Dell offers several Mini laptops, including models with 10- and 12-inch displays. These portable netbooks, while good for basic office productivity tasks, e-mail and Internet surfing, won't be replacing desktop models or full-featured laptops any time soon. However, the 10-inch model constitutes a convenient mobile alternative for many professional business users.
- Processor: Intel Atom 1.33GHz or 1.6GHz CPU
- RAM: 1GB DDR2
- Video: Integrated Intel 945GSE UMA
- Screen: Glossy 10.1-inch LED WSVGA (1024x576) or HD WLED (1366x768)
- Storage: 160GB or 250GB 5400RPM SATA or 32GB or 64GB Solid State Drive
- Optical Drives: External only
- Networking: WLAN 802.11g (802.11n optional); Bluetooth 2.1 mini-card
- Dimensions: 10.28" x 7.19" x 1.1", 2.6lbs
- Battery: 3-cell 24WHr Li-Ion standard (6-cell 56WHr Li-Ion available)
- OS: Windows XP Home or Ubuntu Linux version 8.04
- Price: Start at $299 direct
- More Info: Dell Mini 10 Netbook Web Page
- For a better look, check out the TechRepublic Mini 10 Photo Gallery
Who's it for?
Like other netbook manufacturers, Dell targets its Mini 10 model at highly mobile users needing access to basic office productivity applications, e-mail and the Internet while on the go. Dell's Mini 10 targets business users needing dependable Windows XP performance, reliability and compatibility, with the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution a supported alternative.
What problem does it solve?
The Mini 10 provides enterprise environments possessing established Dell purchasing accounts with the ability to quickly obtain dependable netbook computers within existing corporate purchasing processes. The Mini 10 provides peripatetic staff with a compact, lightweight, dependable and efficient platform for performing basic document, spreadsheet and presentation (using an external monitor) tasks, as well as mobile access to email, the Internet and Web-based resources.
- Compact - The Dell Mini 10 is highly portable. Unlike some netbook PCs that are crossing over into full-on laptop size with 12" displays, the Mini 10 is easy to get in and out of cars and aircraft as well as through doorways. Professionals on the go know how important such mobility, a seemingly small detail, becomes when constantly on the go. At less than three pounds, the units are also lightweight.
- Connectivity - With built-in 802.11g and optional 802.11n connectivity, the Mini 10 is capable of connecting to most public and private Wi-Fi networks. An optional Bluetooth 2.1 module adds additional convenience, making it easier to connect such common Bluetooth peripherals as keyboards, mice and printers.
- Warranty - Netbooks are a fairly contemporary trend. By design, they're typically deployed in high risk (mobile) environments that frequently expose portable computers to damaging drops, shocks, high temperatures and other hazards. The Mini 10, being a Dell product, can be covered by Dell's optional three-year limited hardware warranty. While a variety of manufacturers produce netbooks, many technology professionals and purchasing managers will be more comfortable purchasing the Mini 10 using existing corporate accounts and backing the devices with Dell's extended warranty.
- Small Display - One big criticism of netbooks is the very size that lends their portability. As a result, screen sizes are skimpy. The Mini 10's standard 10.1-inch screen displays only a 1024 x 576 resolution, inadequate for viewing many Web sites full screen. An optional HD display broadens resolution support to 1366 x 768, which improves the amount of information that can be displayed onscreen.
- Slow - Netbooks, by design, are built to be energy efficient. As such, they're frequently powered by an Intel Atom processor that runs at 1.33GHz or 1.6GHz. While the chip runs much more slowly than Core 2 Duo and other CPUs, they consume less energy, thereby resulting in longer battery life. For many users, the CPU will prove adequate for powering document, spreadsheet, e-mail and Internet tasks. Netbooks, however, aren't the best fit for fulfilling video-, audio- or photo-editing, scientific and other processor-intensive operations.
Bottom line for business
Dell's Mini 10 offers businesses used to purchasing Dell business equipment the ability to quickly order netbooks through existing corporate requisition channels. Better yet, IT managers accustomed to attaching three-year warranties to business equipment can obtain the same warranty coverage on netbooks likely to be deployed in high-risk mobile operating environments. While the Mini 10 is a highly portable device capable of running basic document, spreadsheet, e-mail, Web and even some presentation tasks, more powerful systems are required if users must store large amounts of data, crunch scientific data or perform other more demanding tasks.
Have you encountered the Dell Mini 10 Laptop? If so, what do you think? Rate the unit and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of the Dell Mini 10 in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review above.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.