Dell Adamo Laptop Ill-Timed in Targeting Stylish Buyers

Notebook's fashionable thinness comes at too steep a price amid recession

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The Dell Adamo notebook

Flicking concerns about the economy aside, Dell is launching its high-end Dell Adamo laptop later this month for $2,000. The super-thin notebook is clearly more about style than value, a point driven home by its Italian-sounding name and a Website filled with chic models in moody photos.

The Adamo earns a claim to being the world's thinnest notebook, with the Apple MacBook Air a tenth of an inch thicker at its thickest point. Like the Air, the Adamo's frame is cut from a single piece of aluminum. While the Adamo can claim to be thinner in height, the MacBook Air is smaller in width and length.

Two grand, meanwhile, buys a surprisingly underpowered PC in the Adamo. Its 1.2 GHz chip and 2 GB of memory are low-end for a laptop that's not a netbook. The price does include a 128 GB solid-state drive. That makes it competitive with Apple's Air, which starts at $1,800 with a faster chip and a standard hard drive.

So it doesn't outclass the MacBook Air in performance or looks. But maybe it doesn't have to, as Dell can just hope to grab some image-conscious PC buyers. The company over the past year has introduced a number of better-looking PCs, including the small Studio Hybrid desktop with its rounded case and multi-color sleeves. The new notebook is apparently the first in a line of Adamo products.

Still, the timing is just wrong when value is king. Dell says the notebook was under development for years, suggesting it isn't merely an answer to last year's MacBook Air -- and that it wasn't intended to hit the street amid a deep recession. But it does.