We are a little disappointed to see that Dell is not offering Linux or SSD versions of the new Mini and, of course, having to cough up for a Microsoft OS license, even if you don't want it, has a cost implication. So the new Mini 10 range starts at £229, £30 more than the entry level machine in the old range and for that you get a machine with Windows XP. Surely offering an entry level version with Ubuntu pre-loaded would make more sense than upping the price and installing antediluvian XP?
Longer lasting battery, but still typical netbook performance
The Mini 10 also comes with a smaller than usual HDD at 160GB. If you want Windows 7 the cost of your Mini will rise to £280 while an extra 90GB of storage – when on offer, we saw it one day but it was gone the next – will raise the price to £300. For that sort of money you can get a Samsung N220 with Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. As is often the case with Dell, offers change rapidly and, on the day this review was completed, the company was offering a 250GB Mini 10 with Windows 7 for £280 which isn't bad value.
Minor exterior changes and new Atom chips aside, the 2010 Mini 10 is hard to get too excited about. Gone is the sub-£200 option, gone is the choice of Linux or a robust solid-state drive. In return, the price has gone up and you get nothing more than an improved battery life and better battery pack fit. You don't even get Bluetooth as standard. On the plus side, the new 10 is a well made and not unattractive machine that does still – just, and on the right day – have value for money on its side. ®
More Netbook Reviews...
Dell Mini 10
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.