Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dell Inspiron Mini 9 - now available in NZ

Dell has recently started selling a new mini-laptop in NZ which is not a bad offering. The basic unit is just $NZ699 - though with Dell's pricing plan the costs quickly add up with extras, so if its your first computer, and you need those extras, then the price quickly increases. This is of course Dell's bait advertising. Its like buying a beat up Holden and needing to fix it up. But these plans do offer flexibility.
The basic version suits people travelling around the world or touring around NZ. The reason its a great travel computer because it is lightweight - it weights just over one kilogram, it has a solid state memory, so there is no spinning drive which has moving parts, which means its more robust for outdoor use. i.e. Its the type of drive they use in your PDA.
I do have some problems with this unit. The battery life is just 3-4 hours, which means in practice its probably just 2 hours. Its a 4-cell battery. Of course you could always buy another. It has a 1.6GHz processor, but given the slow 1Gb RAM, its not going to optimise on processing speed. The solid state drive has a memory of just 16Gb - which is not very much for anything. If memory sticks were offering better capacity, this would not be an obstacle, but you might just be carrying around a portable HDD as well, which are heavy and not very robust. Wifi is optional, but it should be a standard feature. It does have a web-cam which might come in handy.
This is a pretty decent computer for a reasonable price if you don't need a lot of memory or battery life. I would however like a 2nd battery option, or longer battery life before I buy. They do offer finance, which might be important to some people.
Andrew Sheldon www.sheldonthinks.com

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