Dell Reaches for Luxury with the Adamo

There are two things you have to understand about the new Adamo laptop from Dell. The first is that it is an attempt to define a class of relatively exclusive luxury laptops, and the second is that it is the kind of artistic effort that, strangely enough, doesn’t photograph well. Finished in brushed metal and glass, the notebook has to be touched and seen to be appreciated. Pictures just don’t do it justice. (Dell did come close with this pretty incredible video, though.)

That’s the shame about the lack of Dell stores: Most of you will never see one of these unless you know someone who has one, and if someone has one, they are likely to keep it very close. I’ve been using one of these for a couple of days now, and it really is impressive in an artistic way.

Dell Adamo

Dell Adamo

Dell Adamo PackagingPristine Packaging

When you first open the box, you’re surprised that is it is packaged like some watches, in a clear plastic case with rubber mounting. You release two catches on the bottom, and the case opens to reveal the pristine product. There are no protective covers to remove, or stickers on actual notebook. There aren’t even stickers on the box to say what is inside, or no crapware to deal with when the system boots up.

You know immediately this isn’t like the last laptop you purchased. It is something different.

Dell AdamoThe Feel of Substance

Laptop computers, particularly the very light ones, have an insubstantial feel to them, almost as if the vendor left out the good stuff. You don’t talk about feel, because you are focused on other things. The Adamo is the first apparently weighted and balanced notebook. While not light, the Adamo has a substantial feel to it that folks connect to luxury, like a Rolex. The Adamo explores the same concept. It weighs in at a little over four pounds, certainly still lighter than a true heavyweight, but substantially heavier than say, a MacBook Air, or Lenovo’s X301.

What you get, which is hard to describe, is a sense of sturdiness – the feeling that if you accidently sat on it the product, it wouldn’t break. It feels rich, which is one of those things that you’d have to experience to get the full impression of what Dell was trying to do by weighting and balancing this product.

Dell AdamoAll in the Materials

The Adamo has an external finish unlike any other. Created from black metal and glass, it truly looks like something that was created to go on a pedestal, not something you’d ever actually use. It sits on four rubber feet that blend into the case when carrying it, and you almost want to wear gloves to keep the fingerprints from becoming a problem. All that disturb the otherwise very clean lines are some small, artistically placed cooling ports on the back side, a set of USB and DisplayPort sockets, and a slit for the memory card on the side.

Glitter and Glass

Inside, the laptop is all brushed metal and glass as well. Even the touch pad has the brushed-metal finish. Once again, the impression is one of luxury, and you can’t help but notice the lack of stickers telling you what is inside the box.
The display is crystal clear, behind a glossy, edge-to-edge glass front. This does give a little glare, in exchange for building up the concept of exclusivity and luxury. Controls are simple, with a power switch and some media control switches on top of the keyboard. Nothing else to clutters or mars what is a simple and basic design.

Dell Adamo AccessoriesAccessories

Because this is more of a fashion statement than anything else, accessories are designed to enhance the experience. Right now you can get designer bags, a matching brushed metal power supply, and an external optical drive, with more coming. This is an offering that appears designed to be admired more than being used.

More Than the Sum of its Parts

This isn’t a product for everyone. It is for those few that like having things that feel luxurious, that are different, and that are, by any measure, special. While it functions fine as a laptop, the tendency is to care for it, much like you would an expensive watch or car, and not toss it around like you would any other laptop you’ve owned. This isn’t a laptop you use and trash when you’re done, it is one you’d likely keep and display even after the technology inside becomes obsolete, because this laptop is just drop dead beautiful. It is Adamo.

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