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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dell Studio Hybrid PC

Dell Studio Hybrid PC Goes Green to Tangle With Mac Mini

The Dell Studio Hybrid doesn’t run on ethanol and D-cells, but it does consume about 70 percent less electricity than those hulking desktop towers. This über-cute little media-cruncher comes in your choice of rich automotive colors (or bamboo, for Pier 1-themed abodes), and you can swap colors on demand with interchangeable sleeves.

The Hybrid starts at $500, but by the time you trick it out with goodies like a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, Wireless-N adapter, Logitech’s diNovo Mini Keyboard (a must if you’re planning couch time), a digital TV tuner, and the bamboo sleeve (a $130 upgrade -- WTF?), the price rockets north of $1,300. Hybrids can serve desk duty or accent your living room: Even the base model comes stocked with HDMI port (DVI, too), so it’s a cinch to pair with HDTV. Blu-ray movies at 1920 x 1080 did just fine aside from a video stutter every time we adjusted the volume. Dell scores big points for style, power conservation and customization.

WIRED: Sips power, unlike those heinous watt-guzzling towers. Swappable color sleeves let you change the paint job to match your mood -- or paint job. Reports for media-center duty with HDMI port and slot-loading Blu-ray drive. Metal stand cleverly morphs between vertical and horizontal positions.

TIRED: Wussy integrated graphics choke on 3-D games. Looks rigged for silent running, but actually runs a little noisy. $130 bamboo sleeve will only appeal to aristocratic pandas.

$1,365 (as tested), Dell

7 out of 10