Let’s discuss all the good stuff about the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook (and I do mean ALL the good stuff). It has a phenomenal battery life. “Hours and hours” is the best way to describe it. It is totally silent, because it has no moving parts. It has 3G built-in (which actually works) and is about as small as a PC gets. Now that’s out of the way, let’s start the review shall we?
The Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook is quite simply the worst PC I have ever seen or used. There are so many fundamental and important flaws with this machine; I honestly don’t know where to start. I suppose the physical layout and build quality would be a good jumping off point, so we’ll start there, then work our way through everything. Pull up a chair my friend, because we’ll be here a while…
First off, the keyboard is worse than a Psion 3. On a device that’s geared for internet use (hello? NETbook!? You know, like the internet!? With dots and stuff..?), why the fuck is the “dot” button (period, if your American) so damn small? Unless you are looking at it, trust me here, you will hit one of the adjacent keys by mistake. With so many Netbooks of almost identical spec on the market, there’s your reason not buy it right there. Want more? Read on.
There’s no activity light. Now I know that it’s solid state, so there is no hard drive, but with a machine this slow, you really need to know if it’s busy or if it has hung. With a normal PC, you can gauge this with HDD noise (or heaven forefend, a blinking LED), but with this thing? Nothing. I tried upgrading Google Chrome to 2.0 (a simply awesome browser, by the way), but I gave up after 20 minutes. Did it hang? Was it busy? Frankly, I couldn’t give a shit.
Unlike the Acer Aspire One, if XP breaks, there is no factory restore image available. Because it’s only got 8GB of SSD storage, XP System Restore is turned off by default. The only way to obtain ANY technical support (including vital driver downloads) is by registering to obtain a service ID. Well fuck that, but guess what? If XP does break, there is absolutely no way to fix it. Fancy attempting a network boot, or creating an XP install image on a USB stick? Well you’d better get used to it, because it’s only a matter of time, baby.
I wouldn’t be so hard on the Dell, except for the fact that it contains almost exactly the same hardware as the Acer Aspire One, or any number of netbooks out there. Yet Windows is so slow, it’s absolutely unusable. It even uses the same graphical chipset as the Aspire, but the Dell Mini 9 only allocates 64MB of system RAM for video, whereas the Aspire allocates 256MB, but that’s not even the point.
I tried as hard as I could to speed this Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook up and like it. Obviously I couldn’t wipe it and go back to the factory-installed windows installation, but even with all un-necessary software removed, the “disk” defragged, lean antivirus and nothing else, it still runs like a total dog. Could it be that the SSD memory is to blame? I don’t know and quite honestly, I don’t care. I’m just happy that I didn’t pay for this unusable piece of shit.