Dell Inspiron Mini 10: not so perfect after all

Dell recently released a new netbook that sits between the Dell Mini 9 and the Dell Mini 12. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 was created to be the "Perfect 10" netbook, and while Dell came close, it still doesn't get the cigar.

Dell recently released a new netbook that sits between the Dell Mini 9 and the Dell Mini 12. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 was created to be the "Perfect 10" netbook, and while Dell came close, it still doesn't get the cigar. At 2.6-pounds, the light-weight Mini 10 puts Dell into the 10-inch netbook area. But, it may be lacking in a few key places to make the netbook worth the money.

The Mini 10 has a starting price of $399 from Dell.com, and costs $449 as configured. It has a slim 1.6-GHz Atom Z530 processor, or you can get a 1.3-GHz Atom Z520 for $50 less. The 10-inch screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which gives it a clear picture. It offers seemingly high-definition video playback, and although it's not full HD, it would be hard to tell anyways on a 10-inch screen. The Mini 10 also has a HDMI out port. Wired says playback becomes choppy though when delivering video to large screens.

The largest and most common complaint I've read concerns the trackpad. The multitouch trackpad has the right and left mouse buttons on the touchpad itself, and while this saves space, it also makes it awkward to use. Wired said it was one of the worst they've seen. But, once you're used to using the multitouch, you may not mind it all. Similar to the new MacBooks, the trackpad has the usual zooming and scrolling of a multitouch.

Another problem is the minimal battery life. The three-cell battery only provides about two hours of power, whereas both the Asus Eee PC 1000HE and the Samsung NC10 are about the same price, and lasted over six hours.

That's not to say this isn't a good netbook, it just might not be the perfect solution everyone was waiting for. So, is the Mini 10 really worth the money? Laptop magazine says that Dell plans to offer upgrade options like integrated mobile broadband, GPS, and a built-in TV tuner, and Wired suggest you hold on to your money until Dell irons out the kinks. Plus, at the rate Dell is popping out netbooks, it might be best to wait for the next version.

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