It’s alive!

by krisrowland

First impressions of the Dell Mini 9:

  • Completely silent!!! Seriously… There are no moving parts inside to cause the typical fan-whoosh or HDD clicks. It’s totally silent. The only thing I could hear was the whining of the electronics when I brought the base of the unit up to my ear (not something I’d do often). I didn’t realise how strange this would be; after pushing the power button, there really is no way to tell that the unit is on, save for the activity on the monitor. Remarkable.
  • Very easy to use. The keypad is responsive and feels nice – the pad is even integrated with the palm rest! The keyboard is cramped, as expected for a UMPC; the alpha-numeric keys are quite useable but the function keys are very fiddly. Nothing a bit of practice can’t fix, though. The placement of the secondary-function pg-up, pg-down, home and end keys is really great (up, down, left and right keys, respectively). Intuitive.
  • Lovely screen resolution (1024×600) thanks to the tighter DPI compared to older UMPCs. Has the feeling of a full-size screen that’s been shrunk.
  • Fast boot time: 20 secs max. Still to test thoroughly. Restore from hibernation: 10 secs. max! V. impressive!
  • Wireless in XP `just worked’ (WPA1 security) as expected. I’ll be interested in how the Linux distros go. Having major issues getting WPA1 working under Ubuntu Hardy on my girlfriend’s laptop (I’m tempted to *gasp* put XP back on).
  • Battery life appears to be reasonable. The 4 cell battery looks like it’ll give me about 3hrs+ on a full charge tonight; something I’m definitely not used to with my current (pun!) power-hungry ASUS A6k.
  • Generally fast to respond with general tasks. No big difference to any other laptop running XP that I’ve used – possibly even faster 🙂
  • Lots of useless software installed with XP: McAffee, Dell Video Chat, Google Desktop, etc. Uninstalled them all immediately.

I’m pleased beyond expectations with my Dell Inspiron Mini 9. Bargain for ~AU$600. I hope my tune doesn’t change once I start with the Linux install (prob. openSUSE).

This whole post was written using the unit in about 20 mins.