Dell Inspiron Mini 10 (2nd gen) review
A swish new design, great battery life and it plays HD video, but the touchpad is truly appalling
Review Date: 8 Apr 2010
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £237 (£279 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
In a world of drab IT clones, a dash of creativity and a lick of paint can work wonders in grabbing the attention. Dell has long offered a choice of lid designs and finishes on its laptops, and the latest update to the Inspiron Mini 10 follows suit with seven vibrant lid colours for a £35 premium. That's not the only design appeal, though, as the whole netbook looks more interesting than most.
It's the decision to position the hinge slightly forward from the back of the base that gives the Mini 10 its distinctive look. Partly to allow for a six-cell battery without an obvious protrusion at the rear, partly to leave space for future port additions, it makes the Dell progressively thicker from front to back. But it also makes it stand out, and that counts for a lot in the netbook arena.
The New Cherry Red finish on our sample contrasted nicely with the white of the base and the black of the interior, and the 10.1in screen surround is thick and glossy like the screen itself. We're delighted to see a 1,366 x 768 resolution on this top-end model, as it makes such a difference in daily use, particularly when browsing web pages. It fits the 10.1in size nicely too, and it's matched by a decent backlight and reasonably good contrast. We're not blown away by its quality, but in netbook terms it's one of the better screens you'll find.
There are some advances inside, too. Intel's Pine Trail platform, comprising an Atom N450 and the NM10 chipset, had it running through our benchmarks at the usual pace – a score of 0.32 is as expected. But this netbook has an extra addition to give it an edge in other areas. As well as the bog-standard Intel GMA 3150 graphics, which won't handle HD video, you get a Broadcom CrystalHD Media Accelerator which supposedly will.
To properly test it we downloaded the release candidate of Adobe's Flash 10.1 and updated the CrystalHD drivers. This done, YouTube and iPlayer videos ran smoothly at 480p, and upping that to the screen's optimum 720p resolution saw it very close to smooth playback. We still saw dropped frames in fast-moving scenes, but for the most part it's a surprisingly watchable experience.
The best part is that all that entertainment won't kill the battery, as Dell has plumped for a six-cell unit that provides an impressive amount of juice. Our light-use test, leaving the netbook idle, saw it die just two minutes short of the ten-hour mark – remarkable even by netbook standards. That fell to 5hrs 2mins when pushed to its limits.
I had to get a netbook for one of the managers at work recently. Was considering one of these, but on seeing that it still has that touchpad (which I've experienced on earlier Dell netbooks), I decided to go for an Asus instead - despite the fact that I normally buy from Dell and have an account with them.
I don't imagine I'm alone in regarding the touchpad as a reason not to buy it - surely it must be losing Dell sales?
By davidbryant4 on 8 Apr 2010
Similar story here. Despite having an account with Dell, I wanted to buy a netbook, _with_ touchpoint. I ended up with Sony.
Well, I don't imagine I'm alone in regarding the lack of touchpoint as a reason not to buy the netbook. Nevertheless, the world won't change...
By stasi47 on 8 Apr 2010
The Dell Ultrabooks are lighter and thinner that Mini 10 and offer more options: http://www.dell.co.uk/ultrabook
By mcm1973 on 11 Sep 2012
- Google sued over $66 in-app purchase
- Snowden: I was right to leak NSA data
- BBC revamps iPlayer for the "multiscreen world"
- Sony revives optical discs with 1TB Archival Disc
- Surface Power Cover finally arrives
- Mt Gox bankruptcy "leaves fox guarding the henhouse"
- iOS 7.1: what's new?
- All New HTC One: specs, release date and more
- Energy firms forced to use QR codes on bills
- Google to release "wearable" Android within a fortnight
- CeBit 2014 diary: Cameron comes to town
- The 5 most interesting UK businesses at SXSW
- Quickest way to upload 1GB? Hop on a train
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- How to hack your car
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- What to do if you’re still on Windows XP
- Microsoft Word: top 20 secret features
- Measuring me: is your body the future of security?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Headings vs headers: how to use both in Word
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book