Dell Inspiron Mini 10v review

Price when reviewed

You can buy an extended battery for £99 inc VAT, but note this will materially affect the Mini 10v’s shape. The battery is cylindrical and slots into the rear of the chassis. An extended battery can’t just stick out the end, because the lid curves around the cylinder, and instead it adds a centimetre or so to the bottom of the laptop.

One factor that does go in the Mini 10v’s favour, though, is its tiny power supply – it’s more akin to the adapters that come with old mobile phones than modern laptops. The Mini 10v weighs 1.15kg on its own, and 1.36kg with the supply, which is an incredibly low travelling weight.

Software bundle

If there are signs that the chassis isn’t the most thought-out, take some consolation in the software packages. Dell doesn’t just stick with the ageing Windows XP interface, but adds its own Apple-style dock – or, to be more precise, a customised version of Stardock.

This sits at the top of the screen and allows you to jump more quickly to your chosen tasks. For example, it automatically detects when Microsoft Office is installed and will add a shortcut to it from the Office graphic.

Microsoft Works 9 (which includes a basic word processor, spreadsheet, database and calendar application) comes as standard with all Windows XP-based versions of the Mini 10v, but you can choose what else to include.

In fact, as ever, customisation is one of Dell’s biggest strengths. You can change pretty much every aspect of the Mini 10v, from the lid colour to the warranty package to the battery provided to which wireless standards supported (upgrading to 802.11n adds £14.99 inc VAT).

If you want quick delivery, however, your choice is much more limited: a black lid, Windows XP, a 15-month subscription to McAfee Internet Security, the normal core specifications (1.6GHz Atom, 160GB hard disk) plus Bluetooth. Wireless is the standard 802.11bg affair.

You also get a handy 2GB of online backup for free, for a year, courtesy of Dell’s SataSafe Online service. Dell makes this easy to set up, with a shortcut again sitting in the dock, but note that services such as Mozy offer a similar amount of online backup for free as well – and your subscription won’t run out after a year.


Nevertheless, we can’t fault Dell for the value it packs in. If you opt for the quick delivery version, you’re getting a lot of hardware for the money, and one of the best screens we’ve seen in a sub-£300 netbook.

But we also can’t conclude without reiterating those frustrations: the Mini 10v’s below-par battery life and terrible trackpad are unnecessary in a modern netbook, and if you’re willing to spend another £20 inc VAT on the N110 then we urge you to do so.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions261 x 183 x 30mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.4kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N270
Motherboard chipsetIntel 945GSE Express
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 950
Graphics card RAM128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity139GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA
Hard diskWestern Digital WD2500BEVT-75ZCT2
Optical disc technologyNone
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity2,100mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT£69
Replacement battery price inc VAT£79


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportno
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationBase
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 28min
Battery life, heavy use2hr 0min
Overall application benchmark score0.42
Office application benchmark score0.55
2D graphics application benchmark score0.34
Encoding application benchmark score0.39
Multitasking application benchmark score0.43
3D performance (crysis) low settingsFail
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows XP Home SP3
OS familyWindows XP
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedMicrosoft Works 9, McAfee Security Center (15-month licence), Dell dock

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