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Dell Inspiron Micro: the Windows alternative to a Chromebox

Dell Inspiron Micro

Dell releases one of the cheapest Windows desktop computers to date

Dell has unveiled a new micro desktop computer that looks set to give Google’s Chromebox concept some cut-price competition. The Dell Inspiron Micro is a lunchbox-sized unit based on Windows 8.1, delivered at prices starting from $179 (£114). 

As you might expect at that price, the hardware spec is pretty limited. The cheapest configuration comes with a dual-core 2.58GHz Intel Celeron J1800 processor, 2GB of RAM and only 32GB of solid-state storage to play with. The memory and storage stays the same in the most expensive $229 (£146) configuration too, with the processor being upgraded to a quad-core 2.67GHz Pentium J2900.

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At $179, you really do just get just the box for your money: there’s no display, no mouse and no keyboard. The only (somewhat questionable) extra is a 12-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe. For an extra $20, however, Dell does throw in a wireless keyboard and mouse. 

It’s also not too difficult or expensive to overcome some of the Inspiron Mini’s other shortcomings. There’s a USB 3 port on the side of the device into which you could plug an external hard disk, supplementing that meagre 32GB of storage – a good percentage of which will be swallowed by the operating system. There’s also a media card reader on the side, although Windows 8.1 no longer allows you to store Windows apps on memory cards. Other connections on the Inspiron Micro include two USB ports, both full-sized HDMI and DisplayPort sockets, and an Ethernet port.  

Given its limited spec, the Inspiron Micro is clearly targeted at the Google Chromebox market rather than the similarly sized Mac Mini. Chromebox devices run on the company’s Chrome OS, which offers little more than a low-maintenance web browser, and normally cost somewhere between £120 and £200.

It’s not yet clear if the Dell Inspiron Micro will be coming to the UK.  

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