Feeds
85%

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 with Vodafone HSDPA

The best netbook with integrated 3G goodness

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Running our standard battery life test, which involves playing standard-def video full screen on repeat, at maximum screen brightness and with Wi-Fi turned on, we found the Mini 9 could still give its rivals a run for their money. It came in just two minutes shy of the Advent 4213, giving it a mid-table placing for battery life.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Middle-of-the-road performer

The Vodafone-supplied model comes with XP pre-loaded - you'll need to go direct to Dell if you want the Linux version. You also get a copy of Microsoft Works thrown in to boot and thankfully, unlike the version seen on the Advent 4213, you don't need to sit through adverts while working away.

A copy of Vodafone's Mobile Connect software is also pre-loaded to manage the 3G connection and there's an SMS app included as well so you can fire off 160-character missives without having to resort to predictive text.

The SIM card slots in underneath the battery - which would normally be a bad thing, but since the only way to get a 3G enabled Mini 9 is with a new contract from Vodafone, chance of you wanting or needing to swap it out on a regular basis are slim.

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Shiny, sexy... fingerprint magnet

That's probably true of the Mini 9's internal workings too. But if you do fancy tinkering with the storage, memory, Wi-Fi and 3G cards, they're all easily reachable by removing just two screws and a panel on the Mini 9's base.

Verdict

Without doubt, the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is easily the nicest looking netbook on the market so far, and its performance scores show it's no slouch when it comes to crunching numbers. Despite its small footprint, it has a decent-size keyboard and provided you can live with the function keys being relegated to a secondary location, it's a good compromise.

On the downside, its SSD drive is not only small but also a bit on the slow side. The built-in 3G is also a bit of a mixed blessing as currently you either have to enter a two-year contract with Vodafone or go without completely. We'd much prefer at least the option of buying a 3G enabled Mini 9 outright - especially given that who knows what the laptop market will look like in two years' time. That said, if you're going to £25 a month to spend anyway, a free netbook certainly isn't to be sniffed at.

New hybrid storage solutions

85%

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 with Vodafone HSDPA

Dell's Inspiron Mini 9 is the nicest netbook out there, and you can't argue with the free price tag, provided you're happy with a two-year 3G contract.
Price: Free with two-year, £25-a-month contract RRP

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Quit drooling, fanbois - haven't you SEEN what the iPhone 6 costs?
How keen will buyers be when exposed to the real price?
Slap my Imp up: Bullfrog's Dungeon Keeper
Monsters need to earn a living too
Amazon axes hated Fire Phone price: 99 pennies but a niche? Ain't none
Forgive the double negative but seriously, no one wants this mobe
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?
Plus: 'NostrilTime' wristjob vid action
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.