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Dell Inspiron Mini 9 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 299
inc VAT

Specifications

8 in 1,024×600 display, 1.0kg, 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 1.00GB RAM, 16GB disk, Windows XP Home Edition

Dell

We reviewed Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9 in last month’s issue, but we wanted to see how well it fared against the other models in this round-up.

The Inspiron has an 8.9in screen, so it’s slightly more compact than the 10in netbooks here. The screen’s glossy finish is reflective, but it’s also bright.

The small touch pad is accurate, but the spongy buttons don’t give enough feedback when pressed. Unusually, the keyboard lacks a top row of Function keys; instead, these are accessible using the Fn key and the letter keys starting from A. This makes activating some keyboard short cuts trickier than on other keyboards. The benefit is that the keys are large enough for touch-typing, unlike the keyboards on the NB100 and Amilo Mini 8.9in netbooks. However, the tab, Delete, Caps Lock and cursor keys, as well as some punctuation keys, are difficult to press accurately because they are narrower than the other keys.

Like LG’s X110, the Mini 9 has a built-in 3G wireless broadband modem with the SIM card slot tucked away in the battery bay. As well as being available directly from Dell for £293, you can also buy it with a 24-month 3G contract from Vodafone for £30 per month. The Vodafone version has only a measly 8GB SSD, which is even more cramped than the already small 16GB SSD in Dell’s standard version. More storage can be added using memory cards, though.

Although the Inspiron’s battery didn’t last as long as some other netbooks here, it still managed three hours and 39 minutes. This is long enough for most short-haul European flights or an afternoon out of the office.

Although the Inspiron has a smaller keyboard and less storage space than LG’s X110, its longer battery life makes it preferable if you want a netbook with built-in 3G. If you can put up with an external 3G modem, Samsung’s NC10 is a better choice thanks to its incredible battery life and bigger keyboard and screen, but similar weight.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Atom N270
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 1.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 1GB
Size 32x232x172mm
Weight 1.0kg
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption idle 10W
Power consumption active 13W

Display

Viewable size 8 in
Native resolution 1,024×600
Graphics Processor Intel 945 Express
Graphics/video ports VGA
Graphics Memory 64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 16GB
Optical drive model none
Optical drive type N/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support 802.11n, HSDPA
PC Card slots none
Modem No
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports none

Miscellaneous

Carrying case No
Operating system Windows XP Home Edition
Operating system restore option restore disc
Software included none
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £299
Details www.dell.co.uk

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