Dell is joining the next-gen Atom parade with its new Inspiron Mini 10, but will it stand out from the crowd? Starting at $299 and expected to go on sale in early January, this netbook has more going for it than Intel's latest N450 processor. Dell has gone back to the drawing board with its design, offering a sleeker chassis that neatly integrates the battery with the rest of the casing. Dell has also added ergonomic key caps for increased typing comfort, and a textured deck. Plus, fashionistas can take their pick of six colors beyond the basic black ($40), and personalize their Mini 10s with everything from MLB lids to artist-inspired graphics ($59). Best of all, you can expect up to 9.5 hours on a charge.
There's also a slew of configuration options to beef up the Mini 10's capabilities, but many of them won't be available at launch. These include a high-def display (1366 x 768), a Broadcom Crystal HD Media accelerator (forsmoother full-screen Hulu action), and a built-in TV tuner. Other amenities coming soon include integrated GPS with turn-by-turn navigation.
So what's not to like--other than the small fortune it will cost to own a fully tricked out Mini 10? Our answer, plus full specs and a gallery, await after the jump.What Dell hasn't changed on the Mini 10 is the touchpad, which still has integrated touch buttons. We didn't like this implementation in our last review of this netbook, but Dell says it has been tweaking the drivers and hardware to improve the experience (we'll see). We also wonder how good the Broadcom media accelerator will be relative to Nvidia's Ion technology, keeping in mind that the former was designed only for video playback.
Assuming Dell has addressed our ergonomic quibbles, and that a decently configured system doesn't induce sticker shock, the Mini 10 could turn out to be a solid little system. Stay tuned for a full review.
- New Intel Atom N450 processor at 1.66 GHz
- 10.1-inch display with standard (1024x600) or High Definition (1366x768) display available in coming weeks
- Built-in speakers with available SRS Surround sound
- HDTV tuner and location-aware GPS configurations available in coming weeks
- Bundles with Broadcom Crystal HD for smooth HD playback coming in Q1
- Built-in 802.11 b/g wireless with available Bluetooth and Mobile Broadband
- 1GB DDR2 memory at 800MHz
- 160GB or 250GB hard disk drive storage
- Choice of 3 or 6-cell integrated battery with up to 9.5 hours of battery life (Inspiron Mini 10 mobility bundle only).
- Choice of Windows 7 Starter or Windows XP Home, Ubuntu operating system option available in the coming weeks
- Lightweight: Starting at about 2.7-3.0 pounds with a 3-cell battery. 3.1 pounds with 6-cell battery