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on May 26, 2010
I purchased this netbook after months of shopping around, I own a 17" Dell laptop, but it was just to much to bring everywhere, and now that summer is here I like taking my motorcycle to work, making the 17" even more daunting.

I decided on the 7990BK in black to match my Studio 1737, I've owned Dell computers for years and never had a problem so I felt this netbook would be a safe bet.

Opening the box to this computer is really impressive, its very small, and actually very well designed. I removed the computer from the packaging and got right to work, removing the Dell installed programs and add-ons. I gotta say this thing is pretty fast for a 1.66GHZ processor.

I installed a new copy of Office 2007, and connected my external HDD to copy my work files over. All in all I'm very impressed with this machine, and it took alot to get it to choke up, but it never stopped, I put it through some tough testing last night and it didn't disappoint. With itunes, multiple excel created programs, 2 word docs, a desktop full of gadgets, websites, and movie playing in media player I was still able to play a few games of solitaire. This showed me I bought a pretty capable computer!

I do think Ill be upgrading to Windows 7 pro though, as Starter seems a bit lacking in features. I also think with another 1gb of RAM this computer will be a little powerhouse...especially with what I need it for.

I must mention the selling point of the keyboard being almost full size is reason enough to get this netbook! I have pretty big hands and most of the mini's I've tried were an inconvenience to say the least. Dell however got it right with the keyboard on the Inspiron Mini, its literally like typing on your desktop keyboard...and that's a good thing when you use your computer all day!

Also the battery life is quite impressive. To put it into perspective, I fully charged it after getting it delivered...unplugged it at 6pm, took it home and ran it all night long, at 1:30am it was still on, and when I took it to work it was at 10%...this was at 7am. I left the screen at full brightness and adjusted it for max performance, shutting the screen off after 20 minutes...I must say the battery life is top notch!

To wrap this up, Id say Dell hit it out of the park with there mini series Inspiron line, Ill continue to put this netbook to work, but with the addition of RAM, I think were gonna get along just fine. If you're in the market for a mini...look no further.
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on March 1, 2010
I was after a new netbook (owned an EEE 701)and thought I would go with the Dell this time around.

I found the Dell the most attractive package in early 2010 for the follwoing reasons:

1. comes with the new Atom 450 (should be a little more nergy efficient)

2. the 6-cell battery gives me more air time than the 3-cells batteries in so many other netbooks.

3. the keyboard is a pleasure to type on quickly.

4. the case is not only pretty but sturdy. No noticable flexing of any kind under pressure.

5. the screen is nice, colors vibrant.

6. touchpad is of a nice and usable size.

I've been using the Mini now for a couple of days and I'm not disappointed. I use it for light web surfing, emails, and typing (the classic core apps of a netbook). In addition, I use it for streaming music under my Zune subscription.

My expectations are met. Windows Starter only seems a bit of a bottleneck in terms of included (or lacking) features compared to Home or Professional. I couldn't figure out how to back up the Mini via a mapped network drive and as it stands, it must be a missing (or blocked) feature due to Windows 7 Starter Edition. Upgrading seems the better choice if one really wants to use the Mini for sharing and streaming at home.
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on November 4, 2011
I recently purchased a new desktop for one of my employees from Dell and was offered to buy this laptop for $99. Might as well try it for $100 and was I glad I did. I hated doing any test runs on my VAIO Z laptop as that is my personal laptop. Visualization is great and everything but call me old fashion as I rather have a solid dedicated OS running for work testing. This laptop is perfect sized for my dedicated testing. I dual booted it with two version of Windows 7, one for my personal use such as music listening and web browsing and the other Windows 7 purely for testing purposes. Can't do that with my VAIO Z as I am limited on space due to my SSD drive. Onto the Pros and Cons.

Pros:
-SMALL size and very portable
-Big enough hard drive at 250GB, larger than my SSDs so great for music and pictures.
-I had the 2GB ram version and would only recommend the 2gb as 1gb is simply not enough and will slow down the system.
-Great loud speakers while jamming to music. It's the type of decent loud while missing mids and bass but I am satisfy with the level of loudness. Much better than my VAIO
-A nearly fullsize keyboard. It is not that far off from the real thing.
-Amazing battery life. I don't even bring the charger with me anymore.

Cons:
-The VGA port is a little smaller than normal for some reason. I had to force it in. Same with removal. I had to hook it up to my KVM switch for ease of access while in my computer room.
-It came with alot of bloatware even though it wasn't much in the Add/Remove Program. I ALWAYS do a clean install on EVERY computer I purchase. It sped it up considerably. While not the fastest, it does get things done.

Other thoughts:
-They gave you a driver CD for clean install but there is no CD drive on this netbook. Luckily I have an external DVD drive from my servers.
-I am used to small screens because I almost always purchase the top of the line VAIO Z due to their portability so small screen is usual to me.
-The computer isn't that slow after clean install
-I wouldn't had mind paying full price for it now but that's only after I tested it. I wouldn't have tried if it was more than $100 but I am glad I did.

About me:
I love technology things and I am not here to brag about my VAIO Z but merely letting readers know that I am a power user. This netbook is more than sufficient for basic things. I also have 4 servers along with a custom build computer that was well over $4k. I don't know everything but I do at least know some basic computer hardware knowledge.
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on December 27, 2014
What a great little unit! Hard to locate but well worth the price! It came with Windows Starter, which does not work because Windows needs at least 2GB of memory, and the Dell 1012 comes with 1GB standard. I deleted Windows Starter, and installed Linux Mint 17, which for all intents and purposes looks like Windows 7 (on purpose, I'm sure) if you choose the 'Cinnamon' interface. It has the look and feel you know and are familiar with, all the buttons (keyboard, mousepad, sound, wireless, screen dim, etc) work flawlessly, and there are now a ton of Word/Excel/PowerPoint-compatible free apps out there now, which I guess is the curse of MS Office being the standard for so long. And I LOVE the keyboard. Full travel-like, with a great hard feel to the keys, not like the rubbery keys on cheap units.

So I now have a unit I paid $100 for, with Office, web browser, email, Dropbox and a couple of personal apps installed, and it runs fast enough that I decided not to spend the $35 for the 1GB upgrade to make it 2GB - yes, it's that good. I have not installed Wine, which runs some Windows apps under Linux, but the option is there if I need it; the Mint app downloader is a pleasant 'click the picture' now to download, no crazy compiling of files needed. Like I said, very like Windows 7. Oh, and for you people who are considering the HP Streak - this unit is half the cost, does everything the Streak does, and comes with a 250GB hard drive, unlike the Streak's 32GB. I have the option of storing data in the Cloud like the Streak, but in a year when your free cloud storage stops, you will see exactly how little you can do on a laptop with 32GB when the operating system is sucking up a ¼ of that. Overall, well pleased with my purchase, and I would recommend highly!!
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on April 16, 2010
I love the performance that is packed into this little computer. I would like for Windows Basic to allow custom desktops but I guess this helps the performance. I love its small size and feather weight. You can easily carry it in a pocketbook or large jacket pocket. We have had it for over a month and have found no issues so far. Also it was surprising that there was very little bloatware installed. My other Dell Laptop is 4 years old and works as good as when it was new. I hope this one lasts as long.
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on December 4, 2013
This thing is just ok. It's not bad but it's not good either. The battery life is not awesome, and about the same as generic brands, which isn't bad, but not like HP, Asus, or Acer who's battery life is so long you'll forget to charge it. My major complaint is the lack of standard left and right click buttons. It being integrated with the touch pad makes for some awkward clicking scenarios. The best thing going for this is that it seems stronger built than Acer, who's screens crack pretty easy. It's been dropped on tile from about 2 feet up more than once and still works. HP and Asus can do that too though.
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on June 10, 2012
I bought my 1012 as a replacement for a Dell Latitude 410 that had more than 60,000 motorcycle miles, thousands of hours of use and abuse, and had been fault-free for nearly a decade. In fact, it still works but is absolutely Win7 incompatible.

The 1012, so far, has been an adequate replacement. My reason for upgrading, Win7, is too encumbered with overhead to allow this machine to be used for recreational purposes; ie. movie watching. Even with 2G of RAM, the Inspiron plays videos haltingly and can rarely sync video with audio. When I ran WinXP on the same machine, no such problems existed. (No, I can't justify sticking with Win7 since it is clearly less capable than WinXP.)

However, the 1012 is a wonderful work machine. The excellent battery life (often close to 10 hours) makes this a computer that can be used in remote locations. The screen is absolutely readable in high-light environments (outside) and easy on the eyes (and mine are old and tired). This is a kick-ass writing machine and the excellent keyboard makes for a comfortable typing environment for extended sessions. The 1012 runs Office, OpenOffice, and most WiFi/Net applications flawlessly. The WiFi device is extremely sensitive and provides connection in locations where my old Dell would indicate "no service."

Well done, Dell.
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on September 29, 2010
I have been a fairly loyal dell user for over 10 years. My first computer was a dell and I've kind of just stuck with the brand, though I have to admit that I look at MacBook Pro owners with some envy. I bought this little computer because I have a honkin' big laptop that I store all of my media on, and while I think it has been a great computer, it is far too heavy to tote around for any extended period of time. I also have an iPhone which I have enjoyed and think is a great phone, but it is really too small to do any significant amount of work when I am traveling. Also, and this is kind of going off on a tangent, but I get tired of Apple's myriad updates, which was one reason I purchased this netbook over the iPad. We do have an iPad in the house, so I have had some experience with it.

I haven't my netbook too long so I may change my tune. I do recommend purchasing the Windows 7 Starter to Home Premium Upgrade. It is essential really and will make using the netbook so much more pleasurable. It is definately worth the 80 bucks.

This netbook does run hot, agreed, and the mouse pad does seem a little more troublesome than others, but I haven't found it too difficult to use. Yes, the keyboard is small but it is really responsive and honestly, much easier to type on than a touch screen.

I can't wait to take my netbook on a trip because I think that is when I am really going to appreciate it the most (and be the envy of my iPad owning friends). I would probably give this netbook 5 stars, but since I haven't had very long, I am a little reluctant. I figure if something is going to go terribly wrong with it, it will do so within the first 6 months, and I haven't owned it 6 months to know for sure.
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on September 25, 2011
Wow, what a fantastic little computer. I must say I have been pleasantly surprised by it's quality and performance since taking delivery around a month ago.

After considering the touch screen tablets so popular these days and not being too impressed, it was suggested I look into netbooks. But weren't those toys parents bought their kids for "back to school" that broke by Christmas when the next "latest" tech toy was then requested? What would I do with one of those? So I did some investigating and am glad I did. Because I was quickly led to the Dell Mini 1012.

All my preconceived notions about what a netbook is and can do flew out the window as soon as I unboxed this thing (I am using it atm) and set it up. It's three pounds and felt very dense and solid in my hands. It seems very well put together and everything feels quality. The switches, keys, screen hinges, top cover and all the rest seem very well assembled and tight. I saw a review from a guy who said this netbook felt like a piece of granite next to others. And that's a good thing for something that may be dropped, kicked, thrown, and maybe even bashed!

Make sure you get the "right" Mini 1012 for your $. What is the right Mini? One with the Broadcom Crystal HD decoder chip for viewing vids in hi-def. One with a TV Tuner and the all important 1366X768 screen (as opposed to the 1024X600) to take care of all that hi def goodness. And one with built in bluetooth. If you look around, a refurb with those specs and full warranty from Dell can be had for $300 shipped to your door. No ups, no extras. Just a tip to get the most for your money whenever you can. And the Mini is so gratifying as a truly mini multimedia machine with those added features.

So far as the basics, well, it's a mini computer in the best sense of the word. It's single core low powered Intel Atom processor is hyper-threaded, but that's not saying much these days. It has one gig of RAM, and that says even less. But the good news is the RAM is upgradable to 2 gigs, and the processor works well. Basic programs open fast enough and perform well. This is a 1.6ghz chip, however. And with 1 gig of RAM (or even 2) don't expect anything near high performance. But do expect a 6 hour+ battery life and a fully functional mini laptop of a high quality build.

Oh, and to help out with the lack of RAM if not upgrading soon, try Windows ReadyBoost. Just google "netbook readyboost" for more info. Works well for systems with only 1 gig of RAM.
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on May 30, 2010
I've had this netbook for about a week now and have been using it to varying degrees every day. I bought it to use as an inexpensive secondary machine for home and travel. I've been very surprised with how well it works for browsing the Internet, checking email, and performing typical office tasks (e.g. creating docs in Word). I've also been pleasantly surprised with its ability to support video playback. I wasn't expecting it to support video well at all. I did not get the model that supports HD video since that wasn't offered at Amazon.

Unlike some other netbook keyboards I've tried in the stores, the keyboard on this machine is fantastic with very good feedback. Size is nearly that of a full size laptop keyboard. Even with big hands and a preference for butterfly keyboards, I find I can type on it very well.

The display is crisp and clear. Color seems to be good for the casual user. However, the viewing angles are limited. I suppose that is to be expected within this price range. The display needs to be right in front of you and perpendicular to your line of sight for best viewing. I'm used to using a Dell 24 inch Ultrasharp with my desktop and my work laptop is a Dell Latitude D830--both have much better viewing angles.

The touch pad works well, but the integration of the buttons and pad make it more cumbersome to use than a traditional pad with dedicated buttons. I've found it most annoying when trying to grab something and drag. The buttons can also be difficult to push.

Battery life has been pretty much as advertised. I get about 6-7 hours per charge.

As mentioned above, I've been impressed with the machine's ability to support video playback. It seems to handle standard definition flash vids (YouTube), windows media video, and Silverlight vids (Netflix streaming movies) with no problems. I took the machine to my son's doctor appointment recently. They have wifi and I was able to stream video from both [...] and [...] with no trouble at all.

It struggles with HD content such as you find on YouTube and with 640x480 AVIs that your typical point and shoot camera records. I have some 320x240 AVIs that play okay.

I uninstalled MS Works and installed a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 Home and Student. The office apps work very well to my surprise.

I've experienced two performance issues with the machine. One was temporary and occurred when I initially started up the machine. Dell had several software installs execute during the first startup. This slowed the machine while those completed. The second occurs when playing HD video such as you find on YouTube. The video and audio are very choppy during HD video playback. Other than that, the machine works very well.

The windows experience index is a 2.3 for this machine with the processor getting the 2.3 score. Video is 3.0 and 3.1 respectively for graphics and gaming graphics. Memory is 4.6 and disk is 5.9.

My greatest annoyance with the machine is all the glossy surfaces that show finger prints and dust very easily.
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