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on March 16, 2010
I've not been a fan of that many netbooks out there, but this little guy really blew me away. I got to compare this netbook up against netbooks from ASUS, Acer, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Gateway (a pretty exhaustive line-up). There was a sharp contrast between Dell's Mini 10 series and netbooks made by the other companies. To me, the buying decision really came down to comfort and ingenuity of its design. I find others choosing this model mostly for the same reasons.

===== It's Comfortable =====
This thing is a dream to use. Most netbooks are unusable to me. What stings me most with netbooks is the keyboard. I'm used to the low-profile, "chiclet-style" scissor-switch keyboards that are (or at least used to be) most common in laptops, and in fact I love them. I'm referring to the type of keys that are flat and flush with the palm rest, and have a little flange or lip on the edges (where the space is between the keys). To see exactly what I mean, check out the close ups here on the right ( These types of keyboards make typing a breeze, as they won't inflict wrist strain due to tall keys or keys that require more force to press.

===== It's Innovative =====
The touch pad is small, yet clever, allowing you to press down on the bottom-left/bottom-right corners of the pad to left-click/right-click (respectively), rather than wasting space by implementing separate buttons. The touch pad is also very touchable, as its texture and finish is matte, rather than glossy, making it much more conducive to swiping your fingers across than most of the other netbooks I laid fingers on. Most netbooks' touch pads were glossy, making your skin shear and resist the dragging gestures. I find such a feeling to be nearly as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard! The other netbooks were also noticeably covered in oily smudges and finger grease, both inside the track pad and also on the wrist rest. Instant turn off for me on anything but the Dell! The Mini 10 on the other hand was smudge free, thanks to their use of an oil-resistant softly-textured palm-rest.

===== It's Brilliant =====
The display is crisp and bright, and it isn't too shabby outside either, though I recommend using full brightness when being used outdoors. My only complaint about the screen is its native resolution is a bit low for my tastes, which I hope isn't just a personal preference. I'd rather see more on the screen than to see things big and close up. However, this is par for netbooks anyway. You should look into this Sony ( if you absolutely must have a higher definition display while maintaining the small form factor of a netbook.

===== It's Media Friendly =====
The built in HD media excellerator and the 9:16 ratio widescreen 10.1" display is great for watching hi-def movies on the go, with one very important exception: you must have an external DVD (or Blu-Ray) drive. I recommend this Samsung ( which sports a sexy look, on par with the Dell 's own appeal, without sacrificing functionality. Video playback is generally smooth and very few hiccups in playback have been experienced.

===== It's Stylish =====
You wont mind being seen with one of these, especially given the choice of colors, you can't go wrong in customizing. Dell really puts their feet forward in coming through on their philosophy of customization. Some people buy netbooks for the look. If you're one of these vain PC users, you'll rest easy knowing you've got one sexy looking netbook! I chose the white, personally.

===== It's Capable =====
The Dell Mini isn't exactly your run of the mill netbook. Sure, it can do what the others do, and I've typically used it for writing and surfing the Web (after all, surfing was the original presmise of the netbook, hense the name). Just be sure to keep your browser tabs to a minimum and not install too many Firefox extensions, and you'll be fine. But it plays media, including Web videos, Flash sites and Flash games, at a decent pace. As long as you aren't trying to multi-task by running several other programs at once, you should be just fine.

Windows 7 starters is an ideal OS for the netbook, and it even outperforms XP in several areas, so you can't go wrong in using it. The memory card reader is an added bonus. I didn't think it would be all that useful, but it is a life-saver when traveling.

===== Processor and Battery =====
The Dell Mini 1012 features the Intel Atom N450, a 64-bit-capable single-core processor supporting 2GB max ram. It supports Hyper Threading, so mild (but not wild) multi-tasking is possible, within reason. Try not to run more than two apps simultaneously for best performance and battery life. Intel Speedstep Technology is also built in, helping you save battery life. We averaged about 7-8 hours compared to the boasted 9.5 using the 60WHr 6 cell battery.

===== What I Loved =====
* Keyboard design - 92% full-size!
* Touch pad design - genius usability features
* Wrist rest - comfortable, remains clean/streak-free
* 3 USB ports - 2-left/1-right is dandy for using a USB mouse
* Windows 7 - Vista isn't optimized for netbooks, 7 is
* 9:16 ratio display - great for movies (see above for DVD solution)
* Keyboard + Touch pad design - seriously! It hits the mark spot-on!

===== Dissapointments =====
The things we would have liked to see were:
* 802.11n support - the future is here!
* 1024x600 resolution - would have preferred at least 1280x720
* 5400 RPM hard drive -would have liked a faster SSD (even if smaller)

I hope you've found this review to be helpful! :)
1111 comments| 286 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Why 4 stars versus 5? The difference between 'I like it' and 'I love it'. I do like it! I like netbooks for web surfing and emailing, video chat via Skype and little else. Ideally the mini would have a DVD drive, more storage space, a better webcam and THEN I'd love it, but then it would probably be a notebook.

I purchased this item for my 12 year old daughter to access the internet to play online games (Disney's Club Penguin and Neopets), do basic research for reports and access her email. I wanted something that was ultra-portable, the right size for her small hands, possessing a brilliant display and a good battery life. I went to Dell first because I trust the brand. The Dell Inspiron Mini... did not disappoint.

What I like about it...

1. Great battery life with the 6-cell battery. Averages about 6 hours of solid use with the 6-cell. It does add to the thickness of the back of the unit, but it still fits easily into the case I purchased for it. Targus CityGear Netbook Case for up to 10.2 Inch Netbooks- Black and Grey TSM097US
2. The display is bright and clear.
3. The keyboard, while smaller than the full-sized one, is adequate and responsive.
4. The wireless connection is quick despite not being 'n-network' capable.
5. Trend Internet Security USB installed easily and uses very few resources, not bogging down the netbook.

What I wish was better...

1. Less heat! The bottom of the unit gets quite hot. I have to say this worries me. Longevity may be an issue.
2. The finish on the netbook is shiny. I wish it was more fingerprint resistant. I love the glossy black finish, but it does show every smudge.

What I'd love to see in the next generation of netbooks...

DVD drive, n-network ready and HDMI capabilities...with the same price point, battery life and mobility. Yes, I'm really talking about an ideal 'notebook' now, but can you blame me? I love the idea of a full-service mini notebook, and I'm sure we're headed in that direction with the Dell Inspiron Minis.

Mine came with Windows XP, not Windows 7, but I've used both and they seem equally zippy to me when accessing the Net. I am pleased with this purchase and would recommend it to anyone who would wants portability, speed and quality to access the internet, at a low price point.

I would not recommend purchasing this product if you have large hands, want to watch movies on your laptop (this could be done by purchasing this item: Samsung USB 2.0 8x DVD Writer External Optical Drive for Mac and PC SE-S084C/RSBN (Gloss Black), or wish to do video or photo editing; requiring more computing power - even with a proper amount of storage provided by a Patriot Memory Extreme Performance Xporter Magnum - USB flash drive - 64 GB - 210x - Hi-Speed USB or a Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive WDBABM0010BBK-NESN (Midnight Black).

However, if you know that you want a 'netbook' and not a 'notebook'... and understand its limitations...the Dell Inspiron Mini is a good choice!
11 comment| 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 2, 2010
Just purchased this computer. I thought the touchscreen left and right click buttons would be helpful, but after using it, I found it to be a hindrance. The main problem is that you cannot use two hands to navigate as you can on a regular laptop mouse set-up. I often left click with my left index finger, and sweep with my right. This is particularly evident when you try to highlight text. When you press down on the left click button, and also finger over the touch pad to color the text, the mouse wants to navigate in both directions (for each finger) and makes it very difficult to try to get the pointer to hover over one spot.
Very frustrating, and a deal breaker in my case.

On a positive, I can say I absolutely love the keyboard. Quality wise, It is OK, and I do like how the ac plug comes straight out the back which helps prevent side pressures on the plug. It is also a beefy plug, unlike the Esus which has the small adapter pin. The ac adapter itself is as compact as it could be.
0Comment| 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 19, 2010
I just got the Dell Mini 1012 Netbook... and choose this over ASUS 1005, HP 210 and Samsung mainly because of three reasons:

One, its feels solid...feel more like a laptop.. not any cheap old plastic netbook,
Second, the keyboard rocks, simply amazing to type... its not a chiclet keyboard :) but feels like a real-keyboard. I am typing a little over 80 WPM on it (thats what I get on my regular laptop).. :)
Finally, the screen is amazing, very clear and bright, better than ASUS or HP or MSI .. go to a store like BestBuy and see them in action and compare. YouTube picture quality has been amazing.

I have used the Atom N270 Netbook before, but the Atom N450 is cool.. I can run Powerpoint, Word Doc and Internet Explorer at the same time... and switching between the Apps without any delay.. almost like a regular notebook -- with N270 it literally used to hang :) Also, I am getting more than 8 hours of battery life with thoese Applications, which is cool.
0Comment| 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 2010
I spent weeks looking at various netbooks and eventually purchased the Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 for several reasons. First, I liked the keyboard when compared to other netbooks. The Mini 1012 keyboard was much easier to use and I had much fewer errors.
I didn't really like the touchpad on any of the netbooks I examined at store displays. My plan was to add a wireless mouse. After using the touchpad for several weeks, I'm getting better with it and I think I'll forget about the extra bulk of a mouse.
I planned on upgrading my netbook to 2GB of RAM and was discouraged by the lack of an access panel on the Dell. Many of the competitive models, from other manufactures, had a one screw panel on the bottom of their netbook which made swapping memory and the hard drive very simple. I have since upgraded my Dell Mini to 2GB and the procedure was not too difficult. Removing three screws from the bottom allows the keyboard to be lifted for easy access to the memory and hard drive.
The main reason I purchased the Dell was the included Windows 7 reinstallation DVD. The other netbooks had a recovery program on their hard drive, but no means of reinstalling the operating system if the hard drive failed or became corrupted by a virus. I've had to reinstall the operating system several times on my other computers and would be uneasy with a computer that lacked the option to reinstall from a disc. I have a USB DVD drive so optical media access is not a problem.
I see no speed issues with Windows 7 and prefer it over the older Windows XP. I removed the trial version of McAfee and installed the free version of Avast anti-virus. I think McAfee was slowing down the system. I also removed Microsoft Works and replaced it with Office 2007, which runs fine on the netbook.
I've read some reviews stating the Dell 1012 gets hot. I'm not sure if the extra RAM helps, but my system becomes only slightly warm after hours of use.

Finally, I like the Dell Dock screen organizing software that comes preinstalled.

I believe the Inspiron Mini 1012 offers the best features for a competitive price and I have no regrets about my purchase.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 19, 2010
I bought this netbook a couple of weeks ago. I purchased a refurbished version, which cost 33% less than what this one is listed for, so that is an option if you're looking to save a little money. This is my first netbook.

I think a lot of people use netbooks primarily for net surfing. Because the screen is wide but short, you spend a lot of time scrolling. Most web pages will take up half the vertical screen available on this netbook with ads, and you'll barely see the title of the page without having to scroll. If I was shopping again, I'd look for a netbook that was not as wide but had a taller screen - a different aspect ratio.

This was also my first experience with Windows 7 Starter. I use XP and Windows 7 at work, and Vista at home. So far I've had a favorable impression of Windows 7 at work after not being a fan of Vista. However, this Netbook has Windows 7 Starter, not Windows 7. If I was going to do it again, I'd get a netbook with XP instead. These netbooks don't have a lot of computing power, and Windows 7 starter sucks up a lot of resources. In fact, the netbook was running no less than 60 processes and 60% of available memory when we got it while just being turned on, not actually running any programs. With some pain, we've trimmed that down to 40 processes and 45% of available memory. In addition, Windows 7 Starter has random functionality stripped out, such as the ability to change the desktop background. So far, I haven't found anything important stripped out, but I'm worried about this. Instead, Microsoft tries to market buying up to some kind of enhanced Windows 7. (There is a link on the Start menu for purchasing an upgrade.)

My only other complaint is the touch pad. Instead of having two separate buttons at the bottom, you actually deflect the bottom of the touch pad. It takes a lot of force and is quite annoying compared to other laptops I've used. The pad is also very wide, making it easy to accidentally hit with your other hand while mousing. It's just not a great design.

Otherwise, the net book is good - bright screen, comfortable keyboard, very light and portable, and nice looking.

Overall, I think the list price, 300, is too much for this machine. I think it's a reasonable deal refurbished.
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on May 2, 2010
I was very happy with the delivery. I like the laptop but had to add 2GB of RAM and install Windows XP instead of the Windows 7 starter edition. It took 5 minutes to shut down. It seemed to run much quicker with Windows XP SP3. It also runs very warm. I gave Dell a support call just to give Windows 7 a chance but didn't have any luck with support.
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on April 24, 2010
Overall, very satisfied.
Batteries last a long time.
Venting is on the underside, which makes me wonder about placing the lap top computer in my lap!!
Not real happy with the touch pad, but do not know whether any worse than other computers.
The most unsatisfactory feature is the screen; no mater what one does, there is always a LOT of reflection.

A wireless mouse is an absolute necesity.
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on April 28, 2011
I bought this computer a year ago, and so far it hasn't given me any troubles. It is very small and light; it fits right into my purse! The battery life is also great--my batter still lasts over 7 hours on a full charge. I love this mini because it's so easy to take to a coffee shop or class, and I don't have to worry about breaking my back or finding an outlet. However, it is really only useful for simple tasks. I use it for Firefox, Microsoft Word, and to store my music. So if you want to do anything more complicated than this, I don't recommend this mini.
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on April 24, 2010
I agree with the reviewer who complained about the touchpad. It's the one thing I dislike about this computer. It's a great piece of hardware for the money. It's small and light (obviously); the keyboard is very nice (even for a guy who's 6'2" with moderately large hands); the small screen is quite workable (and I'm a heavy user of both of the large screens on my office desktop); it's thoughtfully laid out (eg USB ports on both sides).
I bought it to travel with, take notes with at meetings, do email, run itunes, maybe a little skyping (it has a built in camera) - that kind of thing, and it seems like it will do all those well. Would not want to have sit in front of it for 8 hours, but that's not what it was designed for. If the ipad with 3G was out, I might have bought that instead. My only reservation is the touchpad. Hopefully, there's a trick to it and I'll adjust.
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