Dell Inspiron Mini 9

If you’ve been holding off your netbook purchase for a more mainstream laptop manufacturer to enter the minilaptop field, now’s your chance. After spending a long time in development, the Inspiron Mini has finally hit the streets. This miniature laptop delivers much in the same way of its competition, but where it really shines its long list of configurable options.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

++ Lots of Configuration Options
++ 1024X600 Resolution
+- Average Battery Life
+- Keyboard Size / Functions

Model Inspiron Mini 9
Screen Size 8.9 inches
Weight 2.7 pounds
Battery 4-Cell Li-Ion
Processor 1.6Ghz Intel Atom
Operating System Windows XP or Linux
Ports 3 USB, 2 SD Readers
Hard Drive 8GB or 16GB Solid State Drive
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 B/G/N, Bluetooth Option
CD/DVD Drive None (external only)

Perhaps one of the best reasons to purchase a Dell machine is the company’s reputation for offering a wide range of configurations. They’ve made no exception when it comes to the Mini 9 as they offer many hardware configurations and even several colors or designs to choose from. Design-wise, the Mini is similar to other netbooks of comparable size, such as the Eee PC. The most notable differences is a relatively smaller bezel around the screen, which still manages to house a webcam and two speakers!

You may find yourself in a love/hate relationship with the keyboard. While anyone is sure to appreciate its attempt to be as close to a full sized keyboard as possible, its easy to loathe the compromises Dell made to get it there. For example, some of the everyday keys that are usually available in extra width at the sides (tab, caps lock, shift) have been reduced to slivers of what they should be. Only the most dexterous pinkies will be able to strike them with consistent accuracy.

The 8.9 inch screen offers a 1024×600 resolution which is a suitable mix of portability and usability. You’ll still have to do a fair bit of vertical scrolling, but all of your favorite web pages should be viewable without running off either horizontal edge of the screen.

The Mini has several audio features that make it a little better than its competition. For one, the speakers are on the lid, facing toward the user instead of below the laptop and pointed at the surface. This can make a world of difference when the Mini is on your lap, where most laptop speakers are muffled. The Mini’s speakers also support stereo sound.

Overall, Dell Mini 9 performance is comparable to most other laptops in this category. While the 1.6GHz atom processor does a fair job of light web-browsing and word-processing tasks, it will struggle with heavy applications. For example, the Mini will load reasonably sized pictures quickly, but it will take a little longer to view the raw captures from your 10 mega-pixel camera. The battery life on the Mini is average, clocking in at about 3 hours of video playback time.

Additional Information
Full product details and ordering information is available at the company’s website:

Deal Update: Get a Dell Mini 9 at for under $330 (2/15/09): Dell Mini 9 on

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