Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dell Mini 9 - Review Part 1

This was posted on my Facebook a while back.

From October 2008

OK! Today I got my Mini 9 (Inspiron 910); it was sitting on my desk when I walked in the door at work. Sweet! Of Course, everyone was excited to see what was in the green Dell box. The box about the size of a normal Linksys router box. This is because the system is small; really small for a fully functional laptop; come to think of it, this thing about the same size as a Linksys WRT54G. Plus, it's really light. I think my Moto Q9m is just about half the weight of the Mini 9. When I ordered it, I had 2 color options; Black and White. I thought I had chosen the black option but it came in as white (not a big deal). I ordered this thing fully kitted hardware wise.

Hardware Specs:
Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz (This is a hyper threaded CPU)
1GB 800MHz
*Note: I think the RAM may be underclocked because the Intel Atom only runs at 533 FSB... Really?! Doesn't seem like it!*
16GB SSD (Solid State Drive)
802.11 G
integrated 1.3 MP webcam
-VGA Monitor
-10/100 Fast Ethernet
-3 USB (2 on the left and 1 on the right)
-SD/MS-PRO/MMS card reader

First Boot

After everyone in my cubical cluster had handled it and got their finger prints on it (BTW finger prints are this things worst cosmetic issue, glad I got the white and not black) I set it down and plugged in the charger. The charger for this thing isn't like a normal laptop charger. Instead of having a wire running to a brick then another wire running to the laptop, this charger is more like a wall transformer, like the charger for your cell phone or consumer router.

After plugging in and poking the power button you get a very nice BIOS screen followed by the initial Windows setup. What I particularly liked was how the BIOS boot image looked. Normally you see a crappy image or have just the word DELL but this one is different. It actually looks good. It's still the Dell logo but the quallity is nice.

If you've ever installed Windows with an OEM disk, sometimes you get to hear the Windows setup music (not like it's much of something you would want to hear). I only bring this up because the quality coming from the speaker (or speakers; not sure if its got one or two) is actually pretty decent.

At this point, the setup was going kinda slow. After hitting the "next" button I usually had to wait about 5 minutes for the next screen. I never had to wait that long for any install I've ever done.

Once I got past the initial setup and waited for the first real bootup (which took a while) I was greeted with a very basic Windows XP Home Screen, with the usual Dell icons. At full resolution (1024x600) there is room for only 7 icons in a column, which isn't a problem since I prefer to keep my desktop clean (though you wouldn't think that if you saw my server...). There were also the average large number of icons in the tray, but after a few tweeks I got a few services and programs to go away. After that it's been smooth sailing.

I've read reviews where the tester said "it's quick for a 1.6 GHz processor." This is quick for anything; My new XPS 420 took a while to open up the new iTunes. The Mini 9 did it faster then I've seen iTunes open on any other computer.

Using the keyboard is... interesting. The escape, tab, caplock, shift, ctrl, and pretty much everything except the letters are small and kinda hard to use and the mouse pad has a bug or 2 in it. This is basically

Right now I can't get on the internet but I did link my phone with Bluetooth which took no time at all.

As soon as I can get some media and internet I will finish part 2 of my review of the Dell Mini 9!

Ian Kocher

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