Dell tries to shake off boring PC image

PC maker Dell is trying to tackle the boring image of mass-produced desktop computers as lacklustre black or beige boxes with a radical-looking new laptop range and ultra-thin notebook.

The company claims the new product range (see picture) marks the beginning of a new design-led focus for the company. "You're seeing Dell in a transformation - a different Dell," claims Joe Curley, director of marketing at the PC maker. "This is a vastly different Dell to Dell six months ago, three months ago or even last week."

It certainly wasn't your usual Dell product launch. Models paraded the bright new laptops down a catwalk, accompanied by thumping dance music. It's clear the company is trying to attract the fashion-conscious laptop buyer usually targeted by companies such as Apple and Sony. However, Dell couldn't quite shed its old look, with product managers appearing in regulation shirt and jeans shortly after the models, and describing the new line-up as "snazzy".

The new product launches include four desktops and two laptops under the relaunched Inspiron brand. The laptops will come in eight different colour casings, with options including "sunshine yellow", "bubblegum pink" and "espresso brown".

The laptops are priced from 549 inc VAT and include both AMD Turion 64 and Intel Core 2 Duo processor options. There's a choice of hard disks up to 250GB, optional Blu-ray drive and an integrated 2-megapixel webcam.

Dell has also launched what it claims is the world's thinnest 13in laptop. The XPS M1330 Ultramobile Notebook is just 0.9in thick and weighs less than four pounds. Priced from 729 inc VAT, it offers options for Nvidia GeForce Go 8400M GS graphics, HDMI support and a slot-loading DVD+/-RW drive.

It also includes a built-in Wi-Fi network indicator that means you don't have to switch your laptop on to find out whether you're in Wi-Fi range.

Barry Collins

Barry Collins is an experienced IT journalist who specialises in Windows, Mac, broadband and more. He's a former editor of PC Pro magazine, and has contributed to many national newspapers, magazines and websites in a career that has spanned over 20 years. You may have seen Barry as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten.