Thursday, March 25, 2010
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM
This is a review video of the new (as of February 2010) Dell Mini 10, a netbook. If you missed my two-part first impressions video, you can find it here. The New Dell Mini 10 is powered by an Atom N450, part of the Pinetrail chipset, running at 1.66 Ghz. It has 1 GB of RAM, and this model I purchased from Dell has a 5400 RPM, 250 GB hard drive. It features 802.11b/g WiFi, but this model I have doesn't have Bluetooth. Check your local Dell Web site to see if they're offering Bluetooth. It has a 56WHr Lithium-Ion Battery (6-cell), a 10.1" wide screen display (1024 x 600 pixels), and an integrated 1.3 megapixel Webcam. It's using Windows 7 Starter Edition for the operating system.
How did the new Dell Mini 10 fare in the review? The battery life was impressive compared to the previous version of the Dell Mini I looked at. The new Mini 10 played back all 2 hours and 51 minutes of the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition, and still had 56% of the battery life remaining at the end. That means you can expect to get nearly 6 hours of full-screen video playback on this netbook, with the screen at 100% brightness and WiFi turned off. That's quite impressive compared to other netbooks I've looked at. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing that really stands out about this netbook - and the sacrifice you make for having that extra battery life is a netbook that's deeper than most comparable netbooks, making it incompatible with many sleeves and carrying cases on the market today. Still, the battery is nicely integrated and doesn't hang off the back like a brick.
It still has the same trackpad that I'm not fond of, and lacks any sort of decent GPU - though it's worth noting though that 720p h.264 content played back OK inside Windows Media Player. You won't see more than a slideshow when looking at 720p Flash content, however. The limitations of Windows 7 Starter, namely around being unable to change the desktop wallpaper, remain irksome to me. Thankfully, there are some solutions for that problem.
At the time I ordered the new Mini 10, which was the first week it was available from Dell Canada, there were no options for an HD screen, no options for a video acceleration add-on, no TV tuner, etc. I always find it a bit strange how Dell chooses to roll out products like this - in tiny steps, with new features seemingly made available at random.
Ultimately, the new Dell Mini 10 is very similar to the previous version and doesn't do much to stand out from amongst a sea of netbooks, except when it comes to having a 6-cell battery without a "hump" coming out the back. If that's what you're looking for, then the new Dell Mini 10 might be just what you want. Me? I returned it to Dell for a refund and will keep looking for a netbook I can be really happy with.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, his son Logan, and his sometimes obedient dog. He's still searching for the perfect netbook.
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