Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dell spins lower-cost netbook

Dell has announced a lower-cost version of its popular Mini 10 netbook, which runs Ubuntu Linux. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10v sells for $300, offering a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, 10-inch display, 120GB or 160GB hard drive, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Dell's Inspiron Mini 10v)

Unlike the similar Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook announced in February, which starts at $350, or Dell's earlier Mini 12 model, the Mini 10v uses the 1.6Ghz Atom N270 processor typically found on netbooks. With the Mini 10 (pictured below, at right) and Mini 12, Dell had instead turned to Intel's Z5xx Atom CPUs ("Silverthorne").

Dell's pricier,
720P HD-ready Mini 10

(Click for details)

Because the Z5xx Atoms are smaller, use less power, and mate with an integrated chipset that saves even more power, they run cooler and last longer on batteries, says Dell. In addition, the N270 lacks the Z5xx-series' 720P HD video capability. Consequently, the Mini 10v also lacks the Mini 10's integrated HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) port and optional, not-yet-shipping HD tuner. Dell also plans to add a 2GB RAM option for the Mini 10, but not the 10v.

Although the screen is the same size, the Mini 10v is not an edge-to-edge display like the Mini 10, and its resolution tops out at 1024 x 576 pixels instead of the Mini 10's optional 720P display, which supports 1366 x 768 resolution. Otherwise the two netbooks are almost identical.

The Mini 10v offers 1GB of RAM, a 10/100 Ethernet port, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, a memory card reader, three USB ports, and audio I/O. The netbook is offered with either Ubuntu Linux 8.04 or Windows XP Home, installed on 120GB or 160GB SATA hard disk drives.


The Mini 10v offers a new passion purple color choice
(Click to enlarge)

Like the Mini 10, but unlike the Mini 9, the Mini 10v lacks an ExpressCard slot for a 3G modem. However, the device's 802.11a/g/n and optional Bluetooth 2.1 capabilities are said to be provided via PCI Mini Card slots. Like the Mini 10, the 10v features a keyboard that's "92 percent the size of a standard keyboard."


Dell Inspiron Mini 10v
(Click on either to enlarge)

Features and specifications listed by Dell for its Inspiron Mini 10v include the following:
  • Processor -- Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz)
  • Memory -- 1GB of RAM (soldered-in, not expandable)
  • Display -- 10.1-inch display with 1024 x 576 resolution
  • Camera -- 1.3 megapixel webcam
  • Storage -- 120GB or 160GB HDD; 8GB or 16GB SDD
  • Networking -- 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11g or 802.11a/g/n wireless networking
    • Bluetooth 2.1 (optional)
  • Audio/Video I/O -- VGA out; headphone out; mic in
  • 3 x USB
  • Expansion:
    • SD/SDHC/MMC/MS card reader
    • 2 x PCI Mini card slots (occupied by WiFi and Bluetooth cards)
  • Dimensions -- 10.26 x 7.19 x 1.11 inches (261 x 182 x 28.33mm)
  • Weight -- 2.6 pounds (1.2kg) with three-cell battery
  • Colors:
    • Obsidian Black
    • Alpine White
    • Cherry Red
    • Ice Blue
    • Promise Pink
    • Jade Green
    • Passion Purple
  • Operating system -- Ubuntu Linux 8.04; Windows XP Home SP3
Availability

The Mini 10v is on sale now, starting at $300, says Dell. More information may be found here. A Dell blog on the netbook may be found here.

Dell spins lower-cost netbook

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