Dell Mini 10

Dell Mini 10

Well I’ve had my Dell Mini 10 for about a week now and I’ve enjoyed it so much I thought I would write a bit about it. I’ve had 4 Dell laptops including this one and this one has by far been the most portable and affordable system I’ve ever purchased.

It arrived in about a week and a half after I ordered it. The package was about 6 pounds. The box was about the size of a full sized laptop but about half the weight, everything was inside! I opened up the box and plugged in the AC adapter and away I went. I wanted to see Dell’s take on Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR ~ 8.04) so since they already installed that for me I checked it out. Other than a little sound issue that had me scratching my head it was nicely done, although I’ve never use UNR or UNR on 8.04 so I don’t know how well the default interface is. The sound issue was that even with volume maxed the sound was very quiet and that ended up being due to two sound settings (just like Windows silly me) and one of them was only half way up.

After that I threw on UNR 9.10 from USB stick and have to say, I like the interface a lot better. The subtle ways it’s optimized for small screens is really impressive from a design stand point. Making the application title bar share space with what ends up being a task bar saves you a fair amount of space already so that the file menu can be right against the task bar. Icons only in the task bar is another, albeit obvious, feature. The main interface that ends up being your desktop background is clean, crisp, big and beautiful. General navigation with the mouse is a breeze with the right side of the touch pad being for scrolling and the rest for regular mouse movement. The click buttons and using them while dragging objects was rather squirrelly at first as if it wasn’t understanding multitouch as it should, all is well now after some automatic updates though.

Dell Mini 10

Dell Mini 10

The keyboard layout, well there’s not much to talk about there. I wish it did have some more media buttons somewhere but I can live without that. I have mixed feelings about the brightness/volume being the default function of the function keys. You have to use the FN button to access the F1-12 keys and with Ubuntu/Linux this adds another key to a lot of commands. I like quick access to brightness/volume but I would have been just as happy to press the FN key to access them instead of having to do that for F1-12. There was something that I kept using the F2 key for and since I continually forgot to press the FN key I kept turning my wireless on/off which was a little frustrating.

Speed on this is just amazing! With the (small) SSD drive cold boots after POST take about 10 seconds to see the login screen. All the Compiz 3D cube-rendering wobbly-windows glory work great also. Battery time on a full charge has been about 6-7 hours I think, I got the 6-cell battery instead of the 3. It fits snugly into the sleeve I got for it even with the over-sized battery.

Well… other than that it has 3 USB ports, an SD card port, lock slot, AC adapter port, a VGA port, mic & headphone ports and a built in 1.3mp camera at the top of the glossy 10.1 inch screen. I believe that with the over-sized batter it weighs around 2 pounds, I don’t have a scale though so don’t quote me ;).