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dell inspiron mini 10v - initial impressions

My mini 10v arrived today. Here are my initial impressions.

The first thing I noticed was that the larger 6-cell battery definitely sticks out from the bottom. I don't find this to be a problem per sé, but it was noticeable.

At first I absolutely hated the touchpad. It took me a good 20 to 30 minutes to adjust the thing to my liking. This is definitely going to take some getting used to.

I find the keyboard to be easy enough to type on. I'm not missing anything when typing, but it is slightly stiff. However it is brand new and needs to be broken in.

By default the F keys on top are set to "Multimedia" in the BIOS. This is infuriating because you have to press the Fn key just to make a function key act like a function key. Fortunately this can be switched easily in the BIOS - which I did do. However this should be software controlled as most people would not know how to do this.

This is definitely the brightest screen I've ever seen on a laptop. It's the first where I've not had to set it to full brightness in a lit room.

The audio speaker sucks. But then again what do you expect from something this small.

The screen is very readable - however it is absolutely mandatory to install the ClearType Tuner PowerToy for Windows XP.

The fact the PgUp/Down/Home/End shares with the arrow keys requiring you to press Fn to access it was annoying at first, but once used to it it's okay.

There is no hard drive indicator light. That sucks and should really be there.

The speed is as expected. It's faster than my old laptop which is all that matters. 🙂

I love the fact on a full charge I see "5 hours remaining" for battery life. Even as I type this from it now it's still got 4 hours 30 minutes to go. That's awesome.

Setup of the XP OS was easy.

The is the first Dell I've ever used that had the least crap to remove from it, preinstalled-software wise. Yes, it still had crap but was very minimal.

Even with the 6-cell battery attached, I am amazed at how light this thing is. You can easily carry this thing around with one hand.

I don't like the fact the screen stops at a certain point when tilting it back. It would be nice if it had a few more degrees of tilt. I was spoiled by my old Inspiron 6000 which could tilt absolutely flat. In fact it went even slightly beyond that.

There is no software on-screen volume indicator for the speaker. My 6000 had this and I wish this did because there's no visual way to tell what the speaker volume is otherwise.

I dig the fact the power supply and cord are very small - but do not like the fact it plugs in from the left side. It should plug in from the back.

The monitor is so good that you can read it from any angle. It does not "wash out" from the side whatsoever.

This thing runs whisper quiet. Quietest computer I've ever used, in fact. I can't even hear in running.

Were it not for the fact I really like Windows Live Writer, I would have ditched the XP on this and went with Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I tried that booted off USB and it is so much better than XP visually and in several other ways. But I guess I'll be sticking with XP on this.

The wireless card provided is outstanding. Solid performer.

It definitely does not feel like a toy. Looks like one somewhat, but definitely doesn't feel like it. Solid build all around.

For a refurb this certainly doesn't feel like one. Feels brand new.

A 1366 resolution on the mini 10 model (which is available) I know for a fact would be way too small for most people to read. 1024x576 is just right on a 10-inch screen, no question. Any higher resolution on a screen this small and it would be squint-city.

The integrated webcam is decent for what it does. Haven't tried it with a live stream yet but I'll see how that goes later on.

The USB ports are definitely in the correct positions. It's got 3. One on the right, two on the left. No matter which you use it does not get in your way. Huge plus there.

Comes with a glossy monitor and I hate those. However it's not as glossy as it would be on a full-size laptop. Once the OS is loaded your reflection disappears so that's okay. However I'd still prefer a matte. I have absolutely no clue why the industry insists on these glossies when they KNOW everybody prefers the matte. Oh well.

That's about it for now. I typed up this entire thing on the mini 10v. Everything is working great on it. The keyboard I'm already used to. The trackpad.. eh.. that's going to take a bit before I get used to that thing. 🙂

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