The Ethernet port is only 10/100Mbps, rather than Gigabit and there's no HDMI connector, just VGA. You get the usual three USB ports, 3-in-1 card reader and 3.5mm audio jacks, yet none of the USB ports will charge your mobile devices when the 10 is switched off. Unlike some previous Dell netbooks the RAM is not soldered in, so it can be upgraded to a maximum of 2GB but the job involves removing the keyboard.
No 802.11n Wi-Fi and no Gigabit Ethernet either
According to Dell the 10 is available with three types of battery: a 28WHr 3-cell unit and two 6-cell units rated at 56 and 60WHr. We could find no way of ordering the more powerful 6-cell power pack. Presumably, it will ship with the hi-res, 1366 x 768 screen option when that appears later in the year. Our Windows 7 Starter review unit came with a standard 56WHr, 5600mAh 6-cell battery so it's likely the entry-level XP version gets the smaller power pack. The new Mini 10 runs Windows 7 Starter with much the same grace and pace as the Samsung N140 and N220, which means it is tolerable, as long as you aren't in a hurry and don't expect your applications to snap into action like an army salute. At least Windows 7 brings with it WMP12 with its native support of H.264 video. This, when combined with the new chipset, does make Pine Trail netbooks rather more competent HD video players than their GMA950 equipped forebears, although 1080p playback is still touch-and-go.
While on matters OS-related a quick boot from an Ubuntu 9.10 memory stick highlighted no problems with the Dell wireless card, keyboard touch pad, 1.3Mp web cam or built-in microphone, all of which worked out of the box.
Our usual PCMark05 benchtests and the VLC battery test revealed, once again, that the main advantage to be gained from Intel's new netbook chippery concerns battery performance. In short, the new machines do nothing much better than the old, they just do it for longer. Actually, a lot longer. The best we managed to ring from a full charge was 8hrs 45mins with the Wi-Fi radio on for about half that time and the screen brightness dialled down to 40 per cent. Our standard VLC video test produced a result of six hours on the nose which compared well to the Samsung N220 which has an extra 300mAh on tap while 3DMark06 turned in a not unexpectedly wretched score of 164.
Next page: PC Mark 05 Results
Is it a good Hackintosh?
It's predecessor (Mini 10V) made a fantastic Hackintosh almost straight out of the box with very little work, so it'd be nice to see how easily OS X can be got up and running on this new model. It would be even nicer if this came in a Linux flavour to try this out - no point paying the MS tax when you've already bought your own OS.
Performance figures across the board place it in a decent position amongst the competition and seems consistent so it should make a good all-rounder.
What a shame
We have a Ubuntu SSD Mini 10v, and it's perfect for day to day surfing and basic productivity tasks like writing docs (wifey uses it on the train into work sometimes). Being just below the £200 mark it was a no-brainer to buy, and being SSD it can survive being (frequently) knocked off the coffee table by the cat. I even used it to do some MySQL development for my sister-in-law.
So what do we have now? Costs more than the what-the-hell-why-not price point of £200. Windows (bleck, but I at least would be happy to have XP, rather than Vista+) and no SSD. FAIL on all counts.
No more netbooks for me
I've discovered the Lenovo X100e. 11.6" display, enough grunt under the hood to run 720p videos, the usual ThinkPad construction (although it is plastic) and a quite magnificent keyboard. So it's £400 - but that extra £100 buys you a whole lot more functionality than any netbook on the market for very little extra weight.
I'd recommend that the Reg review team get one in and take a look-see; if only to save a couple of souls from the increasingly depressing netbook market.
The only models they offered were cripple, not marketed and hidden on their website. MS probably told them to do that to so that they could continue to say that sales of Linux boxes weren't worth it.
But that wasn't really my point.
They should be compelled by law to offer a "no OS" option. What we have now is more like an MS led cartel.
MS told them 2
BigYin said "I know you might find a page or two should that, say, HP sell a SUSE laptop; but you can't actualy buy it."
HP do sell non-Windows netbooks - PineTrail too from what I can see - although most of them aren't available direct from HP, you've got to go to your friendly HP Reseller. Interestingly enough, all the Linux options are only given on the "Business" section of the HP UK site - they also appear to be pretty "stripped" compared to their Windows equivalents. Naughty HP!
If you're interested look for the 5102 and 2102 - my reading of the website is that the former may be available from HP directly soon.
That said, I'd be more interested in the 210-1016SA that's on the home site - less than UKP200 (inc VAT) - but with a spec that looks to be very similar to the Dell's. Okay, it's Windows7 "Dumb edition", but for the price I'd be content to zap it and put on something penguin-friendly.