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Customer Review

286 of 304 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly the Best Netbook on the Market, March 16, 2010
This review is from: Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Obsidian Black) (Personal Computers)
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 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00361G10S?tag=a52-20&ie=UTF8#productDescription). 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 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PII4HW?tag=a52-20&ie=UTF8) 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 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C1BBU8?tag=a52-20&ie=UTF8) 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! :)
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 22, 2010 10:12:54 PM PDT
Andrea Polk says:
A well-written, comprehensive review. Bravo!

Posted on Apr 2, 2010 10:54:46 AM PDT
I truly have respect for people who take time out of their day to write full comprehensive and informative reviews like yours. Thank you for your help!

Posted on May 19, 2010 5:34:30 PM PDT
You have used this same basic review 3 times. Once for the Mini 1010, then for the Mini 10V, and now for this new Mini 1012. Most of the comments are exactly the same. What are you trying to do?
Oh, and you have a few mistakes in your review. You mention the HD accelerator, but then say the screen is only 1024 x 600. Sorry but the optional HD accelerator card only comes with the optional 1366 x 768 screen so you got your facts wrong.
Reviews here should be real, genuine, and accurately reflect the product so others can gain from the reviews.

Posted on May 21, 2010 9:38:30 AM PDT
Great review--thanks much.

Posted on May 25, 2010 2:04:42 PM PDT
Sounds like one of those "paid for" reviews. People, beware of these kind of reviews. It has been all over the news, "reviewers" get paid to write a great review. My advice? Check on this person's reviews -thanks attetiontodetail for your insight on this reviewer using the same review 3 times. (And yes, the overuse of the word review in my comments is intentional.)

Posted on Jul 5, 2010 11:20:58 PM PDT
Is it possible to run Microsoft office smoothly on one of these. If I use it strictly for office and the net will it function well?

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 2:14:49 PM PDT
I've been looking at Acer and ASUS notebooks as well, so it was helpful to read this review. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2010 6:12:17 AM PDT
Bitter Writer, you do sound bitter. Anyway, my reviews are authentic. No one is paying me to write them. It's just something I do in my free time. Many of my reviews are structured similarly, but that just makes it easier for me to write them. All information is accurate though.

Eric, yes Office runs reasonably well on these, as long as you're not much else at the same time.

Elizabeth, thanks for the feedback. :)

Posted on Mar 30, 2011 8:58:42 AM PDT
Erin says:
Thank you for your in depth review. I am leaning toward getting a Dell, but don't know much about computers - I rely on people like you who do! Thank you

Posted on Mar 30, 2011 9:00:31 AM PDT
Erin says:
Thank you for your in depth review. I am leaning toward getting a Dell, but don't know much about computers - I rely on people like you who do! Thank you
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