24 hours with a Dell Mini 9 netbook (Updated)

As I mentioned in a blog post yesterday I took delivery of a Dell Inspiron 910 (a.k.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor on

As I mentioned in a blog post yesterday I took delivery of a Dell Inspiron 910 (a.k.a. the Mini 9) yesterday. After reading about netbooks for so long I decided to take the plunge. I have been using it exclusively for about 24 hours (no more heavy MBP for me!) and I'm pleasantly surprised so far. I eventually plan to install OS X on it but didn't bring my retail 10.5 DVD on the road with me - which is a required component.

Some initial impressions on the Mini 9:

  • The Mini 9 is perfect for bloggingm email and couch surfing, as expected. It's small, light and reasonably fast for most Internet use.
  • It's not intended for heavy lifting (i.e. Photoshop, Final Cut, et. al.), in fact the 16GB SSD formats down to is really only 14.3GB so you'll need to put your data on a diet.
  • I've been trying to install no software (except browsers, that is), doing everything in a browser tab instead.
  • The only exception so far has been Tweetdeck (and the requisite Adobe Air), because it's a superior to using Twitter.com.
  • My browser of choice (at least on XP) is Chrome. It and Google Gears make cloud computing a truly compelling experience.
  • The keyboard on the Mini 9 is decent, even for my big hands. The main letter keys are full-size but the period and comma keys (and some others) are about two-thirds the size of a regular key, which can be challenge if you have larger meat hooks.
  • The apostrophe key is moved down to the right of the space bar, which is a royal pain if you have a name like O'Grady. The dash/underscore key is also in a goofy location and currently driving me nuts.
  • Battery life is impressive although I haven't run it all the way out yet.
  • Some of the Mini 9's have a built-in EVDO card, but I'm not sure if mine does. I'm in south Florida for the weekend so I'm using my USB727 EVDO card from Verizon Wireless when I'm out and I connect it to a Cradlepoint EVDO router when I'm at my place.

So far, so good. Stay tuned for more. (In the meantime, here is ZDNet's review.) Got questions? Post them in the TalkBack below...

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