Holiday gift ideas: PCs and notebooks galore

Computers, notebooks and tablets are cool again – and netbooks, too

The October release of Windows 7 helped unleash a slew of new notebook and desktop systems upon the world, and the good reviews for the operating system helps ensure that this holiday season will see lots of people upgrading their older systems for new ones. Plus, the low price of netbooks means that people can get some computers without breaking the bank – always good in a recession. Here are some systems that we liked playing with over the past few months:

Dell Studio XPS 16 notebook


At work I use one of those industrial Dell notebooks that's as boring as can be (sorry, Latitude, but you're just a workhorse, nothing more). So discovering a Dell notebook that is cool and hip was quite a surprise.

It's hard to tell whether I was more excited about this notebook's features, or the fact it had Win 7 installed on it. Trying to separate the two can be difficult, but it's good to know that if you want a Win 7 on a great notebook, this is a good place to start.

Performance and style really do go together quite well with the Dell Studio XPS 16 notebook. New Intel Core i7 Mobile processors, 1080p HD support and a 15.6-inch display mix with leather accents, a backlit keyboard and sleek finish to make a system that's not only fun to use, but also fun to see and be seen with.

Other awesome features – up to 8GB of RAM, up to 500GB of hard drive space (or you can opt for a 128GB solid state drive), Blu-Ray slot-loaded drive, and 802.11n wireless capabilities. I used this system to test some of the PC games for the After Hours article, and it performed without a glitch.

My only complaint is a lack of USB ports – there's only two on the system. My tendency to use lots of USB gear (storage, mouse, keyboard, etc.) means that choices may need to be made (or just invest in a USB hub or docking station).

Cool Yule Rating: 5 stars

Price: Starts at $999

Product Web site.

Reviewed by Keith Shaw

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