Dell hopes to take a little air out of Apple's sails with the Adamo. This upscale laptop packs a lot of tech into a stylish, ultrathin package. But, it's going to cost you. Our $1,999 model includes a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2GB 800MHz DDR3 dual-channel memory, 128GB solid state drive, and 13.4-inch 16:9 WLED display.
In a special partnership with iFixit, TechRepublic brings you this gallery of the cracking open process. iFixit is a one-stop-shop for the parts, tools, and step-by-step guides needed to repair iPods, iPhones, Macs, and almost any Apple product. Follow along as iFixit engineers disassemble the Dell Adamo and expose the tech inside.
Ladies and gentlemen, Adamo has left the box. Now we know why the the box was so large: the Adamo is encased in a "time-capsule" plastic casing, which in turn is protected during shipping via black plastic shipping caps.
We were kind of expecting a high pressure hiss and a dense fog to roll out as the container automatically opened itself. Didn't happen. There are two plastic tabs on the bottom of the case that had to be pushed quite firmly in order to release the Adamo from its clear sarcophagus. Lenin would be jealous.
The Adamo and the accessories. All our accessories were black, matching nicely with our "onyx" Adamo. We assume (given the price tag) your accessories will be white if you purchase the "pearl" version.
The right side of the Adamo houses a SIM card slot and an audio out/headphone jack.
You get a total of six ports with your Adamo, double that of the MacBook Air. It's a shame that they couldn't just put a DVI display port on the computer itself, and instead chose to include a bulky adapter.
Unlike the Air, there are no visible screws on the bottom of the Adamo. However, the gaps between case bottom and frame are significantly larger than the Air's.
Getting inside may require some ingenuity...
The Adamo uses a very slick locking system to hold the bottom panel in place.
The locking system utilizes three tracks of pins that span the inner left, right, and front edges of the computer. The pins lock into slots machined into the bottom panel, creating a very tight and secure connection.
The Adamo and Air with bottom panels removed. The MacBook Air we're using in this guide is the original model (released over a year ago). Despite it's age, the Air still packs a 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 33-percent faster than our Adamo's 1.2 GHz processor. To its credit, the high-end Adamo does include 4 GB of built-in RAM, double that of the Air. Dell labels a lot more parts than Apple. This definitely makes our job easier, even though it's not quite as photogenic.
The 11.1 V battery is rated at 40 Watt hours, an improvement over the MacBook Air's 7.2 V, 37 Watt hour battery. (Dell's manual says 12.6 V, but we trust the battery more than their writers.) The Adamo's advertised operating time is 5 hours, outliving Apple's claims for the MacBook Air by 30 minutes. According to the manual, the battery weighs in at 489 grams. That's 27% of the Adamo's weight. In comparison, the MacBook Air's battery weighs in at 287 grams, only 21% of the Air's total weight.
The drive transmits data through a normal SATA connector. Impressively, the specs listed on the drive indicate a maximum power consumption of only 1.05 watts and an operating shock of 1500G! The solid state drive's thickest point is the 4mm SATA connector. The rest of the drive is a scant 2.9 mm.
The missing spot in the middle is for a WWAN WiMax 5530 HSPA Mini Card for AT&T. Even though our machine came without the card, it could be easily added in the future. The antennas are routed to the slot and ready to go!
The hinge on the Adamo feels solid, but time will tell how well the hinge design holds up. Hinge problems have plagued a number of MacBook Air owners.
Getting the display assembly off requires the removal of 14 screws:
* Eight Phillips on top, four on each hinge (shown here).
* Four Phillips on the bottom, two on each side.
* Two small Phillips on top, one on each side.
Removing the antenna cables from the display assembly
The display assembly is now unscrewed, but it's not entirely free yet.
A bundle of antenna cables needs to be derouted from the top case. It'll be interesting the see Adamo's wireless range and performance. It's challenging to have good wireless reception with an all-metal computer.
After lifting the clutch cover off, there's plenty of room to thread the display cables through the top case and remove the display assembly.
The display uses a LED backlight, so no inverter is necessary. As shown on this step, the display data cable is on the left, and the camera data cable is on the right.
Free at last!
It's a beautiful display, except for the mass of antenna wires. It would definitely be a prettier picture if we got out the scissors.
This display has a resolution of 1366x768. That's slightly different than the 1280x800 resolution on the MacBook Air. You'll get an extra 26,624 pixels if you choose the Adamo.
The manual lists the display's maximum power consumption as only 3.6 watts!
Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...