What happens when you take a standard desktop computer, shrink into a neat, smooth, compact form just smaller than a shoebox and make it shiny and white? Well the Apple Mac Mini of course, but what if you then give it some more exciting colours, add a load more customisation and make it that little bit cheaper? The new Dell Inspiron Zino HD.
Looking a little like a Mac Mini that’s let itself go, the Zino HD was officially introduced to the world today boasting versatility “… enough to handle tasks from basic computing chores to driving a big-screen, high-definition video media centre” and colours to “add flair to any room in the home”. So with claims like that it’s definitely worth a look at.
Obviously the main selling point of the Zino HD is it’s form — there is no point buying one of these if you are looking for a gaming powerhouse or something to take with you on the train, it’s aimed at the grey area in between where you’re looking for something to do the basics that won’t break the bank and manages to look pretty neat at the same time.
It has a form of only 20x20x9 cm (give or take a few millimetres) which makes it perfect for sitting in the corner of a desk which will please those either short on space or a little bit minimalist (/OCD !). Moving onto the colours, something I’m generally not too fussed about but which is a major selling point for Dell, and although I would disagree with the extent that Dell overplay the options the 6 different colours and 3 ‘unique’ designs, it is nice to see some colour and originality and it makes a change from the Mac Mini offerings (white, white or, err…, white)!
However it is true that looks aren’t everything even if they are as impressive as the Zino’s and it’s worth looking at the specifications both internally and externally. The temptation as you try and squeeze your computer into a nice looking small box is to start to cut down on the ‘important’ parts, and whilst it would be unfair to say that it’s especially bad the specs are hardly going to amaze you.
The range of available components is relatively large so I’ll look at both the base model and the ‘top of the range option’ which should give a good idea of what you can expect from the Zino. The base model comes in at £299 which is significantly cheaper than its Apple counterpart, but then it also has a lower spec to replicate this price drop.
It has a AMD A64 2650E 1.6GHz processor, Integrated HD 3200 Graphics, 2GB RAM, a 320 GB HDD and a DVD drive, whilst the most expensive option boasts a AMD X2 6850E 1.8GHz processor, ATI Radeonâ„¢ HD 4330 512MB graphics, 6GB RAM, a 1Tb HDD and a Blu-Ray drive to round it off. However as you would expect this warrants a pretty steep price hike up to £719; all machines also come with Windows 7 Home Premium.
But as I said a whole host of other combinations are also available (as well as the option to include a monitor in your package) and I think this is what puts the Zino HD above the Mac Mini in my opinion — whilst the Mac Mini may have a higher spec that isn’t what you want these types of computers for, the same could be said for the recently featured Zotac MAG PC which is another small form-factor PC.
Yes they are versatile but not to the extent that you would consider buying one to do anything strenuous, more to do little tasks or as a media PC which the Dell Inspiron Zino HD will do perfectly as well. Added into that the fact that it looks stylish and is small enough to sit on a corner of a desk looking pretty and you’re onto a winner and a real Mac Mini contender! Dell would appear to be developing a habit of producing small, well designed computers these days such as the Dell Adamo and more recently the Dell Adamo XPS – are you liking the look of these new small form-factor computers that Dell are coming up with and will you be looking to buy one soon?