Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dell Mini 9 - Review Part 2

Yes, it's the second portion of my review of the Dell Mini 9 (Inspiron 910).

I forgot some things for the first part! You have the option to order either Windows XP Home SP3 (which is actually the ULCPC - Ultra Low Cost Personal Computer) or a special version of Ubuntu! At some point I'm going to buy another SSD for this for Linux. The other thing is that netbooks DO NOT come with built in optical drives (CD/DVD/BluRay) or floppy (who uses floppy?) Also, the screen size is only 8.9 inches.

Now that I've had this tiny laptop (netbook) for a few hours, I'm getting things setup quite nicely. My friend found away for me to get on the network here at work through the phone so now I'm connected.

My first test was to have a satellite dish mount manual in PDF format (which Adobe came pre-installed) while I was working on finding the parts to build the dish. Normally, my PDF's lag when I scroll down; this time was different. The PDF actually scrolled smooth! Impressive to me; maybe not you.

Once I got on the internet, I installed Firefox and Trillian. Firefox and Trillian both run well; no questions asked. I checked out Facebook which seems to work despite the tiny screen.

To check networking functions I looked up the shared folder here at work. Mapped the drive and threw in my credentials, only to have it show up in no time at all. I had copied the company web meeting shortcut into the drive so I could log into the meeting. It logged in with you guessed it, no problem; now I can test the webcam. I logged into the web meeting with my workstation as well. The 1.3 MP camera is pretty clear, I was surprised to see.

Before I had started the PDF test the battery was at 100%, I was walking around with it running on batteries and that was around 2:30. So from around 2:15 to now (5:08), I've been running on batteries. Right now its at about 35% with Pandora.com streaming radio and I've been streaming for about 2 hours. I think that's pretty good usage and battery life. I do have the wifi and bluetooth off however. Judging by the looks of things I can get a good 3 hours on a full charge with constant use. Maybe 4 if I baby it.

The first major issue I had with this system was the track pad was jumping for some reason, but after a quick driver update I think it may have been solved. YAY! Other than that the icons for some reason go to some annoying default even after I move them they go back. If someone can tell me why I'd much appreciate it.

Another thought about the design is that there is no latch to hold the screen down; not like you really need it seeing as how the hinges are pretty tight.

So far my initial feelings for this thing is that I would HIGHLY recommend one and I am slowly beginning to adore it. The women here at work like it and all the guys are slowly beginning approve of it. Seems to be a hit!

Anyway, the next part of my review will be about media. I'll just charge it back up here and take it home and watch Transformers or something and see how she does.

Ian Kocher

BTW I still have a floppy drive. A good admin never leaves home without!

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