September 4, 2008

Dell Goes Mini

The long rumored Dell netbook - officially titled the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is finally available - and it's a pretty good system.

It's one of the few netbooks that offer built-in BlueTooth. And it has more options that most other netbooks, too. I like that it is a customizable set up rather than a ton of different "models" that are just a bigger flash drive or no camera, etc. It makes it a lot easier to get exactly the features that are right for you.

If you want a 16GB hard drive and 512MB of RAM with no camera and BlueTooth running Linux- you can get it. Want a 4GB model with a 1.3MP camera, 1GB of RAM, no BT, you can get that too. All these options and you don't have to know the secret code to get the features you want - no model number guessing games. The only thing you can't get is a 4 GB model with Windows. As someone with a 4GB Eee PC with Windows XP installed - I can tell you it's a very tight fit.

Anyway - it's a good system. But there are a lot of good netbooks out there these days. The Acer Aspire One, the MSI Wind, the Eee PC, the Nohrtec Gecko, the 2Go PC... Check out - or this chart from if you really want to keep up with these things.

There are a few things that I personally look for in a netbook - first, a 8.9 - 10 inch 1024 x 600 (or higher resolution) screen. The old 7" 800 x 480 just is too small, and are usually surronded by wasted space covered by bezel or speakers or a web-cam. The smaller screen doesn't make the system any smaller (usually). My Eee PC is the 7" model, and I do not recommend it.

Then stuff like at least 900 Mhz - hopefully over 1Ghz in the CPU. At least upgradable to 1GB of RAM, (hopefully 2GB). I don't care if the manufacturer offers it or not, as long as I can add the needed RAM myself, I'm happy.

Wireless - it's sad that I have to list that - but there are a number of netbooks out there with no portable way to connect to the net! No Wifi, no BT, nothing. More than one USB port... I'm looking at you MacBook Air!

An SD card slot - the more card readers, the better - but at least one SDHC reading slot - SDIO is nice, too. A battery that works for at leat 3 hours with full brightness and WiFi. Video out, standard 2.5 headphone jack, mic jack, and ethernet 10/100. And at least 4GB of onboard storage. The more, the better, but at least 4GB to start with.

And it needs to have all of that for under $400. Now, if I add features like a 3MP camera, BlueTooth, dozens of GB of storage, etc. that price might go up - but I should be able to get all that stuff I listed as "needed" for the magic $399 or lower price.

It might sound like I'm spoiled - and I admit that I am. But it's a very competitive market - and there are plenty of systems that offer all that I asked for - including the low price.

Basically, I think if you pick any of those - you got yourself a darn good system at a darn good price. Or, if you are really cheap (like me) check out the $98 netbook - just don't expect everything I just talked about.

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1 comment:

crisps said...

Chad, I really like your site - 'YOU ARE THE INTERNET' for me.

But, and its a big butt (lol) why dont you expand your content to include such things as Christian music, bible readings and the like?

PS - do you really need catchpa?