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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  • mmntech - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    #3 is the most important IMO. While SD drives deliver great speed and load times, 8gb or even 16gb really isn't a lot. Once you get your music and videos on it, that space is going to get eaten up quickly. Carrying around portable HDDs or SD cards defeats the purpose of these systems. I don't understand why they aren't offering a HDD as an option as MSI, Asus, and Acer did.

    Other than that, this definitely looks like a solid system. Any chance on getting some Cinebench 10 benchmarks? I'd like to be able to compare the Atoms to my current laptop, which is a PowerPC Mac.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    A 2.5" HDD is absolutely huge compared to the form factor of these netbooks. At best, 1.8" HDDs are what you should look at, and honestly I think 4-16GB (and future 32 and 64GB probably) SSDs make a ton of sense. No moving parts, less heat, and lower power requirements are all things you want in such a small computer. Reply
  • advillain - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    Nice detailed comparisson. Why wasnt the Acer Aspire One included? maybe i missed an explanation in the article. For the price, the Aspire Ones are very nice. I have one with a 6 cell, and am able to web browse, msn, watch a vid or two, and have the battery last 5.5-6.5 hours (with lcd brighness turned down of course) Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the comments :)

    Unfortunately I didn't have the Aspire, although the Eee PC 1000 is on its way to me. I'll definitely do a followup with the 1000, although it is clearly a larger netbook.

    I'll see about getting my hands on the Acer model...

    -A
    Reply
  • rvikul - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    A netbook round-up would be perfect (pushing my luck?). Thanks for this review.

    (btw, Chrome is doing funky things with this comment box).
    Reply
  • Lonearchon - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    I agree the Acer Aspire One is closer in design to the Dell Mini. They both have glossy screens with LED back light. But the keyboard on the Acer is larger making it easier to type on. It does sacrifice the touch pad to accomplish this. Reply
  • Chadder007 - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    I thought the ASUS had an LED backlight also, I'd like to see the Lenovo thrown in for comparison too though. Reply
  • rvikul - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    Yes, why wasn't it compared with Aspire One which is more comparable to dell mini?

    I was really looking forward to that.
    Reply
  • dsity - Thursday, September 4, 2008 - link

    6 cell is 50% more than 4 cell? Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, September 5, 2008 - link

    dear god Reply

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