Dell Inspiron Mini 10v review
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.
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.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||261 x 183 x 30mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Atom N270|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel 945GSE Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||1|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,024|
|Resolution screen vertical||600|
|Resolution||1024 x 600|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 950|
|Graphics card RAM||128MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||139GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Hard disk||Western Digital WD2500BEVT-75ZCT2|
|Optical disc technology||None|
|Replacement battery price ex VAT||£69|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£79|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||no|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||Realtek HD Audio|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||3hr 28min|
|Battery life, heavy use||2hr 0min|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.42|
|Office application benchmark score||0.55|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||0.34|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.39|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||0.43|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||Fail|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows XP Home SP3|
|OS family||Windows XP|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
|Software supplied||Microsoft Works 9, McAfee Security Center (15-month licence), Dell dock|