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Dell Inspiron 910 (Mini) Review & Opinions

Discussion in 'Notebook News and Reviews' started by 727stretch, Sep 26, 2008.

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  1. 727stretch

    727stretch Notebook Enthusiast

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    This is a post I made on the Dell Forums. I thought I'd share it here as it is relevant.

    I am going to take a few minutes and share my brief experience with the Inspiron 910, aka Dell Mini. My order arrived this morning (this was last Tuesday) and it's already on it's way back to Dell. Now, before I go on my rant here, this was not the right product for me, but there are folks who undoubtedly will love it. But there are a few alarming qualities I want to share with y'all.

    I was extremely impressed at how well-built the Mini was. Mine was white, and looked real sharp. There was no flexing or squeaking/creaking of any part of the chassis. Substantial is a good word to describe it. The keyboard actually isn't all that hard to type on, but I'd say that 75% of the population will need to spend a few days getting used to the somewhat cramped keys. I wasn't exactly peck-typing on it, but was nowhere near the 70 WPM I'm usually at. Unfortunately for me, that's where the positives end.

    In my opinion, the Mini's performance was absolutely horrible. With that said, I wasn't expecting a powerhouse, but I had heard very good things about the Atom processor and I know that Win XP is not a demanding OS nowadays. What makes the performance so bad is all of the junk that Dell pre-installs on the PC! I counted 12 startup programs, ranging from Google Desktop, to Dell Support Center, to HD Audio/Special Effects control center, McAfee Security, Webcam software, Bluetooth modules, and a few other Dell proprietary apps. We're talking about a netbook here with a 16GB (only 14GB useable) hard drive... why in the world does Google Desktop come with it? Google Desktop might be good for someone with tons of files on a more powerful PC, but it practically brought the Mini to a halt. Dell Support Center took 5 minutes to start up the first time - 5 minutes! Why does the webcam software and audio effects software (in which you can make audio sound like you're in an ampitheater, etc.) have to load at startup? The two tiny speakers on the Mini can barely play music at a decent level to begin with. I think Dell just threw their normal slate of bloatware on the Mini, without regard to the fact that it's a special niche PC with limited resources. Performance aside, there was a little over 10 GB left after all of Dell's stuff and the OS was installed- still enough for some storage and a few apps.I should note that in anticipation of my Mini arriving, I bought a Kingston 2GB DDR2-800 SODIMM and immediately replaced the supplied 1GB RAM stick with the 2GB I bought. This did not appear to help. :mansad:

    My other gripe is regarding the screen. The LCD itself has a beautiful glossy covering, but the resolution is such that it causes some things to appear out of proportion - almost like they're being squished down or something. It was very awkward to view even the Win XP icons on. I tried to tweak the settings but could not fix it.

    I think the Mini would be great as a kid's first computer, or a non-power user/very mainstream user who does not have high expectations and simply wants to surf the web and check e-mail. Even MS Office/OpenOffice would strain to run well on this. Forget using Photoshop or any picture editors. It is light, it is well-built, and it looks nice, but just keep in mind its severe performance and storage limitations when making a purchase. And I can't stress enough that any sort of techie who values, or is used to good performance should avoid the Mini at all costs. I imagine that reformatting the hard drive and installing just XP (or going the Linux route) and the basic drivers would result in a bit better performance, but still I think running any sort of office apps would be a challenge for this system.

    As for me, I ordered a XPS M1330 right after I shipped the Mini back. I also sold my ASUS M50Vm-B1 that was a bit on the heavy side. The 1330 is the perfect size vs. performance mix for someone wanting only one laptop (I have a desktop for primary use). The Mini would be perfect if it had a slightly bigger screen, say 10" and a more common resolution like the MSI Wind, and a beefier processor without all the Dell bloatware pre-installed. I hope my experience helps some people make the right choice in laptop. Dell makes great PCs, it's just a matter of choosing the right one!
     
  2. dougjr

    dougjr Notebook Consultant

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    ....hmm so you needed a xps 1330 but you got a mini....
     
  3. 727stretch

    727stretch Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just love it when the wise remarks start coming in... were you offended that the Mini was not for me, dougjr? LOL

    I need a PC that works. I want a laptop that has features I desire. In this case it's something more portable than my nearly 7 lb. Asus. The Mini was too portable for me, which is why I wrote the review to begin with. The XPS M1330 / Inspiron 13 are the next up size-wise in Dell's line-up so naturally those are what I looked into next... and come to find out I got the XPS for what I thought the Inspiron would cost. So no, I didn't need a XPS M1330 and got a Mini.
     
  4. Cin'

    Cin' Anathema

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    Hey there,

    I'm sorry that the I9 didn't work out for you.:( The review was a good read. :)

    For me, liking a *certain notebook*, is a personal choice. You received it, tried it out, and it simply did not work to your liking, period.

    So, now you can move forward looking for that notebook..that will *work for you*

    Good luck!

    Cin ;) :)
     
  5. dougjr

    dougjr Notebook Consultant

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    I have an old Inspiron 1300 with 256 ram and a 1.60 GHZ processor that runs MS office quite fine so there is no reason that the mini would have any problem running it. It also still has all the bloatware that you speak of on it so that combined with the other reviews leaves your assumption baseless. Granted it wont be nearly as fast as 1525 or the 1330. This paragraph:

    I think the Mini would be great as a kid's first computer, or a non-power user/very mainstream user who does not have high expectations and simply wants to surf the web and check e-mail. Even MS Office/OpenOffice would strain to run well on this. Forget using Photoshop or any picture editors. It is light, it is well-built, and it looks nice, but just keep in mind its severe performance and storage limitations when making a purchase. And I can't stress enough that any sort of techie who values, or is used to good performance should avoid the Mini at all costs. I imagine that reformatting the hard drive and installing just XP (or going the Linux route) and the basic drivers would result in a bit better performance, but still I think running any sort of office apps would be a challenge for this system.

    Minus the statments on performance and ms office would have been a great summarization of the mini and its intended uses.
     
  6. 727stretch

    727stretch Notebook Enthusiast

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    dougjr,
    My assumption is based on the fact that the Mini had difficulty running Dell Support Center, which is less resource-intense than MS Office. It is not a baseless claim. You clearly have very strong views, which is fine, but it isn't really polite to call others' opinions baseless...
     
  7. dougjr

    dougjr Notebook Consultant

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    The fact that you posted the review saying that it probably couldn't run it without even trying it or looking at what others had to say about their experience leaves your entire review disappointing. You are correct your assumption was not baseless just erroneous.
     
  8. superxero044

    superxero044 Notebook Enthusiast

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    yeah it definitely runs office 2007 perfectly
     
  9. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    So I got to reading this paragraph and realized that until RIGHT NOW you probably had no idea of what a netbook is for. I mean, you talk about Dell not understanding its target audience, right? And yet you think it's a revelation that the netbook is not for hardcore gamers or power app users or whatever? Come on. Every single thread about netbooks talks specifically about how they are for people who want to do light computing without multitasking and have a small throw-away computer that they can use as a third-option.

    The only good thing about this thread was the fact that you realized your mistake almost immediately.
     
  10. lokster

    lokster Notebook Deity

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    LOL

    my old dell 8200 with 512RAM and Pentium M 1.7 Processor runs office 07 like a breeze. how can an intel atom strain with an office program. OFFICE ONLY! hello. there is no computer/laptop out there that can have trouble running office 07, lol what a joke xD

    this was a really senseless rant with no benchmarks or photos for proof, just some dudes opinion on how his dell mini sucks..and doesnt know why :p

    dude get an XPS or even a gateway here
     
  11. Micaiah

    Micaiah Notebook Deity

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    You can have 8GB of RAM in it and it wouldn't make a difference. Of course of with all that stuff trying to run at startup, it's going to bog the machine down. The Intel Atom is a single core processor that performs similar to a 6 years old mobile Pentium III processor, and the solid state drive getting bogged down with numerous I/O transfers on startup isn't helping either. You should have tried disabling all those programs from starting up, because it's really dumb of Dell to put all of that on there in the first place. My Wind starts up with the Realtek audio manager, AVG antivirus and the Bluetooth software and it performs quite well...for what it is.
     
  12. nomoredell

    nomoredell Notebook Deity

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    2 hands up for the support of this review!
    finally we see someone with sufficient computer knowledge stands up and voices his brutal honest opinion about netbooks.
    i bought an acer inspire one 2 weeks ago , that intel atom processor is so slow could literrally drive a monk insane.
    this is y2008 not 1998, we the consumers deserve better!
     
  13. Jokkon

    Jokkon Notebook Evangelist

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    I have had the acer aspire one for 2 days and it only had 512 mb ram and it ran office office real smooth.... I was actually pleasantly surprised by how fast the computer was, it ran youtube and flash movies on websites better than my p4 1.9ghz 1.5g ram ati radeon 8600 64mb desktop
     
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