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back to article Dell Inspiron M101z 11.6in notebook

It's common to take a shiny new notebook out of the box, judge it to be worthy and then find that some aspect - performance, price or feel - rubs off the polish. Rare are machines like the Dell Inspiron M101z that leave you happy with your initial verdict. Well, almost... Dell Inspiron M101z Dell's Inspiron M101z: compact …

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Headmaster

Is it a Netbook or a Notebook

Correct me if i'm wrong but I thought the term netbook described a particular form factor (under 12" with no optical drive).

I did not think it described the processor, in which case I would lobby that we start calling "netbooks": crippled-ass-Intel-Atom-processor-books

It's not like it's running an ARM processor or something - which are being called Smartbooks if I recall - but it just seems pedantic for a netbook to be a netbook *unless* it exceeds some minimum (and arbitrary?) threshhold of horsepower in which case it magically becomes a notebook.

What if some madman threw an i7 into one of these - would it then transorm into a desktop?

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Alien

dont need one?

>What if some madman threw an i7 into one of these - would it then transorm into a desktop?

no it would turn it into an alienware m11x.. THE stand out of the class, although the styling may not be everyones taste.. heh..

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So what is the Alienware m11x?

A netbook, a laptop, a desktop or a workstation?

If the category definition is defined by the internals and not the form factor, I'd say it's at least a laptop if not a desktop... and the bigger Alienware laptops would then have to be considered high end portable desktops.

To me an m11x is a netbook - a netbook on steroids it may be, but still a netbook. Under 12" with no internal optical drive is a netbook to me. Categorizing machines based on their guts - unless you're talking ARM vs. X86/x64 - seems like a ridiculous, and needless exercise.

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A "Netbook" was only ever a small, cheap, underpowered laptop

If you didn't buy into the whole "Netbook" thing to begin with and just thought of them as "small, underpowered, but cheap Notebooks whose popularity would wane once fuller featured machines entered the price territory" to start with then you would have saved yourself all this confusion.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting...

... but personally I still think the Dell/Alienware M11x is the way to go. The nVidia 335M graphics chip is easily able to cope with all recent games and they even put low voltage i7s in the top model, and all still at 11" in size.

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What's the catch?

Your intro suggests that there is an underlying problem with this able little machine - but I'm not sure you actually said what it was.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: What's the catch?

Battery life not as good as it could be, for one, price for another. But these are - relatively - small issues. If I didn't already own the Acer, I'd be ordering one of these boys myself.

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@ Tony

I put them down as being plus points of the Acer rather than failings of the Dell.

I may 'accidentally' place my current laptop too close to the dog and/or small child and hope for a M101z shaped prezzie at Christmas.

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Pedant's observation

Your intro also suggests that you can't tell the price of a notebook until after you take it out of the box. Apologies for the pedantry. :)

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Avoid

I am returning mine today.

- The fan runs constantly even when the system is idle.

I would say at 2500RPM since during reboots/diagnostic it spins considerably faster

On the plus side, even maxing out the CPU the fan did not spin faster.

Since I use it in a silent environment this is an annoyance.

- The touchpad is unreliable.

No matter how I set it up using the synaptic manager, there are always problems: cursor is jumpy, tap does not register

- Vertical vieving angles are a problem

Put it on a table you will have lo move your head like a pigeon. The screen cannot be tilted at will because of its design.

So, 85% is really unrealistic.

This guy returned his because of the noise.

From "maybe":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEC52sDB5DA

To "WTF" in one week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_OSjCdts4

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Avoid

I can't speak for your unit, but the one I have here, next to me, is idling. Yes, the fan is going, but it's not noisy, certainly not audible above the clack of keys and the hum of other computers.

The screen is easily viewable at a variety of angles whether the machine's flat on the desk or propped up at 30 degrees on a stand.

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Point is...

>Yes, the fan is going, but it's not noisy, certainly not audible above the clack of keys and the hum of other computers

When you are on the couch on in the bed the fan suddenly it's there.

If you are in a quiet environment is audible as well.

The HP NC6400 I am using at the moment in comparison is silent, with the fan that spins up when it's needed, changing speed if it is the case and then going almost silent when the job is done.

The CPU runs at 50-55 degrees on idle.

If I have to buy something that is half as powerful, I would like it to be at least on par with the noise, otherwise I would be buying something with a core i3/i5 with an extra £100/200.

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I still think the best netbook they made was..

The Mini9. I bought mine for less than £200. Stuck an extra gig of RAM in it. It's very quick and boots Ubuntu in less than 30 secs. It's also very compact. These machine are just slightly smaller and expensive laptops.

The Mini 9 has completely changed my computer usage thanks to size, portability and robustness (the latter due to having an SSD).

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Happy

Quite

I also have a Mini 9 and a 2 year deal with Vodafone for 3G access, 5 gigs a month... have never maxed it out.

The Mini 9 is amazing. Stury as anything, very good battery life from a 3 cell battery, no moving parts so it is completley silent... can take a heap of knocks and it still works.

I love it.

I think i want a 101 now though :-)

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Title

I have a Philips Freevents 11NB5800 - which was really a Twinhead F11Y, and also Avaratec and few other brands in other markets. It has an 11" screen, one of the Intel U2500 processors (1.2 GHz), quite a loud speaker considering the size, about 5 hours battery *and* a DVDRW drive. It has been serving me very well for over three years now.

I know it is not fashionable any more - but I want an integrated optical drive in an 11" machine. I still use it a lot to burn discs, read discs, play movie DVD's. We used to have sub-laptops of various kinds - anybody remember the legendary Sony TT, TZ, TX series? Excellent machines, optical drive integrated, some of them 9 hour batteries. I know, the price was not as palatable - but all that niche market is gone now. Even machines with a bit more grunt (then an Atom machine), like the one above, don't have an optical drive.

Rant over. I'm going.

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Paris Hilton

Still Slower than HP dm1z netbok

What's wrong with you people? You still haven't reveived the best 11.6" notebook which is the HP dm1z. It has up to 5 gigs or ram and the Neo Dual-Core Processor K625 (1.5GHz). Plus the usual LED screen, HDMI port etc. It's been out for a while now.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Still Slower than HP dm1z netbok

Maybe, but HP UK has - I kid you not - none of these to lend out for review. Believe me, we have asked. Until we can get one and test it, we can't recommend it.

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netbook reviews

My problem with ATi is that they haven't pushed as hard as nVidia regarding accelerated video support from third parties. nVidia actively did so, resulting that this year they became synonymous with "anything video". ATi's h.264 acceleration abilities are good too, but thing is, almost no one supports that API. So yeah, if video was not on the way, that could have been my new laptop. It has everything else I need (Bluetooth, HDMI, HDD, good resolution etc). So the problem is not that ATi doesn't have the tech ability to do what I need, but rather that the apps that I want to use don't support it well.

www.onlinenotebook.com

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1810TZ Price?

Please please please can you tell me where I can find a 1810TZ for £330? I have coincidentally been looking over the last week and haven't even found it for less than the Dell at £430.

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Acer is More Expensive

Having looked around I would say that if anything the Acer is actually, generally, more expensive.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Acer is More Expensive

Make sure you're not pricing up the 1810TZ "Special Edition" which is indeed more expensive than the Dell. But the standard versions isn't.

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Cheapest

The absolute cheapest 1810TZ that I can find is £430, for the same spec as the £430 Dell, the Acer just has an extra GB of RAM. However that place is out of stock and other prices are closer to £500 and even over that in some cases.

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Currys

Currys website had a few "refurbished" 1810TZs for £370. I have one. It had faulty memory, but I was replacing it anyway to upgrade to 4GB so that wasn't an issue. I have also put an Intel X25M SSD in and it (a) flies and (b) has improved the battery life to > 8 hours.

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Gold badge

Netbook is based on cost IMHO

For the most part I agree with aThingOrTwo, the netbook versus notebook division is pretty arbitrary. Most of the arbitrary specs were things Microsoft imposed when they were getting XP licenses past XP's expiration date, and now getting Vista crippled edition licenses. I do disagree with the characterization of netbooks being underpowered though -- just keep Windows the hell off them and they are great (I have a 1.33 Atom netbook with Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and not only is it adequate but it's actually snappy most of the time.)

For me the defining characteristic of netbooks has been PRICE -- there've been notebooks for YEARS running down to about $400, netbooks are cheaper than that. If it's $400+, to me it's not a netbook, it's a small notebook pretending to be a netbook. This makes this Dell squarely a small notebook.

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Ha

Well, i have just ordered one of these, with the K325 dual core CPU and the 9 cell battery.

Should be good for my uni work. I will be checking the CPU though, see if it's seated in a socket or soldered on. If it's the former, i will try to get a K625 CPU and put in it.

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