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Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook

The Small, Cheap Computer is back. Hurrah!

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By way of a battery test we ran put the 10v through its paces playing a standard-definition H.264 video at full screen with the screen brightness turned all the way up to 11 and the Wi-Fi radio switched on. This yielded a result of 5 hours 8 minutes, which puts the 10v up amongst the better performing netbooks and equates to a real-world battery life well in excess of six hours. The absolute best we managed was eight hours 32 minutes with the Wi-Fi radio off and the screen brightness turned right the way down.

Video Playback Battery Test Results

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

Longer bars are better

Sound is provided by a couple of 1W stereo speakers tucked away in the front of the chassis. The noise they make is no match for the Samsung N120's speaker system but it is certainly an improvement over the sound put out by the Mini 9 or 12, or the Acer Aspire One, for that matter. Videos can be watched with the volume turned up to the max with no distortion whatsoever.

Dell bundles the Mini 10 with a handy one-piece power plug which makes for easy transport but neglects to supply a slip case of any type with which to actually wrap it all up. Just a little parsimonious, that.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

Choice of colours

Price-wise Dell have hit the nail firmly on the head, getting the basic 10v in below the psychologically important £200 barrier, including shipping. Cough up another fifty quid and you can have Windows XP and a 160GB HDD. If you fancy more storage but don't want to go the Windows route the optional 16GB SDD will cost you an extra £40 as will a 120 or 160GB HDD. Want the larger six-cell battery? That will be an extra £40 as well. Dell clearly likes the number 40.

Verdict

The Mini 10v takes the netbook back to its Small, Cheap Computer ideal and the end product is difficult to seriously criticise - the rather dowdy styling, silly SD card slot design and crippled out-of-the-box Linux OS notwithstanding. Of course, the first is a matter of personal taste while the last can be fixed by a quick Ubuntu upgrade so that only really leaves the rather dozy SD card slot and that's really not a reason to not buy one. ®

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85%
Dell Inspiron Mini 10v

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook

A cracking little SSD Linux netbook that we liked so much we bought one. But install a more up-to-date version of Ubuntu, OK?
Price: £199 with Linux, 8GB SSD, £239 with optional six-cell battery RRP

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