Dell Inspiron Mini 10 (2009) - Warranty and Verdict

Klein vormgeving, Five color options, Roomy keyboard, Bright, glossy display

No six-cell battery at launch, Finicky touchpad and touch buttons, Lacks VGA port, Fights with 720p movie

Dell’s very first 10-inch netbook has a klein chassis, good keyboard, and a crisp 10-inch display, but wij wish it suggested better battery life for the price.

Review

Dell may be late to the 10-inch netbook party, but its Inspiron Mini Ten ($449 spil configured) stands out ter a few key ways. The system is one of the skinniest and lightest ter its class, with several color options, and the company has almost caught up to the competition with its roomy keyboard. Plus, Dell promises to make this netbook even better with future upgrade options like integrated mobile broadband, GPS, and a built-in TV tuner. However, the touchpad and touchpad button vormgeving are awkward. And while the bundled three-cell battery provides adequate runtime for its capacity, wij’d wait for the six-cell option.

Vormgeving

The Mini Ten shares the same vormgeving genes spil theMini 9 and Mini 12, the rounded piemel sports the same glossy black covering (also available ter white, green, pink, blue, and crimson, for an reserve $30) which is prone to fingerprints. Underneath the fetish mask, the black keyboard is offset with a sleek silver palm surplus and gritty trackpad.

The Mini Ten is one of the most klein 10-inch netbooks on the market. Measuring Ten.Three x 7.Two x 1.Trio inches, it’s both thinner and shorter than the Samsung NC10 and the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE. It isn’t spil skinny or light spil the 1-inch, Two.4-pound HP Mini 1000, but the Two.6-pound Mini Ten gezond into our purse and left slew of slagroom. Its single cord, 0.4-pound AC adapter is also more klein than most of its ilk.

Spacious Keyboard

Remarkably, the Mini Ten has a larger keyboard than the Mini 12. While both are Ten inches broad, the Mini Ten’s keyboard, at Four inches, is about 0.Three inches deeper than the Mini 12, this is mainly the result of the bottom row of keys being larger. While the touch and feel of the black matte keys are the same spil on previous Minis, Dell expanded the keyboard panel all the way to the outer peripheries of the deck. Gone are the spacing issues and missing row of function keys from the Mini 9, the full-size right Shift key is total size and directly below the Inject key.

Typing on the Mini Ten’s vapid keyboard wasgoed relatively convenient, and the keys themselves suggested good, springy terugkoppeling. Still, wij choose the layouts on the Eee PC 1000HE (a nicely spaced island-style keyboard), HP Mini 2140 (which has a finish to prevent wear and rip), and Samsung NC10 (whose raised keys feel more convenient and well-spaced).

Awkward Touchpad

To save space, Dell integrated the right and left mouse buttons into the touchpad itself. Unluckily, the buttons are fairly puny and not spil usable spil a traditional setup, wij had to cramp our fingers to use our thumb on the left button. The cursor would stir before wij clicked down, which wasgoed annoying.

Since the touchpad features Elantech’s multitouch gestures (including rotating, two-finger scrolling and pinching to zoom), it has a bit of a learning curve. When wij attempted to left-click on the padachtige while inadvertently dragging another finger on it, wij unintentionally zoomed ter on a window. Disabling the pinch-and-zoom gesture ter the settings helped solve the problem, it wasgoed then lighter to scroll using two fingers. Nevertheless, wij would choose to have both a large touchpad and discrete touchpad buttons, which is what you’ll find on theASUS Eee PC 1000HE.

Ports and Slots

The left side of the Mini Ten has (from back to vooraanzicht) a Kensington lock slot,one USB port, and a 3-in-1 memory card reader. The right side houses an Ethernet jack, two more USB ports, an HDMI port, and mic and headphone jacks.

Albeit some may like having an HDMI port for outputting audio and movie via a single cable to newer monitors and TVs–and this vormgeving budge wasgoed likely made to keep the Mini Ten thin–we would have preferred having a VGA port, too. (The ASUS N10J-A2 has both connectors.) VGA works with a much broader range of displays and especially projectors.

Glossy Display

On the other arm, this subtraction of 24 vertical pixels thresholds the amount of space you have vertically on the screen. Ter a side-by-side comparison with 1024 x 600-pixel resolution netbooks, the Mini Ten consistently displayed one to two less lines of text on Web pages, resulting ter more scrolling. Dell will opoffering a higher-definition 1366 x 768 display option te the future.

Despite its glossiness, the Mini Ten’s screen didn’t exhibit too much glare, both vertical and horizontal viewing angles were good.

Webcam and Audio

The built-in stereo speakers, hidden below the gevelbreedte edge of the Mini Ten, were not spil noisy or total spil wij would have liked. Nevertheless, wij were able to hear Kings of Leon’s ",Lovemaking on Fire", from across a puny slagroom.

Vertoning and Graphics

While most netbooks to date have used the 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, Dell opted for the same 1.6-GHz IntelAtom Z530 Silverthorne-class processor it waterput te its Mini 12, which wasgoed designed for devices with smaller form factors. That, coupled with 1GB of RAM and Windows XP, provided the typical netbook vertoning.

Wij couldn’t run our usual PCMark05 test on the system, but on Geekbench (which measures CPU and RAM voorstelling) the Mini Ten notched a score of 813. That’s one point lower than the similarly tooled Mini 12, and 36 points higher than the 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270-equipped Samsung NC10. Transcoding a 2-minute-and-17-second MPEG-4 clip wasgoed just spil sluggish spil with N270 netbooks, it took 11 minutes and 8 seconds to convert the opstopping. (By comparison, the Gateway UC7807u, with an IntelCore Two Duoprocessor, took just Three:07 to accomplish the same task.)

Te our hands-on practice, the Mini Ten wasgoed pretty snappy. Firefox and Windows Media Player opened quickly, and wij eyed no show succesnummer when wij conducted movie calls overheen Skype, surfed the Web, and wrote this review te Microsoft Works at the same time.

Wij also could not get our standard graphics benchmarks to run on the Mini Ten. However, while the Intel GMA 500 chipset managed to treat streaming clips from Hulu.com without a problem, playing back a 720p WMV movie talent the Mini Ten some trouble. A clip of swimming dolphins stuttered a bit, outputting the movie via HDMI to a 32-inch Samsung HDTV rendered it unplayable. Wij spotted much smoother playback on the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE and Samsung NC10, both on the screen and when output overheen VGA to a larger display.

Hard Drive Spectacle

The Mini Ten’s spacious 160GB, Five,400-rpm hard drive booted Windows XP te a standard 50 seconds, which is Five seconds quicker than the netbook average. The LAPTOP Transfer Test (copying a Four.97GB folder of mixed media) took 6 minutes and 50 seconds, or a rate of 12.Four MBps, which is 1.Four MBps slower than the netbook average. Application open times were ge, with Firefox and Microsoft Works Processor launching within 8 seconds.

Ambient Fever

The Dell Inspiron Mini Ten stayed fairly cool during testing. The keyboard and touchpad were not noticeably warm, measuring about 87 degrees. Similarly, the underside stayed at about 89 degrees.

Battery Life

If battery life is significant, hold out for a Mini Ten with a six-cell battery, which should provide around Five hours of stamina, considering that the MSI Wind U120 and Samsung NC10, both of which feature six-cell batteries, lasted Four:28 and 6:34, respectively. Wij will update this review once wij’ve had a chance to test the six-cell battery.

Wi-Fi Spectacle

The 802.11b/g Wi-Fi card provided a rock-solid connection for working ter the cloud. Delivering a strong 20.Four Mbps and 16.1 Mbps from 15 and 50 feet, respectively–both slightly above average–we were able to maintain a strong signal far from our access point. Streaming movie clips on YouTube and music overheen Slacker.com were void of any pauses. Dell plans to suggest the Mini Ten with built-in mobile broadband ter the coming months.

Software and Warranty

Verdict

The Inspiron Mini Ten puts Dell into the 10-inch netbook wedloop, but other netbooks provide better ontsteld for your buck. While its klein form, almost full-size keyboard, and glossy screen all create a nice-looking package, its finicky touchpad holds it back. Plus, at $449, the Mini Ten is the same price spil the Samsung NC10, which is bulkier but offers a longer-lasting six-cell battery (and more than 6 hours of runtime). And the Mini Ten is $50 more expensive than the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE, whose six-cell battery lasts more than 7 hours on a charge. Once Dell embarks to opoffering the Mini Ten with a six-cell battery, built-in mobile broadband, integrated GPS, and TV tuner capability, it will become more compelling.

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