mini 10 tuner

The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is the only netbook I’m aware of that comes with GPS and built-in TV tuner options. But is it worth shelling out the extra cash for those features? The folks at Laptop Magazine took a TV tuner-equipped Mini 10 for a spin. The verdict? It does a pretty good job of picking up TV signals, at least if you’re sitting close to the broadcast towers.

The reviewer was able to pick up 22 digital stations by using the laptop outdoors a few blocks from Times Square in New York City. And that’s without using an external antenna.

I’m pretty sure most of the broadcast towers in that area are on top of the Empire State building, so the signals didn’t have to travel very far. But it’s still pretty impressive, and the picture quality was reportedly pretty good, while the video was a little choppy.

The netbook featured in the review didn’t have a GPS receiver, but it did have a high definition 1366 x 768 pixel display. Unfortunately, the Intel Atom Z530 CPU and Intel GMA 500 graphics had trouble pumping out 720p WMV video to fill that display.

I’d be interested in seeing how well Dell’s TV tuner would perform with a netbook that has an Intel Atom N270 or N280 CPU. I borrowed a friend’s USB TV tuner and plugged it into an Asus netbook with an Atom N270 CPU a few weeks ago, and it was able to handle ATSC HD video signals without a problem. Of course, the netbook also had a lower resolution 1024 x 600 pixel display, so you wouldn’t really notice whether you were watching SD or HD video.

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14 replies on “Dell Inspiron Mini 10 w/TV tuner reviewed”

  1. Hi,

    I have the same issue with a brand new one. 5 hous of wasted time with techs in India. were you able to resole the problem?



      1. I bought my mini10 last year with tv tuner. I’m also facing the same problems. I watch tv for 40 minutes and then a blue screen of death pops up.

      2. Hi,

        Dell finally sent me a new hard drive. I did notice that it was a different brand than the one that came with it. I installed it, and the blue screen issue has not come back. Has been working fine since.

  2. Having the same problem. Works for 45 mins or so then blue screens and makes a non-stop noise.

  3. I have a brand new Mini 10 and I keep getting a “Blue Screen of Death” when I’m using the tuner. Dell has replaced the motherboard, SIMM card reader and video card thus far and they’re supposed to replace the tuner early next week. Anyone else had this problem? Is it worth me getting repeated repairs or should I just ship the POS back?

  4. Also remember that in a demo that Jkkmobile did of first RunCore Pro IV Sata SSD that the numbers showed that DELL was restricting the bus speeds of the unit that was being tested. Note that this might be an issue in the choppy speed seen (some manufacturers want to make the netbooks seem slower so as to beef up the sales of their larger more expensive laptops).

    To solve all that – due out maybe this fall sometime is a fast netbook solution:

    ARM Qualcomm Snapdragon netbook demo at Computex would have NO PROBLEM pushing this level of video at all…

    Computex 2009 with ARM and Qualcomm

    Snapdragon Eee PC First Hands on

    Add a Pixel Qi screen to the above design, and you have all day, direct sunlight readable, system use (where the video is fast).

  5. I have use an external tuner with the EeePC 100HE; and o be honest with you it looks pretty good. But the catch is that the tuner that I am using us made by OnAirGT which is about 150.00 US. Not a cheap proposition.

  6. Maybe some techie out in netbookland will elaborate on the reasons for using the Intel Atom Z530 CPU and Intel GMA 500 combination in a netbook that will be receiving TV signals.

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