-inch thinnest point, the title of "thinnest notebook" is likely to be subjective to each buyer, as the Adamo does not share the tapered design of the MacBook Air that Apple says ranges from 0.16- to 0.76-inch. Dell's latest offering conceals a webcam behind an edge-to-edge glass display. Also like the MacBook Air, it's made from a single piece of aluminum. The device packs 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth. Customers can choose between black ("onyx") or white ("pearl").



"Great design needs to be timeless and evoke emotion in people," said Dell senior vice president of consumer products Alex Gruzen. "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."

The unboxing experience has also taken a cue from Apple. Dell refers to "artful packaging" in which the "product arrives 'floating' in a clear box with minimal clutter."



Interestingly, Dell also provided comments from analyst (and previously an undisclosed paid Dell consultant) Rob Enderle, who praised the machine as a "showcase" of Dell's design and "a flagship product that will draw buyers to the brand."



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Dell's campaign uses a "fall in love" motif, given that the word "Adamo" means just that. Visitors to the website, Adamo by Dell, are first greeted with artfully posed models sliding across the screen before the viewer is invited to "prepare to fall in love." The site is divided into four sections: Encounter, Discover, Admire, and Commit. It's clear that Dell is seeking to change its image as a budget PC maker, but the timing could be problematic.

Crave: "[The price tag] seems entirely out of touch with the current economic reality. Debuting a $1,999 Windows PC right now is questionable at best, but make no mistake: whether Dell actually sells a lot of these makes little difference to the comapny, even if it won't say that publicly...it's a statement about how Dell wants to be perceived from now on."

Engadget: "It looks like you're spending the majority of that cash on high-end design flourishes like a magnetic cover that hides the Microsoft-required Windows authenticity sticker. Hopefully this thing will be joined by some higher-powered siblings when it arrives...keep your fingers crossed."

AP: "The leap Dell is asking consumers to make from its core brand would be a risk in any economy, let alone the worst recession of the personal-computer age. [An analyst said] the PC maker may have a hard time gaining credibility for a high-end product that still carries the budget-friendly Dell name. He compared the move to Mariott's decision to keep its name away from its Ritz-Carlton hotels, or Toyota's choice to launch Lexus as a separate brand."

ZDNet: "Adamo arrives as netbooks are the fastest growing portion of the PC market -- because they are cheap. Check Dell's Adamo site out. Holy Vogue Batman. It's all so 2006 and 2007, maybe first half of 2008 before everything unraveled. The irony: Dell's fashion statement comes as high end retailers like Nordstrom are pitching value. Something is amiss here. But let's give credit where it's due. Dell is good at design now and Adamo proves it."

According to Reuters, shares of DELL have fallen 13 percent since the start of the year, while AAPL has seen a jump of 12 percent. Dell is outperforming HP's stock, however, which has slid 20 percent since New Year's Day.

Specifications
Intel Core 2 Duo processors with Intel Centrino technologyDDR3 system memory13.4-inch 16:9 HD displayDraft-Wireless NHigh-performance solid state drives standardBluetooth 2.1
post #2 of 83
Somehow thinner didn't make the headline, huh?
post #3 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sausage&Onion View Post

Somehow thinner didn't make the headline, huh?


It doesn't look thinner to me, and it also looks bigger, and weighs more, it's slower and people want to complain about Apple's prices.
post #4 of 83
Well I dont understand how Dell could call that the world thinnest notebook? All Apple have to do now is get its thickest end as thick as Dell Adamo and Dell cannot use their "world thinnest" definition anymore.

And who the heck going to pay $2k+ for Dell, and you are paying for looks. Seriously, Dell? The company whos known for selling value for money and on par quality. Nutz.

I agree with some other analyst that they should scrap the Dell name if they want to charge premium. People dont really complain bout Apple prices these days cause they offer quality products and heck, Apple so far never release a budget notebook, not like Dell....
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post #5 of 83
Am I the only one who doesn't think the Adamo looks very stylish? That it's basically just a high-end ThinkPad design from 5 years ago? I feel like I'm in crazy-land with quotes like "Dell is good at design now and Adamo proves it." Where are the curves? The hiding of hinges?

I do like the eSATA port and the Blu-Ray option, but I just don't get the design.
post #6 of 83
It has ports- what were they thinking?
post #7 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Am I the only one who doesn't think the Adamo looks very stylish? That it's basically just a high-end ThinkPad design from 5 years ago? I feel like I'm in crazy-land with quotes like "Dell is good at design now and Adamo proves it." Where are the curves? The hiding of hinges?

I do like the eSATA port and the Blu-Ray option, but I just don't get the design.

It looks hideous especially the thing sticking out it's back, WTF is that?
post #8 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It has ports- what were they thinking?

Yeah it's also slower, more expensive, heavier, what were they thinking?
post #9 of 83
Who will be the first to get OS X running on it?

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post #10 of 83
at the end of the day, it has a 10/100 card. No lugging around parts to get you on the net to read this if you are using a MacBook Air.
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post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adjei View Post

It doesn't look thinner to me, and it also looks bigger, and weighs more, it's slower and people want to complain about Apple's prices.

Regardless of how it looks, it is now the thinnest notebook alive, or some such nonesense. .65" thick.
post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

at the end of the day, it has a 10/100 card. No lugging around parts to get you on the net to read this if you are using a MacBook Air.

I think you are missing the point somewhat
post #13 of 83
Well, people complain how expensive Apple prices are. I guess Dell thinks wants to be party of that crowd. From a design standpoint, it's actually an interesting machine. I believe it to be a bit heavy for the market it is trying to join. The intel graphics is just unacceptable not just for the price of this laptop but for the anemic performance it provides especially compared to it's close competitor, the nVidia-powered MBA.

I do believe Dell is trying to make more of a statement than trying to sell this to the masses. And as expected, integrated batteries seem to be becoming the norm of notebooks.

Even though I think it to be too expensive considering what one gets, I welcome more players to the market that at the minimum, will start paying more attention to design and (especially for Dell), get away from the horrible looking machines of the past.

I'm not a fan of the clear plastic packaging though. It screams "steal me" for one, and from an environmental standpoint, it's more of a waste considering for most people, it will be used only once.

Good luck!
post #14 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleinsider View Post

"style-minded people who place a premium on precision craftsmanship and design can now add adamo to their list of must-have items for 2009," dell says.

hahahahahahahaha
post #15 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

at the end of the day, it has a 10/100 card. No lugging around parts to get you on the net to read this if you are using a MacBook Air.

Umm...Wifi? I can't remember the last time I plugged in a computer to use the internet.

In regards to the design, its better than the typical Dell, but that's not saying much. It is also nice to see someone using metal instead of plastic with a metallic finish or paint. That being said, it already looks dated, and I don't think I need to say that it will look terrible once it gets turned on and you get a windows start up screen.

On the plus side, Windows users no longer have a leg to stand on in the "aple tax" argument. This thing makes the Air look like a value.
post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

at the end of the day, it has a 10/100 card. No lugging around parts to get you on the net to read this if you are using a MacBook Air.

Yes because that extra few ounces of the USB dongle is back breaking to "lug around".



As to the Adamo, I'm curious how the slower Centrino fairs vs the CPU in the Air. I hate to admit, I'm completely enamored by the packaging, but then again, iPods have been getting similar for at least a generation.
post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

at the end of the day, it has a 10/100 card. No lugging around parts to get you on the net to read this if you are using a MacBook Air.

Right because ethernet is the only medium used to get on the net in 2009.
post #18 of 83
That plastic case they put it in is really too much. It's almost like an over-the-top display case, but then they put that inside a box anyway. WTF? Do they expect people to carry it around in that?

It's reminiscent of the cases for iPod nanos, but they are meant to evoke jewellery cases whereas this thing is no wrist watch or necklace. It's a gigantic four pound "jewel" with weighty accessories. You can see the strain in the models arms as she tries to make it seem effortless when she removes this brick from it's box.

Also, some of the language used in the video is just ridiculous.

"... with this ultra-thin portable aphrodisiac at your side, lack of attention won't be the problem.(?)"

I know Apple gets ribbed for some of it's flowery prose, but at least they stick (loosely) to known facts and features. "Portable aphrodisiac?" Really? It's so good the ladies will whip off their panties when you pull out your computer? Or get you so horny you'll just want to have sex all the time, possibly with the computer itself?

WTF??
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post #19 of 83
show me the SSD option of the air that's cheaper than the adamo.

while it is more expensive then the base model air, it has an ethernet port, esata port, more usb ports, and ssd.
it also has the ability to add 3g via a user accesable sim car port.

while I prefer the look of the air, and feel weight is the most important part of the puzzle, this questionably written article ignores important facts to keep it's apple bias.

Why not look at this as Dells attempt to compete with the air, by adding options the air doesn't have, and wonder what apples response will be, instead of totally disregarding it because it's Dell. Will apple now make SSD standard, will they add a sim card slot, squeeze another usb port in there?

Another thing this announcement brings is an opportunity to silence critics of saying the apple products are always overpriced. Obviously even budget dell struggled to produce that package without sacrificing their normal budget business plans. Look at their all-in-one that competes with the iMac, they have a 22 inch model in the pipeline, and a cost comparison of that and this new notebook would be very interesting and great fuel to the mac is more expensive fire. But just laughing at how expensive they are making it in this economy is exteremely hypocritical coming from a site dedicated to apple products/
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by italiankid View Post

at the end of the day, it has a 10/100 card. No lugging around parts to get you on the net to read this if you are using a MacBook Air.

The point of these notebooks is for true mobility. Wireless is everywhere in cities now. I purchased a 10/100 USB-Ethernet for my MBA and have used it only a handful of times. Wireless works perfectly for me as I'm sure it will be for others that buy this particular machine. I don't miss it at all. It's one less thing to break and I do not like having cables connected to my laptop. It misses the point.
post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sausage&Onion View Post

Regardless of how it looks, it is now the thinnest notebook alive, or some such nonesense. .65" thick.


It also looks much bigger than the Air and to my eyes doesn't look thinner:

http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-3121_7-...tag=mncol;thum
post #22 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

That plastic case they put it in is really too much. It's almost like an over-the-top display case, but then they put that inside a box anyway. WTF? Do they expect people to carry it around in that?

It's reminiscent of the cases for iPod nanos, but they are meant to evoke jewellery cases whereas this thing is no wrist watch or necklace. It's a gigantic four pound "jewel" with weighty accessories. You can see the strain in the models arms as she tries to make it seem effortless when she removes this brick from it's box.

Also, some of the language used in the video is just ridiculous.

"... with this ultra-thin portable aphrodisiac at your side, lack of attention won't be the problem.(?)"

I know Apple gets ribbed for some of it's flowery prose, but at least they stick (loosely) to known facts and features. "Portable aphrodisiac?" Really? It's so good the ladies will whip off their panties when you pull out your computer? Or get you so horny you'll just want to have sex all the time, possibly with the computer itself?

WTF??



HAH! I missed that. Seriously, I've been suckered in by some interesting stuff, but I can say with all honesty I've never been seduced by someone's computer.





Well, there was this one girl, she had a tricked out MacPro, but that is a story for an entirely different thread.
post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post

show me the SSD option of the air that's cheaper than the adamo.

while it is more expensive then the base model air, it has an ethernet port, esata port, more usb ports, and ssd.
it also has the ability to add 3g via a user accesable sim car port.

while I prefer the look of the air, and feel weight is the most important part of the puzzle, this questionably written article ignores important facts to keep it's apple bias.

Why not look at this as Dells attempt to compete with the air, by adding options the air doesn't have, and wonder what apples response will be, instead of totally disregarding it because it's Dell. Will apple now make SSD standard, will they add a sim card slot, squeeze another usb port in there?

Also quoting a review that states that it's overpriced in this economy, but then ignoring those points in the apple desktop upgrade a few weeks ago is also questionable. This site is becoming more and more like fox news, or cnn with it's bias.

Last time I checked 1799 is less than 1999, who cares about the SSD, why didn't you mention that the Air is also faster?
post #24 of 83
let's be fair, it's not a bad design, and the specs aren't terrible, but it's no MacBook Air killer, also most people don't buy Macbook Airs they buy Macbooks, except for a niche Market it's a statement.

I'll stick to my 13" unibody MacBook.
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post #25 of 83
Great timing on an uber-expensive "stylish" laptop. Regardless of how it looks it still uses Windows. I think Dell should shut down and give the money back to the shareholders. Do it now before we have to bail them out.
post #26 of 83
It's an executive computer. So is the Macbook Air, really, but this will appeal to many more businesses.
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadisawesome View Post

show me the SSD option of the air that's cheaper than the adamo.

while it is more expensive then the base model air, it has an ethernet port, esata port, more usb ports, and ssd.
it also has the ability to add 3g via a user accesable sim car port.

while I prefer the look of the air, and feel weight is the most important part of the puzzle, this questionably written article ignores important facts to keep it's apple bias.

Why not look at this as Dells attempt to compete with the air, by adding options the air doesn't have, and wonder what apples response will be, instead of totally disregarding it because it's Dell. Will apple now make SSD standard, will they add a sim card slot, squeeze another usb port in there?

Also quoting a review that states that it's overpriced in this economy, but then ignoring those points in the apple desktop upgrade a few weeks ago is also questionable. This site is becoming more and more like fox news, or cnn with it's bias.

I agree with you. But one thing IMHO that is not being taken into consideration is what you get for the money. In this case, a Windows machine or OSX. The OS is important to many people and something important to consider than just the sum of its parts. There is a cost associated with that. I like the Dell design but am not a Windows fan (I am a Win2k3 sysAdmin). I won't get into the never ending debate between the two. It is just an important thing to consider as well.
post #28 of 83
This is how Dell can claim it is the thinnest notebook ever (from the article):

"While Dell is pushing its 0.65-inch thinnest point, the title of "thinnest notebook" is likely to be subjective to each buyer, as the Adamo does not share the tapered design of the MacBook Air that Apple says ranges from 0.16- to 0.76-inch."

Seems very disingenuous to me.
post #29 of 83
Wow... what a total freckin' let-down this thing is. Scratch that, it is a gimmick. The 'thinnest notebook ever' title doesn't mean anything when it is an ugly block, and its ass is way too big. And I don't find the thing attractive at all.

What gets the biggest laugh out of me is the marketing effort. They're targeting self-absorbed style and appearance mongers in a world where Apple is perhaps the only company that knows how to do that properly. The catch? That's now how to sell this computer. Apple designed the Air to be portable and lightweight. Dell missed the mark somewhat here, and they certainly missed the idea, but they didn't miss the price.
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post #30 of 83
Also, this thing is very underpowered and costs more than a MacBook Air.

From the article:

"For $1,999 customers get an ultra-low voltage 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo with integrated Intel graphics, 2GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD."


From Apple's website (MacBook Air specs):

1.6GHz or 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB on-chip shared L2 cache running 1:1 with processor speed

1066MHz frontside bus

2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM onboard
post #31 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCDinOC View Post

I think Dell should shut down and give the money back to the shareholders.

HAHA nice.

I think the computer looks pretty good (design-wise) and I like the standard SSD. That said, it's still a Windows laptop and it's overpriced.

What I want to know is - where is all the OUTRAGE over integrated battery and external disc drive??? You mean Apple was ahead of the curve AGAIN?
post #32 of 83
It's a step forward for Dell, but they have a long way to go. It reminds me of the Lexus/Infiniti brands right when they came out in the late 80's.
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post #33 of 83
Quote:
What I want to know is - where is all the OUTRAGE over integrated battery and external disc drive??? You mean Apple was ahead of the curve AGAIN?

Hmm....good point, when the MBA feature external disc drive, everyone flames Apple and Windows Trolls take advantage to flame Apple too, but so far I dont hear the same whining w/ Adamo.
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post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post

It's a step forward for Dell, but they have a long way to go. It reminds me of the Lexus/Infiniti brands right when they came out in the late 80's.

agreed
post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

It's an executive computer. So is the Macbook Air, really, but this will appeal to many more businesses.

I wonder what the business discount is on this thing. They may be banking on the idea that for many companies that have special Dell deals, the execs will be asikng the IT department for one. It is probably easier to get a hold of than an Air, and from an IT standpoint of having all your computers using the same OS, is easier too. (Unless of course, the company is all Apple.) And yes, I am aware of Bootcamp / Virtualization. IT will still have to trouble shoot OS X on the Air for the execs.

Too much focus on thin, style, and appearance. Dell, Apple, HP, Microsoft... come on guys, stop the looks thing and work on your stability and substance! That's where the innovation is! (And I REALLY hope SL is all its cracked up to be.)
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post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adjei View Post

Last time I checked 1799 is less than 1999, who cares about the SSD, why didn't you mention that the Air is also faster?

who cares about SSD? apparently a lot of people, read any review of the macbook air and it's unanimous that the SSD makes for a speedier system... and who cares about this and that is irrelevant. when putting a comparison together you have to make the machines as comparable as possible before making that comparison, the only way to do that is to add SSD to the air.

I'm not saying that it's a better value, I would pay the extra amount to have OSX, and I have paid extra in every machine I have just for OSX, but to say that it's more expensive is just flat out wrong.
post #37 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splinemodel;1391424...

...It reminds me of the Lexus/Infiniti brands right when they came out in the late 80's.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

...I purchased a 10/100 USB-Ethernet for my MBA and have used it only a handful of times. Wireless works perfectly for me as I'm sure it will be for others that buy this particular machine. I don't miss it at all. It's one less thing to break and I do not like having cables connected to my laptop...

i'll second that gladly. however, i still wish they could squeeze in another USB at least. it's a PIB to work with an external HD and the superdrive (which does not take hubs gladly)...
post #38 of 83
At first I thought I wandered onto a PC discussion thread where Windows users criticize any and all Mac products.

Let's give credit where it's due. This thing isn't going to drive Mac users to Dell, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

It has a lot going for it. Aluminum and black and thin. The price competition will be helpful to keep Apple on the true and level. Competition for design is always a great thing. We should applaud any and all efforts to beautify the world.

And we should stop sounding like PC users who crap on everything Apple.
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sausage&Onion View Post

Regardless of how it looks, it is now the thinnest notebook alive, or some such nonesense. .65" thick.

Thinnest by maximum thickness... not by average thickness. Average thickness (which Apple doesn't tout) makes the Air really thin--it matters in your hand and in your bag too. If my Air didn't taper it would have the same size "on paper" (maximum thickness) but would be far bulkier. Especially since the Air doesn't just taper to the front, but to the sides and back too. Remove any one of those tapers and you add bulk.
post #40 of 83
ok wow... this is definitely a wtf dell...
so.... its alot slower.... only has horrible integrated graphics.... design looks dated... charging even more then apple does for the mba...
what happened to your cheap laptops? you should stick with them... and leave this part of the market to apple and do what you do best.
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