This morning I got a hold of the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 in Alpine White (not to be confused with Snow White). I have to say it looks pretty elegant and has a MacBook look to it. However, I am not sure I prefer it over the Obsidian Black Inspiron Mini 9 we have been reviewing, since the only difference is the lid's color. The keyboard is still black and the palm rest silver. In honor of Jerry Seinfeld's appearance on the tech scene, I got to thinking about the black-and-white cookie/laptop debate (if you don't know what Seinfeld has to do with the black-and-white cookie, shame on you, and see the "Dinner Party" episode). Dell is charging $25 more for its white (sorry, Alpine White) Inspiron Mini. For that same $25 you could get a 1.3-MP webcam or 1GB of RAM. We didn't quite understand why a webcam wasn't standard on the system, but paying for a glossy white lid on a low-cost notebook is even more bewildering. Apple has, for a long time, offered the opposite type of deal: white is standard, black costs more. I understood upgrading to black in the case of the MacBook: you get a larger hard drive (250GB), and the black gets less dirt on it than the white.
But in the Inspiron Mini's case I don't see the point. I'd rather pay 25 bucks more for RAM or a webcam. After all, this is supposed to be a low-cost system, and after a while the dollars add up to the point where you could get a standard notebook for the price. In charging $25 more for white plastic, could Dell be thinking that:
- White is a Mac color and Macs cost more than PCs.
- Alpine White paint has to be imported from Switzerland.
- The white version lid will be cooler when left out in the sun (like a white car, or wearing a white shirt).
Tell us what you think in the comments. Maybe we should refer to Jerry on this one as he did say in the classic episode: "If people would only look to the cookie [mini-notebook?], all our problems would be solved."