Dell has begun offering the Inspiron Mini 12 mini-laptop with Windows XP as an option. When Dell launched the not-quite-a-netbook a few months back, it was only available with Windows Vista. Now you can pick up an Ubuntu model with a starting price of $499 or a version running either Windows XP Home Edition or Windows Vista Home Basic for a starting price of $549.
According to Laptop Magazine, the computer is much zippier when running Windows XP than Vista. While some netbooks with Intel Atom N270 processors perform perfectly well with Windows Vista, the Dell Inspiron Mini 12 uses a slower Intel Atom Z530 CPU which seems to struggle with Vista.
via Laptop Magazine
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One advantage of the gimped Poulsbo platform in this machine is the good battery life. But Dell needs to have a bigger battery option as well.
Okay, so the Windowx version is $549 with an 1.33GHz Atom and a 4,200 40GB drive and no optical and a 3 cell battery. $30 more for anything other than black or white. 1GB of RAM. 1.1″ thick. 2.7 pounds. 1280×800 screen.
The MSI VR220 is available for $699 from Amazon with a 2GHz dual core processor, a 5,400 rpm 250GB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, an 8 cell battery, a DVD+/-RW DL optical drive. 1.2″ thick. 4.4 pounds. 1280×800 screen. In various colors at no additional cost.
As well as gigabit ethernet, a standard SATA laptop drive for upgradability, modem. And Vista Home Premium rather than Home Basic if you want to go that way.
Which would you choose?
If you’re happy with a 4-5 pounder, don’t buy an ultralight, because they cost more for weaker specs. But a four and a half pound computer is worlds away from a sub 3 pounder in terms of ease of carrying it around with you all day.
Most of the systems in the ultralight 12-13″ class are pricey systems like the ThinkPad X200 or the MacBook Air, which is great if you have a company that will buy one for you. The reason they’re so expensive is that using a 12-13″ screen (bigger, heavier, and more power-hungry than a netbook screen) and still keeping the system that thin (0.9″ in the front for the Mini 12), the weight that low, and the battery life as good requires using special components like 1.8″ iPod drives and an even lower power chipset. Also, those screens aren’t used for picture frames and portable dvd players like netbook screens, so they cost significantly more.
But again, it just depends on how important jumping from 4 or 5 pounds down to 3 is. If it won’t make a difference to you, get the heavier one.
BTW, for $50 more you can upgrade to a 1.6GHz model with a 6 cell battery. And for the same $549, you can upgrade to a 1.6GHz model with a 6 cell battery *and* upgrade to preloaded Ubuntu. 🙂
It’s about time they were able to load a better OS on it.
It’s a unique product that some people will hate, but might be perfect for others. As an ultralight 12″ with 1280×800 resolution, I don’t think it even has a competitor below $1000, but the fact that it’s slower than a lot of smaller netbooks and maxes out at 1gb of ram turns off a lot of buyers and confuses many of the rest.
If you need something better than 1024×600 but don’t want to shell out for a high-end machine, this might be the machine.
w00t! If they add an SSD option, I’m there. I’d rather a metal casing and a backlit keyboard, while you’re reading my mind, Dell.
Still got the crap drive, crap battery and crap screen though. It should have been so much better 🙁
I love the way this machine looks, but at $549 it needs something better than a small 4200 RPM PATA hard drive :
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