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Dell Inspiron Zino HD review

Dell Inspiron Zino HD
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £540
inc VAT

It's rare we see a PC that's both good value and great-looking, but this Blu-ray-equipped mini PC scores in both categories.


1.5GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 3250e, 4.000000 RAM, N/A display, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

More and more of Dell’s range have colourful designs and the Zino HD is no exception. The top of the Zino is available in a range of attractive colours and patterns, while the rest of the design is both sleek and curvaceous. Although it’s not quite as small as Apple’s Mac mini, it’s still small and is also whisper quiet.

For a mini PC at this price it’s generously equipped. There’s an optical drive that can play, but not write, Blu-ray discs. HD video playback was smooth thanks to the Radeon HD 4330 graphics chip, although this isn’t powerful enough for playing modern 3D games. There aren’t any surround sound outputs other than the HDMI port, while the integrated sound chip only supports DVD-quality surround sound. This means you won’t get the best possible audio quality from Blu-ray movies, with no support for standards like Dolby True HD.

One of the four USB ports on the rear is occupied by the receiver for the included wireless keyboard and mouse, which are both comfortable to use. Annoyingly, for a PC that looks ideal for living room use, there’s no media centre remote included. You could add one later, but the receiver will take up another USB port and look a tad messy – a built-in receiver would have been most welcome.

The Zino is the first PC we’ve seen to come equipped with AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 3250e processor. It’s a lot voltage model with a TDP of just 22W. Paired with 4GB of RAM, it managed an overall score of 35 in our benchmarks, making it roughly equivalent to an Intel CULV processor designed for ultra-portable laptops. It’s faster than an Atom-powered nettop, so it’s more than quick enough for everyday office and internet tasks, but it’s not ideal for more demanding work such as video encoding or serious image editing.

The huge 1TB hard disk should be large enough for all but the biggest media libraries; plus a pair of eSATA ports allows fast external hard disks to be added for more storage. No TV tuners are included, but these are cheap and can easily be added later – there’s no room inside for PCI tuners so you’ll have to use USB tuners. Wireless networking and a memory card reader are already built-in.

The Zino is reasonably easy to upgrade for a mini PC. Adding more memory is a simple matter of unscrewing the bottom panel to access the two RAM slots, although you’d have to dispose of the two existing modules first. The top panel pops off quite easily, but underneath is a series of screws and a plastic panel which needs to be removed carefully since it feels rather fragile. Underneath all that is the 1TB hard disk which is a standard 3.5in SATA II desktop model. Desktop disks are cheaper than the 2.5in laptop disks usually found in mini PCs, so replacing it with an even bigger disk in future should be inexpensive.

Dell’s Zino HD is a great value mini PC, it’s not got the quickest processor but the rest of the specification is generous – with plenty of memory, a big hard disk and Blu-ray playback. There are cheaper HD-capable PCs, but none as compact, good-looking and quiet as the Zino. It’s just a few niggles, like the lack of HD audio output or a built-in IR receiever, that keep it from getting an award.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 3250e
Processor external bus 200MHz (1GHz HyperTransport)
Processor multiplier x7.5
Processor clock speed 1.5GHz
Processor socket AM2+
Level 1 cache 2x 64KB
Level 2 cache 2x 512KB
Memory 4.000000
Memory type PC2-6400
Maximum memory 8GB
Motherboard Dell 0MFHTR
Motherboard chipset AMD 780G


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/2
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
eSATA ports (front/rear) 0/2
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
Other ports none

Internal Expansion

Case mini PC
PCI-E x1 slots (free) 0 (0)
PCI-E x16 slots (free) 0 (0)
Free Serial ATA ports 0
Free memory slots 0
Free 3.5in drive bays 0

Hard Disk

Hard disk model(s) Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
Interface SATA 300
Total storage capacity 1,000GB
Spindle speed 7,200rpm


Graphics card(s) 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330
Graphics/video ports HDMI, VGA


Sound Conexant HD SmartAudio 221
Sound outputs stereo line out
Speakers none

Removable Drives

3.5in floppy drive no
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Optical drive model LG CT10N
Optical drive type(s) DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM


Screen model N/A
Native resolution N/A
Response time N/A
Screen inputs N/A

Other Hardware

Modem No
Keyboard Dell Y-RBP-DEL4
Mouse Dell M787C


Software included Microsoft Works 9, Roxio Burn 1.2
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £540

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