Pricing and Availability

Dell is taking orders of the Inspiron Mini 9 models today. Like the Eee PC you can order the Mini with either Windows XP or Linux; the XP models will be shipping within the next 15 days, while the Linux versions will take closer to 30 days to make it out.

All Inspiron Mini 9 models have the same Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz), 945G chipset, 802.11b/g WiFi, 512MB DDR2-533, 10/100 Ethernet, VGA out, SD/SDHC/MMC/MS card reader and 8.9” 1024 x 600 display.

The base Inspiron Mini 9 will set you back $349, that configuration comes with Ubuntu loaded on a 4GB MLC SSD. You can upgrade to an 8GB or 16GB SSD for $35 or $75 respectively.

If you want 1GB of DDR2 instead of 512MB, the upgrade costs $25. there are two camera options: a 0.3 MP and 1.2 MP version, the upgrades are $10 and $25 respectively.

If you want XP, tack another $40 onto the price. Dell will be offering a $399 XP promo for quite some time with an 8GB SSD, it's actually a bargain if you value Windows XP.

With a lower base price than the ASUS Eee PC 901, the Mini looks more attractive but you get more with the Eee PC. Let's see what happens once we tack on some upgrades:

  ASUS Eee PC 901 Dell Inspiron Mini
CPU Intel Atom N270 Intel Atom N270
Chipset Intel 945G Intel 945G
Memory 1GB DDR2-533 1GB DDR2-533
Bluetooth Yes Yes
WiFi 802.11b/g/n 802.11/b/g
SSD 4GB on motherboard + 16GB card 16GB card
Battery 48WHr 32WHr
Camera 1.3MP 1.3MP
OS Xandros Linux Ubuntu Linux
MSRP $599 $494

 

If you configure the Inspiron Mini as close as possible to the Eee PC 901 you end up with a system that's got around a $100 advantage on paper. Now you can find 901s for closer to $560, and obviously with the 901 you get a bigger battery and 802.11n support, neither of which are options on the Mini, bringing me to my next point: if you buy a Mini, keep it bare.

The Inspiron Mini 9 isn't designed to be just like ASUS' Eee PC 901, Dell made some tradeoffs for very specific reasons. You don't have as large of a SSD on the Mini because Dell views this system as always being connected to the Internet. Your documents, pictures and perhaps even music will all be stored online (or on your iPod), so there's no need for mass storage on the Mini. I tend to agree with Dell's viewpoint here; in using the Mini I never once felt like I was running out of space, but I believe I was using it the way it was intended to be used - alongside other computers, not as my only machine.

You're fighting a losing battle if you're trying to outfit the Mini to be more than it is, honestly I'd give it a gig of RAM and a web cam and be done with it. If you want more functionality, performance or storage I'd suggest either looking at the Eee PC or a larger notebook. Netbooks like the Mini are very specific in their usefulness, start getting too ambitious and you're better off with a different device, otherwise you'll end up quite frustrated with your purchase.

Ubuntu The Platform: Inspiron Mini Dissected
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  • rowcroft - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    I have an Acer Aspire 1 - $349 for the 120GB HDD, XP (need it for WWAN card), 1GB RAM, but no bluetooth.
    Still, I think it's a much more compelling offer than either this or the Asus and suggest you get one to evaluate.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    I think that picture at the bottom of the first page shows why I hate glossy screens.

    What I am waiting for is someone to come out with a device that falls somewhere between an Epson P5000 and an Archos 5" internet tablet. Run a real OS, have a decent sized hard drive for music and photo downloads, multiple card readers, touchscreen, and the ability to go on the internet occasionally if it is around. Closest netbook is the Wind or possibly the Lenovo it would seem, but I wouldn't plan on typing enough to need a real keyboard.
    Reply
  • prophet001 - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    seriously, 118 wpm? how in the world did you get that fast? i've been typing everyday for 6 years and I can't type that fast. Any tips? Reply
  • preslove - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    I'm torn now between betting the Dell Mini 9 or the EEE pc 1000H. There really isn't any reason to buy EEE 901, since it is more expensive than the 1000H, which is $549.99, and is only .8 pounds lighter. The 1000H has a much roomier keyboard that is supposedly closer to a "real" notebook's keyboard than a netbook.

    Two major advantages of the 1000H over the Dell, though, are that it comes with an 80 gig hd and a 6 cell battery. Also it comes with 1 gig of Ram standard.

    Adding all the options to the Dell, Win XP, ram upgrade, camera upgrade, and bluetooh and it adds up to $494. That's $65 less than the 1000H, which has a better keyboard and a good sized hard drive, but is about a pound heavier.

    I wish these two were in stores so I could compare the weight and keyboards, as that would probably help be choose.

    One question: Can the Mini accept a 2 gig stick of Ram?
    Reply
  • tayhimself - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    Yes 2 GB RAM interest here too. The Acer Aspire looks good to me as well. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    10" netbooks actually start to become viable as a full-time laptop... almost. I'm not Ben, but I'm right with him in terms of typing on these things. I draw the line of comfort at 13.3" notebooks. Predictive typing would help some, but with the width of my shoulders I still end up feeling cramped on anything smaller. (Why can't I get a natural keyboard on a laptop? LOL)

    However, the above said, 10" is still small and I think too many people are looking at these as a full notebook/desktop replacement rather than a mobile device that supplements regular computer use. 2GB RAM and 80GB HDDs... and then next we'll need faster CPUs and discrete GPUs, and an optical drive, and.... It's a slippery slope, and I think you should either get a real notebook (13.3" or larger - or 12.1" if you don't mind the smaller keyboards) or understand that the netbook is not supposed to be a full notebook and use it as intended. For $350, the Dell Mini looks extremely promising.
    Reply
  • n0nsense - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    I think the perfect one should be:
    1. Little bit more powerful processor (Atom dual core or AMD X2)
    2. More advanced chipset (less heat more graphics performance and output options) which will allow playback of 1080p on TV.
    3. Normal 2.5" HDD/SDD options for upgrade.

    4. I would like touchscreen (multi touch is even better)

    The rest i think is very close to be perfect.

    The reason is for all this more performance is:
    Try to listen to some last.fm radio on the web + some fullscreen flash web page or game.

    And yes, i know, all this "more" will kill more expensive notebooks.
    Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    1) Yes, a dual-core Atom would be nice, but it is already multi-threaded (whoa, what's up with this text box, it's gone all funky!)

    1b) AMD (soon will) have a 22W 1.5GHz X2. I don't know how much power it uses when PowerNow! is enabled, but AMD need to get a standard Athlon 64 out first that has PowerNow! ranges starting from 400MHz at very low voltage first. They do have a 15W Athlon 64 coming out soon as well.

    2) This is the most important aspect, and where all the Atom netbooks are failing right now. It's almost criminal.

    3) Really unimportant, these are mobile companions. Bet Palm feels stupid in cancelling the Foleo, when it turns out that form factor is what people want.

    4) That Dell Linux interface would be perfect for touchscreen.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    You do know that Atom N270 is like 1.5W TDP, right? http://download.intel.com/design/processor/datasht...">Reference A 22W 1.5GHz X2 would use over 10X as much power as the N270. The problem right now is the chipset; we need Poulsbo. Reply
  • psychobriggsy - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    And the multi-threaded Atom is 2.5W, and the 64-bit Atom is 4W, and the dual-core Atom will be 8W.

    Also Paulsbo will suck, it's designed for MIDs, maybe the netbooks will be okay with it, but barely. It's a 130nm chip so however cool running the process they are using, it's limiting the clock speed of the GPU, and the number of features it can have.

    AMD have an 8W Athlon 64 already, and in reviews the platform consumes less power and outperforms Atom - in a desktop scenario.
    Reply

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