Dell Inspiron Mini 10 - Review

While manufacturers have been benefiting from the current popularity of netbooks, Dell with its Inspiron mini 10 has finally hopped on to the 10-inch netbook bandwagon.

The mini 10 is built around the Intel US15W chipset and this netbook is powered by the Z530 processor, which is clocked at 1.60 GHz. In addition to that, the housed 1 GB RAM and a roomy 160 GB—5400 rpm—hard drive collectively make up for an average entry-level netbook. On the Inspiron mini 10, office and mainstream applications such as Microsoft Office, Internet surfing and video chatting will be a breeze (it has a built-in 1.3 MP webcam).

Also, emailing, chatting, blogging and applications that need typing on the go will be easy, special thanks to its ultra-light weight and a roomy keyboard. Onboard graphics are courtesy a GMA 500 GPU and the glossy screen houses a crisp 10.1-inch 16:9 screen displaying 1024 x 576 pixels. Watching movies on the go is fun. Here’s the best part, if the miniscule screen doesn’t suffice, use the HDMI port to connect your HDTV but a VGA port is absent. Other standard features include three USB ports, Ethernet and sound jacks. A multi-card reader is provided too.

Connectivity is offered via Bluetooth, 10/100 Ethernet and Wi-FiB/G but Wi-FiN would have been better. Finally the mini 10 comes pre-installed with Microsoft Windows XP and a recovery disc is bundled along with.

Build quality
One of the strongest points about the mini 10 is that despite its solid build; it is ridiculously lightweight—merely 1.14 kg. Another noticeable and striking feature is its keyboard and the keys that will allow you to type faster and with comfort. In fact, the build quality and—concave— design of the keys trounce most of the keyboards in the netbook space.

Robust is the adjective that best describes this netbook’s shell, its screen’s frame and hinges, and its bezel. The lid and the screen both are highly prone to finger prints. The touch pad—although big in size— can be annoying at times. It has buttons underneath the pad’s surface, for the left and right-click buttons. If you’re looking for sheer style, the mini 10 won’t make you the happiest netbook user. Nonetheless, there are five other colors one can choose from, red, green, blue, pink and white.

Although powered by the Intel Z530, the mini 10 performs as well as any netbook which has an Intel N270 processor installed such as the Samsung NP-NC10. Therefore, it’s safe to say that mainstream applications will run seamlessly. The built-in speakers are decent but not loud enough.

Also the battery life on runtime is quite good—3 hours and 32 minutes under medium load even though it is a three cell battery.

For its price of Rs 24,900, if you’re looking for a no-nonsense super-portable netbook which looks plain, the mini 10 is a good option. Don’t expect stupendous performance from it.