UPDATE: I have had to repost this review because something has happened with the site and the copy for the review has disappeared suddenly
I am reviewing the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook which is the first computer of this class that I am able to review. It would be one of these machines that was considered the right machine to own during the heart of the Great Financial Crisis but still has a place in today’s home network as an auxiliary computer.
As with all Dell computers, you choose the specification for the computer when you order it through their Website and the specification that is available on the Website may differ from the one that I am reviewing. The base specification for this computer would cost AUD$449.but there are more expensive specifications available that primarily have the computer prepared for wireless broadband or an onboard TV tuner.
The netbook computer itself
The computer is finished in an “Apple-white” gloss finish on the outside and black around the keyboard and screen escutcheon. The gloss finish may still have the disadvantage of attracting fingermarks during regular use. There isn’t anything that can appear to damage good dining-room tables when the machine is placed on these tables.
My review sample is outfitted with the Intel Atom netbook processor and works with 1Gb of RAM, some of which is shared with the display memory.
The secondary storage is based around a 160Gb hard disk as single logical drive and an SD card slot as removeable storage. The computers that come through the Website will have 250Gb hard-disk space.rather than the 160Gb that is part of the test specification.
The graphics infrastructure is based around an Intel graphics chipset that is optimised for netbooks and yields a 1024×600 resolution on the 10” screen. The only external display connectivity available in this case is a VGA socket.
As well, there are three USB sockets – one on the right-hand side and two on the left-hand side.There is also an Ethernet connection for wired networks and the audio in-out jacks on the right hand side. For wireless connectivity, this unit supports Wi-Fi to 802.11g as well as Bluetooth wireless.
The operating system used in this test specification is the Windows XP Home Edition SP3 but computers that are available for sale come with Windows 7 Starter Edition. It may be still worth upgrading the operating system to Windows 7 Home Premium through an Anytime Upgrade pack if you want better network functionality.
Observations and Experiences
The keyboard is responsive but may appear cramped due to the small size of these computers. The touchpad is very small but works well for navigation. These are situations that are considered typical for computers in its class.
I had watched a few YouTube videos about IT and found that the computer is still good with downloaded video content. As well, I had run it through a round of an action-puzzle game on MiniClip which is a popular casual-game site, and the game was still very responsive. Obviously this wouldn’t be the kind of computer for playing the big-time games but would be good for casual games and similar use.
I haven’t worked out a battery “drain test” yet that is appropriate for computers of this class but as I was working on the computer which was running on batteries, I kept observing the battery meter as I used the computer even while I had McAfee do a virus scan in the background and Windows Update deploy the latest set of updates to XP, the computer doesn’t look like it goes tbattery quickly. I also made these observations with the computer under manufacturer-default conditions.
Conclusion and Placement Notes
I would place this computer as a unit that would be useful as a small-size auxiliary computer for travelling or use around the home such in the kitchen or “Facebooking” in front of the TV. It may work well as something with a keyboard for getting notes on to a file while out and about before you “finish” them on your main computer.