Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410

Diddy desktop with designs on your telly

Specs appeal

The layout of ports and sockets at the rear has been changed from that of previous versions. The VGA output now sits vertically, with the power socket located directly beneath it. The all-important HDMI slot keeps its place, as do the brace of eSata ports and four USB ports - two of which sit at the front - but there’s a new addition on the form of an optical audio output, making it quick and easy to hook up a set of 5.1 or 7.1 surround-sound speakers.

Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410

Living room stylish

If you can stomach paying a premium for Windows and not using it, the Zino HD 410 makes for a nice little Linux box. However, when I fired it up with Ubuntu 10.10, the Dell DW1520 wireless card wasn’t recognised and the rear analogue audio output failed to work, though the one at the front worked fine. I’m sure more experienced Ubuntu users will be able to fix both these issues, but my attempts failed.

Although the precise configuration I tested isn’t listed on the website, Dell assures me it can be ordered over the phone. However, for the same price you can now get a P860-powered version - basically a 100MHz increase over the P840 - along with a 1TB hard drive. The extra processing power will be virtually unnoticeable, but that extra 250GB of storage could well come in handy.

Verdict

The Zino HD 410 certainly fulfills its role as a home theatre PC, and with the inclusion of a triple-core CPU, Radeon HD 5450 graphics and optical audio output it’s also far better value than its predecessors. However, although more power is always welcome, I’d have preferred Dell to concentrate on improving its media credentials: a built-in dual TV tuner, for example, or perhaps slimmer dimensions. I also think this configuration is overkill for what most people are likely to use it for, with the cheaper versions, starting at £300, representing better value. ®

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Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410

Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410

Compact, stylish desktop that's no hardcore games machine but could make a neat media centre.
Price: £529 (as reviewed) Prices from £299 RRP