Dell Inspiron Zino HD
A PC to rival the Mac Mini, at last?
The use of the discrete Radeon HD 4330 GPU also gives graphics and video performance a bit of a boost and the Zino HD was able to play a selection of Blu-ray films on our Samsung HD TV with nary a stutter.
As a Blu-ray player with only 2.1 audio, can it really become a sitting room success?
Gaming performance isn’t a strong point, but is still adequate for the occasional burst of gaming action. The 3DMark Vantage benchmark software actually returned a score of zero, along with the helpful advice that “this score may not reflect the true performance of your graphics hardware”.
However, the Zino HD did manage a playable 28-30fps when running Far Cry at 1280 x 800 resolution, so it’ll be adequate for a quick burst of gaming when you – or your kids – get home from the pub on a Friday night.
Performing as a compact media centre for the living room, the biggest disappointment is audio support. This is limited to just analogue stereo or digital 2.1 output, with no surround sound configuration available in the Zino HD range. That seems like a glaring omission for a PC that is so clearly intended for use with HD and Blu-ray films that have 5.1 and 7.1 soundtracks.
Colour options cost extra – you pays yer money and you takes yer choice
The compact design of the Zino HD will certainly appeal to anyone that wants a neat and attractive media centre PC, or even just a snazzy desktop for day-to-day work. However, the 1.5GHz processor is a bit feeble, and if Apple can beat it with the similarly priced Mac Mini, then Dell certainly ought to be doing better on that score. Still, the Zino HD does offer a Blu-ray option that the Mac Mini lacks, and its video playback capabilities ensure that it will work well as all-round entertainment system. ®
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