Dell celebrates Precision’s 20th anniversary with limited edition 5520 laptop

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Why it matters to you

The anniversary should be good news for Dell customers looking for their next workstation, and even more for those who loved the original Precision 5520 laptop.

Dell is now celebrating the 20th anniversary of the its Precision workstation brand with the launch of three new towers and a 2U rack. But that’s not all, as the company is also introducing a limited-edition Precision 5520 mobile workstation that will only be sold in a quantity of “a few thousand.” This special edition laptop will also have a custom shell, and limited hardware configurations. Dell is also finally making available its innovative Canvas interactive touchscreen input device that made its initial debut in early 2017.

Precision 5520 Anniversary Edition

Launched earlier this year, the Precision 5520 is promoted as the world’s thinnest, lightest, and smallest 15-inch workstation on the market. Typically, the laptop can be configured with sixth- and seventh-generation Intel Core processors, Xeon E3-1505M v6 and Xeon E3-1505M v5 processors, and Nvidia’s Quadro M1200 professional graphics chip. It also includes Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, up to 32GB of DDR4 system memory, and options for M.2 PCI Express-based SSD storage.

But with the new Precision 5520 Anniversary Edition, Dell is locking down on the configuration options. For this limited edition model there are only two processor options, one resolution option, and one battery option. Customers will be locked down to the M.2 storage options as well, meaning hard drives and standard SSDs, along with a second storage option, are not on the menu.

Outside the limited hardware configurations, Dell spruced up the exterior for this limited edition run. The top and bottom are based on anodized aluminum in a dark color Dell calls “abyss.” The chassis sports a brushed finish and an anti-smudge coating so that the laptop still looks pretty after intense fondling. A 20th anniversary logo is provided on the bottom badge, while special desktop wallpapers splash across the screen. The laptop will arrive in special Anniversary Edition packaging, too.

Here are the hardware specifications:

Screen size: 15.6 inches
Screen technology: IGZO, 10-point touch input
Screen resolution: 3840 x 2160
Color space supported: 100 percent Adobe RGB
Processor: Intel Core i7-7820HQ
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6
Graphics: Intel Pro Graphics 630 (integrated)
Nvidia Quadro M1200 (discrete)
System memory: Up to 32GB DDR4 @ 2,400MHz (two slots)
Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 PCI Express SSD
Audio: MaxxAudio Pro by Waves
Dual noise canceling digital array microphones
Connectivity: Intel dual band Wireless-AC 8265
Dell DW1820 Wireless AC
Bluetooth 4.2
Ports: 1x SD card reader
2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A with PowerShare
1x Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C)
1x HDMI
1x headphone/microphone combo jack
Camera: Light sensitive HD video webcam
Battery: Six-cell 97-watt-hour lithium ion polymer
Dimensions: 14.06 (W)  x 9.27 (D) x 0.45 to 0.66 (H) inches
Weight: ~ 3.93 pounds
Operating systems: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Ubuntu 16.04 SP1 (Linux)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3
Starting price: $1,995

Dell Canvas

First introduced in January during CES 2017, Dell expands on the tablet form factor to create a 27-inch touch-based workspace for designers, engineers, CAD operators, and more. It comes packed with a Dell Canvas Pen stylus for drawing and note-taking on screen, and a dial totem for easy settings adjustment so that both hands stay on the Canvas screen. According to Dell, this is a “do” surface.

That said, this is not a stand-alone device. Dell Canvas requires video input via HDMI or DisplayPort (three dedicated ports), and data input/output via a USB connection (three ports). Thankfully, the device packaging comes loaded with everything you need to get started: one Type-C to Type-C cable, one Type-C to Type-A cable, one Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable, one Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, and one Mini HDMI to HDMI cable.

According to Dell, if the parent PC features Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 with DisplayPort Type-C connectivity, the you can use the Type-C to Type-C cable without having to connect any other cables. But if the parent PC does not have Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 with DisplayPort support, then you’ll need separate video and data connections.

Here are the Dell Canvas specs:

Screen size: 27 inches with 20-point touch input
Screen technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
Screen resolution: 2560 x 1440
Work area size: 13.2 (H) x 23.5 (W) inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Color support: 1.07 billion colors
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 typical
Maximum brightness: 280 nits
Supported color space: 100 percent Adobe RGB
Input ports: 1x Mini HDMI
1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
1x DisplayPort Type-C
User ports: 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
1x Headphone jack
Power adapter: 130 watts
Other: Built-in pen holder (magnetic)
Built-in nibs holder
Price: $1,799

And here’s a bit more on the included peripherals:

Pen type: Electromagnetic resonance method
Pressure levels: 2,048
Pen tilt range: Up to 50 degrees from vertical
Up to 40 degrees from horizontal
Pen tilt recognition: ~ 0.2mm with zero-degree tilt
~0,4mm with 60-degree tilt
More pen features: Two programmable buttons
Two standard nibs
Two rubbery nibs
Two felt-type nibs
Programmable eraser
Totem: Dial-based, knob-based optional
Totem technology: Passive

Happy anniversary, Precision!

After all of that, Dell provided a few morsels of information regarding its Precision brand. The first Precision tower desktop PC launched in 1997 as the current celebration implies, and at the time it was state-of-the-art. Dell only sold 700 units in the first quarter of its availability, but by the second quarter, Dell sold an amazing 7,000 units. According to the company, the original Precision 400 desktop included a plug-in graphics card with 128MB of onboard memory (likely via the now defunct AGP port), and retailed for a massive $12,000. How about that for some trivia!