As every netbook maker worth its salt hurries to replace its existing line-up with second generation models using Intel's new Pine Trail chipset, we are clearly going to have to get used to being presented with an ever increasing slew of machines which frankly are pretty much the same as the ones they replace. Dell Mini 10 Dell …
What a shame
We have a Ubuntu SSD Mini 10v, and it's perfect for day to day surfing and basic productivity tasks like writing docs (wifey uses it on the train into work sometimes). Being just below the £200 mark it was a no-brainer to buy, and being SSD it can survive being (frequently) knocked off the coffee table by the cat. I even used it to do some MySQL development for my sister-in-law.
So what do we have now? Costs more than the what-the-hell-why-not price point of £200. Windows (bleck, but I at least would be happy to have XP, rather than Vista+) and no SSD. FAIL on all counts.
Glossy ?? !!
So it's small and light, ideal to carry around, but unfortunately I also have to carry around a dark room to use it in?
Is it a good Hackintosh?
It's predecessor (Mini 10V) made a fantastic Hackintosh almost straight out of the box with very little work, so it'd be nice to see how easily OS X can be got up and running on this new model. It would be even nicer if this came in a Linux flavour to try this out - no point paying the MS tax when you've already bought your own OS.
Performance figures across the board place it in a decent position amongst the competition and seems consistent so it should make a good all-rounder.
Back to the old school
I've got an original Dell Mini 10 and because it had the MID Atom chipset, a Z-prefix one, it doesn't have a lot of the annoying restrictions of the N-prefix chipsets the 10v and this new 10 have.
For instance, it's got a HDMI port not VGA, and popping it into a monitor or telly(!) it breaks from it's shackles and you get a nice 1650x1050 desktop. The other benefit of the HDMI is that it makes it a nice multimedia machine, and although the Z530 chipset comes with the much maligned GMA 500 IGP, with the new drivers it's capable of playing back 1080p HD video happily and silently.
The other restriction it gets round is the 1024x600 native screen resolution, the Z-prefix ones have the option of 1024x768 which makes it a much nicer thing to have.
Excellent - the right Ethernet. A 100 one.
I would have expected better from elreg. My bet is that this is a Broadcom or Intel chipset as in the Lenovo.
A Broadcom 100 MB Ethernet is better on any day compared to a Realtek Gigabit one as on other netbook class machine. Better battery life, better power consumption, less heat - you name it. A broadcom Ethernet also most likely means a broadcom WiFi which is once again better than the cr*p found in other laptops.
While this will not make me "unban" Dell from my household it is a move in the right direction. Applause.
A real shame about the SSD
once your used to how snappy the OS is, as well as the boot up time, it's hard to go back to HDD again.
Also, a shame about the lack of OS choice, it would be interesting to know why they stopped offering a Linux option.
MS told them to
As a consumer, it is not possible to by a PC from any of the major OEMs without buying Windows.
I know you might find a page or two should that, say, HP sell a SUSE laptop; but you can't actualy buy it.
Offering one crappy netbook (as Dell does) is not an option either.
It's time the EU looked into this and forced the OEMs, at the very least, to offer a no OS option.
"why they stopped offering a Linux option"
Because they didn't sell enough of them to make it worthwhile.
The Linux flavour of the original Asus Eee completely outsold the Windows version locally here - perhaps because it was about 50 quid cheaper and nobody could see why. Most average users assume that Windows is free, so when they're made to pay and given a choice not to have to yet maintain the same level of functionality, it's not surprising the majority choose the free OS route.
The only models they offered were cripple, not marketed and hidden on their website. MS probably told them to do that to so that they could continue to say that sales of Linux boxes weren't worth it.
But that wasn't really my point.
They should be compelled by law to offer a "no OS" option. What we have now is more like an MS led cartel.
MS told them 2
BigYin said "I know you might find a page or two should that, say, HP sell a SUSE laptop; but you can't actualy buy it."
HP do sell non-Windows netbooks - PineTrail too from what I can see - although most of them aren't available direct from HP, you've got to go to your friendly HP Reseller. Interestingly enough, all the Linux options are only given on the "Business" section of the HP UK site - they also appear to be pretty "stripped" compared to their Windows equivalents. Naughty HP!
If you're interested look for the 5102 and 2102 - my reading of the website is that the former may be available from HP directly soon.
That said, I'd be more interested in the 210-1016SA that's on the home site - less than UKP200 (inc VAT) - but with a spec that looks to be very similar to the Dell's. Okay, it's Windows7 "Dumb edition", but for the price I'd be content to zap it and put on something penguin-friendly.
I am not impressed even in the least.
Want to know why?
The last mini that DELL sold was only on the market for less than 4 months and
then they stopped selling it.
Now why was that?
I wanted one but if they did that in the first round then they will do it to this one as well.
Really! THat was one major buzzkill that Dell did to stab itself in the back.
Because of the above I may not even buy one now. i'll go with some other brand.
DELL is #1 marketing failure.
Is it made out of recycled McDonalds toys like every other Dell laptop?
I'm not sure its possible to buy a lower grade of plastic than the one dell uses for their laptop casing.
My Mini-10V has been scratched to buggery and dropped/knocked over more times than I care to think but it still works like a champ - glad I went for the SSD option. In fact, my only real issue for me is that the glossy black lid make some of the scratches look far worse than they are. Still, I suppose it distracts your attention away from all the fingermarks ...
Dell's smaller laptops are, in my experience, pretty well put together - can't necessarily say that about their larger brethren though (some of the Vostros look *really* cheap and tacky)
Did you notice the price point?
You get what you pay for... pay a grand and you'll get better quality kit, but pay a couple of hundred notes and you'll get something cheap. So what was your point again? ;p
Epic fail ...
Think I'll be sticking with my SSD-equipped Mini-10V, then - even though the initial saving by having Ubuntu installed by default was more-or-less negated by the cost of a 2Gb SODIMM the final price was still considerably less than this. In fact, if memory serves, the Mini-10v with a 160Gb hard drive and XP was cheaper, although by not as much. And, of course, you can put OSX on a Mini-10v if you have a mind to.
I suspect that the lack of a Linux option is a result of someone from Microsoft Had Words with someone in Dell, who, in turn, will likely say that 'there was no demand'. Cynical? Moi?
The whole 'Small Cheap Computer' thing is dead, and any company touting a Small 'Cheap' Computer at a price point over, say, £200, should be shot through the lungs and then *really* hurt.
Pity, really, since it looks a lot smarter than the Mini-10v.
Killed by Wintel and their corporate greed.
No more netbooks for me
I've discovered the Lenovo X100e. 11.6" display, enough grunt under the hood to run 720p videos, the usual ThinkPad construction (although it is plastic) and a quite magnificent keyboard. So it's £400 - but that extra £100 buys you a whole lot more functionality than any netbook on the market for very little extra weight.
I'd recommend that the Reg review team get one in and take a look-see; if only to save a couple of souls from the increasingly depressing netbook market.