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World First Review of Dell's 12.1in Netbook

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the my-envy-makes-me-scoff dept.

Portables 133

An anonymous reader points to what's claimed to be "the world's first look at Dell's 12.1" netbook," running at Australian Personal Computer Magazine. There's a bit of gushing at the beginning, but this is followed by some informative pictures, informal battery-life tests, and interesting background about the machine's components. Upshot: it's a well-made, decent-performing small laptop with a better keyboard than smaller netbooks and more wireless options than most. However, it's shorter on battery life (bigger screen, smaller battery) than Dell's smaller Mini 9, and less easily upgraded.

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pricey (2, Interesting)

Entropy98 (1340659) | about 6 years ago | (#25524575)

At $1000 I'm not sure who this is targeted at.
--
  IP Address Finding [ipfinding.com]

Re:pricey (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524587)

Apple customers.

At $550, it's aimed at Mac Mini Owners (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | about 6 years ago | (#25526373)

PC Magazine says the systems start at $550.

The Mini 12 is one of the few [netbook] systems to run Windows Vista Basic, which will be the only choice for operating systems at this time. Windows XP will be available when the unit ships in the U.S., with an Ubuntu Linux configuration to follow at the end of the year. The Vista system starts at $550.

It's hard to tell which of these prices is right, but I know which one will sell when they deliver it with a worth while OS. Here's what Chris Prillo had to say about what's wrong with every beautiful new computer these days. [youtube.com] Really, see for yourself [slashdot.org] , everyone hates Vista [slashdot.org] . You also have to hate how they crammed in all of those extra windows keys so you'll always miss the alt and ctrl keys.

Re:pricey (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#25527115)

It's too ugly to compete in this segment

Re:pricey (4, Interesting)

speeDDemon (nw) (643987) | about 6 years ago | (#25524597)

Whilst I understand its a limitation of the chipset, 1Gb of RAM and Vista.... ewww. Internal 3G card is a nice touch though.

Re:pricey (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | about 6 years ago | (#25524995)

The chipset can only run Vista? Egads! What unholy portent is this? I cast thee OUT!

*throws netbook into the dark Abyss of Tortured Souls and Recycled Cardboard*

Re:pricey (2, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#25525059)

" The chipset can only run Vista? Egads! What unholy portent is this? I cast thee OUT!

*throws netbook into the dark Abyss of Tortured Souls and Recycled Cardboard*

LOL...that's pretty good.

But it made me think...who is going to be buying any of these things? I know I'm a bit behind trends here of late, but, I'd not heard the term 'netbook' till a couple weeks or so ago. Why are they coming out with laptops with such small screens, and underpowered CPU-wise? It seems they are going backwards in terms of performance and viewing capability?

I'll grant you that these are nice and thin and lighter, but, seriously, it looks like we're regressing back to the days of early laptops that were light on processing power, and screens so small you needed a magnifying glass to use them.

Re:pricey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525147)

The 7" screens are popular because they are mass-produced for portable DVD players, which makes them cheap.

The ideal of the Eee-PC as I saw it was that it was conveniently small, had a solid-state disk and - most importantly - was cheap enough that it was almost disposable. Asus don't seem to have understood that themselves though.

I've always seen these things as being a super-PDA, not a desktop-replacement. IMHO, Dell tried to jump on the bandwagon without really understanding it.

Re:pricey (4, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#25525169)

Why are they coming out with laptops with such small screens, and underpowered CPU-wise?

The answer is simple: people who value size and price more than performance. I don't want to fall in a 640K is enough for anybody stance here, but be honest with yourself: how often do you use the full power of your machine when not gaming or photo-editing (for which these machines are woefully inadequate)? My work laptop, is currently using 1% to 5% of it's power and it's over two years old (the time I've been working at this company, and I'm not sure if it was new). That's it.... At home, my wifes desktop is much older (bought autum 2003) and it rarely uses up more than 10% for our typical usage. I consider our usage to be rather typical.

So, even 5 year old machines don't get to see much load. So, you're on the move want to surf a bit and read your email? Well, you don't need a Dual-Core Multi-Gigahertz machine for that anymore. So why spend more? So, that's for the performance part.

Now the size part: typical laptops are 15.4" or larger. I don't know about you, but that's pretty huge and not exactly something a woman would put in her purse. Indeed, there are machines that were small, but they were also very expensive...

Which brings us to price. The small portable machines from a few years ago were extremely expensive and also didn't have the oompha that their larger cousins have. I wouldn't ever spend 2500€ to have a small and slightly underpowered laptop. However, I have no qualms paying 300€ for a small-very-underpowered-but-adequate laptop.

As a matter of fact, up until January 2007, my primary laptop was an old P-III 600MHz/512Meg RAM dual-booting XP and Linux... It ran absolutely fine for my light usage. Compare that to the underclocked Celeron 630MHz in the original Asus EEE PC... Well, the only differences? The Asus is much smaller and lighter: I do lack a bit screen estate. The Asus EEE 900, however has a 1024x600 screen, which is pretty close to what my old P-III laptop had, being 1024x768.

Re:pricey (1)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25525265)

When I needed a "netbook" for my frequent hotel travels, I just bought a used 15 inch laptop off Ebay. It's about three years old, has 1/2 gig of memory, XP desktop, and only cost me $110. Certainly a lot cheaper than this $1000 Dell Netbook thing.

It has the added benefit of being able to play movies off the C: drive, in case there's nothing on the TV worth watching.

Re:pricey (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#25525329)

I understand.... The P-III I talked about cost me 100€ back in the day. However, I cannot call it a netbook. Size is intrinsic to the "netbook" status. Anything beyond 12" (arguably 10", because I used to own a 12" iBook and I can hardly call it small).

You do have to realise that my Asus EEE PC is half the size of a typical 15.4" laptop. You don't take a 15.4" laptop in your purse, I do take the Asus EEE PC in my "manpouch" (I have to admit to my greatest shame that I have one)

So, yes, a second hand laptop will give you more oompha for less money, but not the kind of portability you get with a real netbook.

That said, 1000$ is insane for a netbook even though I'm pretty sure they're talking AUD, which mitigates the 1000$ price.

Re:pricey (1)

theaveng (1243528) | about 6 years ago | (#25525699)

I see. Well I would be hard-pressed to find a 10 inch or smaller "laptop" on Ebay. I guess netbook truly is a new kind of form factor.

Re:pricey (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 6 years ago | (#25525801)

Well, I used to own a Toshiba Satellite 210CT [ciao.co.uk] . That one had a whopping 11" TFT screen featuring 800x600, I kid you not. I guess one can find that on eBay. ;-) Of course weight would kill the "netbook" status here, I think. The Libretto would be pretty cool.

I also had (still have) a Atari Portfolio, but that's from a really long time ago.

Re:pricey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25527209)

Don't know about ebay, but I found a 10" unit on craigslist. Check the M-M NSA section.

Re:pricey (1)

hattig (47930) | about 6 years ago | (#25525349)

And how heavy is that 15" laptop? There are very few lightweight 15" laptops, they're all heavy, bulky, awkward to carry.

This $600 (not $1000) 12" laptop is also too large, but at least it is light at under 3lbs. I don't think it is at the "throw it in the bag and forget about it" level though.

The 8.9" netbooks are where the portability is. 2lbs. Tiny. Sling it in the bag everyday and forget about it, instead of having to make a conscious decision about whether to take it or not.

Re:pricey (1)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#25527103)

I'd rather have something like an iPod Touch as my throw it in the bag every day computer. I have no desire to pay for an iPod though, given that I don't need it for anything and flash prices are still plummeting (for me, ~100 GB is the stop worrying about capacity point, and they aren't there yet).

I do see room (again, for me, I'm not sure about generally) for such devices being separate from cell phones. I'd rather have a smaller, cheaper phone with its own battery, and then a second device for fiddling.

Another contender in the same space is all the portable navigation devices; once they hit huge memory and wifi access, there really isn't any difference.

Re:pricey (2, Interesting)

dugjohnson (920519) | about 6 years ago | (#25525243)

Real NETBOOKS (not this thing, too big and expensive) are useful for RIAs (Rich Internet Apps) that don't need a lot of screen real estate.  IF they have a lot of battery and IF they are small enough and IF they are cheap enough, you can put these netbooks into the hands of floor workers (retail, medical office) and have all of the access you need.  Most WIFI phones/PDAs are too small for real floor usage.

Re:pricey (1)

Xanius (955737) | about 6 years ago | (#25527423)

A tablet would be better for that but I don't think there's any tablets that cheap at this point. I do have a couple of really old prototype tablets with the serial number written in sharpie on masking tape though, and they're neat to play with.

Re:pricey (2, Informative)

blackest_k (761565) | about 6 years ago | (#25525429)

well this is being posted from a netbook.

Screen size is 9 inch with 1024 by 600 resolution. This is quite a comfortable size and is sharper than my old hp 15inch with 1024x768 resolution. Smaller Screen with Smaller pixels. Admittedly the netbooks with smaller screens are a bit too cramped with 800x480.

Keyboard size on 9inch versions seems adequate I can type at a reasonable rate without hitting the wrong keys.

Processing power is good enough in ubuntu and Linux in general. 2000 in a Vm isn't super fast but its quite usable.

in short its probably roughly equivalent to my old HP, The Atom processor isn't quite as fast but its good enough. Really thats the key too the whole thing. It is good enough.

Now what makes it better than my old HP is the size its small enough to fit in a glovebox or for the ladies a handbag. power wise it uses about 22,23 watts and even with the stingy battery Acer supplied a comfortable 2 hours can be had. Better batteries can increase that to 5 or 7 hours.

Storage ranges from 4Gb to 120Gb depending on model and extra space is easily added with Sd cards and usb sticks. When you consider that a show such as hero's can be just 300 Meg for an episode a 2Gb Sd card will keep you entertained for hours, if you want to work on a document you could do that too. Wifi and wired connections are built in, some have 3G adapters or you can use a usb hspda dongle or a cell phone as a modem (i use a 10mm usb bluetooth adapter to get net access most places it costs me £5 a month or 50p a day if i feel a need for it).

It's the portability and price that really makes a netbook and i really wonder if by buying a 12inch dell it really isn't too big and pricey. Your starting to get into regular laptop territory and they are just too big, toting a full size laptop soon becomes a chore.

Well you might say well get a pda then, however they have extremely small screens and pretty terrible keyboards if they have them at all picking away with a stylus is a terrible way to type and handwriting recognition far too hit and miss. If you have a net enabled mobile, you probably find that web pages are hard to navigate and interact with. Yet the same mobile when used as a modem suddenly becomes useful for more than just phone calls (or in the case of the pda sat nav).

Storage is easily added when needed, yes you can burn a DVD with a usb connected drive. (mines recycled + an external case) and if I need a bigger screen keyboard or mouse I can plug them in. Off course once I am in contact with my home Lan everything is accessible. I generally print using my samsung lazer printer.

When I'm out and about i have an inverter which allows me to charge my netbook when it needs it. I can park up and still sit behind the wheel and work or pop it on the dashboard and watch a film. My Car stereo has an aux jack but in cars without a small fm transmitter or even a cassette adapter will work as well.

I could choose to read an ebook too.

So its replacing a few devices I might have bought, a full size laptop just can't be used so easily. Airports are good places to have a netbook too, even a kitchen worktop or a coffee table. Students love em, they replace full size laptops and are easily transported from class to class.

They could be better, touch screens, webcams that can face away from the keyboard. screens that can lay flat and usable, would it be useful to record a lecture whilst taking notes maybe. maybe use it as a sketch pad capture an image with the webcam and annotate it perhaps.

So yes there are plenty of uses for a netbook it certainly calls into question the need for any other pc and a dedicated area of the home.

Re:pricey (1)

cerberusss (660701) | about 6 years ago | (#25525601)

the size its small enough to fit in a glovebox or for the ladies a handbag.

I'm a metrosexual [wikipedia.org] , you insensitive clod!

Re:pricey (1)

Nicolay77 (258497) | about 6 years ago | (#25526687)

if you want to work on a document you could do that too.

Seriously, mod this funny.

Re:pricey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525157)

Somehow I doubt that, it's an x86 proc, and TFA specifically mentions Ubuntu and XP. Either way, it does SSE3, which means it will run OSX just fine.

Re:pricey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525377)

1Gb of RAM and Vista

Running Vista on 128MB RAM? That doesn't compute...

Australians (4, Informative)

Kaseijin (766041) | about 6 years ago | (#25524645)

At $1000 I'm not sure who this is targeted at.

1000 AUD is about 600 USD, which seems in line with the competition.

Re:Australians (2, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 years ago | (#25524717)

In all fairness, the RRP costing might have been done before the recent dramatic devaluation of the $AU - A couple of months back it was around $US.95 - The Australian price could actually go UP in coming months to cushion Dell Australia's profits.

But anyway, as I noted in another reply, I purchased an HP 'notebook' for a similar Australian price about a month ago. I mightn't be Dell's target user but, at the same price, I would still prefer to buy the 12" HP.

The cost of being "chic" (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 6 years ago | (#25525069)

At $1000 I'm not sure who this is targeted at.

1000 AUD is about 600 USD, which seems in line with the competition.

Yes, but the competition has a larger HD, 15"+ screen, more RAM, and a BluRay player w/ HDMI out for around the same price. Hardly in line with the "average" netbook price.

Just depends on how stylish and chic you think you need to be. Kills me that we actually think that 2 pounds and 1 more hour of battery life is going to physically break the average student or mobile exec. You're walking short distances around a campus or airport, not hiking K2.

Re:The cost of being "chic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525165)

Yes, but the competition has a larger HD, 15"+ screen, more RAM, and a BluRay player w/ HDMI out for around the same price. Hardly in line with the "average" netbook price.

are you trolling or just completely fucking retarded? 15"+ screen in a netbook? do you even know what the term implies? I'll give you a hint, it's not just a new word for notebook.

Re:Australians (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 years ago | (#25525369)

So it was calculated in Metric dollars?

Re:pricey (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 years ago | (#25524679)

Indeed.

I'm happy enough with my 12" HP 2230s, though it doesn't come with a cheap webcam built in. It's fatter and heavier because it includes a DVDRW drive. But for around the same price as this Dell (it's an HP; flame away), mine came with 3GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB allegedly), pre-installed with XP (Vista upgrade disks included), with a Core 2 Duo and an HDMI port.

I'd prefer better performance over a slightly thinner and lighter notebook.

Re:pricey (1)

nmg196 (184961) | about 6 years ago | (#25524827)

I think I read somewhere it will be 599 USD, so I think that's pretty cheap actually. What actually are you comparing it to which is significantly cheaper?

Re:pricey (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#25524989)

And at 12.1" I'm not sure it qualifies as a NetBook. This is the same size as the old iBooks and only slightly smaller than a MacBook. They're fairly small laptops, but I'd expect a NetBook to be a lot more portable.

Re:pricey (1)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25525267)

And at 12.1" I'm not sure it qualifies as a NetBook. This is the same size as the old iBooks and only slightly smaller than a MacBook. They're fairly small laptops, but I'd expect a NetBook to be a lot more portable.

I wonder if my 12.1" Dell Latitude D420 is a netbook as well. I has a 1.8" hard drive just live the Mini 12. It has the extra mini pci-e slot for 3G (it even refers to it as the slot for the 3G device in Dell's shitty BIOS). Really - other than the atom processor and the GMA500 (D420 has the 64 bit restricted intel core 1 duo and a shitty GMA950) its the same... wait... Oh yeah - I don't run Vista on it.

But theres a significant drawback to Poulsbo, and its one that will certainly cruel the Inspiron Mini 12s appeal to many "power users". The chipset supports a maximum 1GB of RAM.
Wait, this is supposed to run Vista right? heh. Running Linux and Mac OS X on my Latitude D420 (that hasa 2.5 gigs of memory) does enough for me.

It is pricey (1)

elfguy (22889) | about 6 years ago | (#25525229)

I wouldn't even consider it a netbook at that size and price. Every other netbook is around 9-10" and costs $300-$500. This is more like a smallish notebook. Certainly not what I was hoping for as I'm searching for the best netbook to get.

World's first review? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524589)

I think I'm not alone when I ask "who really gives a shit?". This is a computer geek's equivalent of "f1rst post!" in a hardware review.

Re:World's first review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525543)

*sound of crickets chirping*

re: pricey (1)

mcfar45 (1286990) | about 6 years ago | (#25524609)

I think it's targeted at those who don't want to buy a netbook because of their size but don't want to pay for a full sized laptop.

Captain Obvious to the rescue! (2)

Big Nothing (229456) | about 6 years ago | (#25524633)

Ultra-slim and lightweight - not even room for two speakers. Is there really a need to state that it isn't "upgrade-friendly"?

Also, even though it's a sleek, lightweight laptop it certainly is not a high-end product (1,6 GHz Atom Z530, max 1 GB RAM and 60 GB HDD). So who's gonna pay the $1000 Dell want?

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue! (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | about 6 years ago | (#25524831)

I question too. $1000 (CDN) bought me my current laptop (an HP tx2512) in August, which has a 1.9ghz AMD X2 processor, 3GB ram, 250GB hard drive, half decent video (ATI 3200HD), same 12.1" screen size (same 1280x800 resolution too), and is a convertible tablet. About the only thing the Dell does better is that it is thinner, a little lighter (mine is only 2 and some pounds), and has a built-in 3G modem, though I can stick one of those in my expresscard slot (which the Dell lacks) if I had need.

Eee PC manages two speakers (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#25524861)

And pretty decent sound, too.

AN Eee PC has the aame RAM, same CPU, can take a hard disk...which part of "no room" am I failing to comprehend?

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue! (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | about 6 years ago | (#25524863)

My thoughts, exactly. It's not a high-end product, and I see little to distinguish it from competitors almost half the price. The only interesting thing about it is the 3G modem; not that that means much to anyone in Australia. If you want to watch a few videos on Youtube with a 3G modem here, be prepared to mortgage your house.

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue! (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 6 years ago | (#25525593)

Eh, ultra-slim and lightweight doesn't have to mean upgrade-unfriendly. TFA points out that the Mini 12's smaller cousin, the Mini 9, IS upgrade-friendly. So are a lot of other small netbooks and notebooks.

And I'm not sure where this article got the $999 price from. Notebookreview.com puts the price at "less than $600" [notebookreview.com] , which seems much more reasonable.

Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue! (4, Informative)

jabithew (1340853) | about 6 years ago | (#25527607)

AU$1000=US$620=CN$788=GBP391=EUR492

Working mobile (4, Informative)

Bender_ (179208) | about 6 years ago | (#25524673)

I think it is quite useful of you want to work while travelling in an airplane on a train. The 9" netbooks are not really good for anything that involves a lot of typing.

A bought a DELL latitude x200 off ebay a couple of years ago for exactly that reason and I have never regretted it. Back then this was still a business notebook and costed $3000+ (I paid $250, years later). The $999 price point is not too bad.

The main drawback seems to be the battery. But did you know they had outlets in many european trains?

Re:Working mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524841)

A dell x200 is my main living room laptop. It is trusty, parts are cheap for it, and while its currently a franken laptop it hums along still.

My wife abused it through law school and now save endless games of solitaire and the occasional relevant lookup its relegated to "Who is that actor?" and then a quick IMDB search.

The x200 is a great machine.

The 10" Eee PC has a pretty decent keyboard (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#25524915)

The only outstanding feature is the 1280x800 graphics (which is worth having, don't get me wrong...)

It basically fills in the gap between mini/maxi and more choice = good.

One thing it really does is pull the rug out from under those vastly overpriced $2500 SONY mini-laptops. The only reason to buy those was small size, and that reason just vanished.

Bummer it comes with Vista and not XP.

Re:Working mobile (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#25525361)

The 9" netbooks are not really good for anything that involves a lot of typing.

That may be true, but it's entirely the fault of the designers. 9 inches (diagonal) is entirely enough room for a full-sized keyboard. The keyboard I'm typing on right now is just slightly larger than that. (http://www.vpi.us/keyboard-mini.html)

But somehow, when it's for a laptop, designers go stupid on us, making brain-dead design decisions. I have a MUCH easier time touch-typing accurately on my tiny (7") Psion 5's keyboard, than on my much larger (11") laptop.

IMHO, manufacturers could EASILY choose better-designed keyboards for laptops, at nominal extra cost. But since they've proven unwilling to do so, they should at least standardize keyboard sizes, connectors, etc., and make it trivially easy to swap them out with 3rd party units.

Re:Working mobile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25526827)

"But did you know they had outlets in many european trains?"

Yah but it's not powerful enough to really hurt anybody

oops did I say that out loud?

Re:Working mobile (1)

jabithew (1340853) | about 6 years ago | (#25527629)

But did you know they had outlets in many european trains?

Yup. Come to Europe, our intercity trains have power sockets, wireless internet access and move at a reasonable speed.

Also, tasty cheese.

price = FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524711)

Let me know when i can buy a $200 max net book and actualy be able to phy$icaly walk into a local computer shop or even Target and buy one here in the United States

Price, Size / Weight and Battery Life, (4, Insightful)

Rog7 (182880) | about 6 years ago | (#25524779)

I'm not sure when the reviewers and manufacturers will get the popularity of netbooks. There are a minimum set of features (which almost all of them have) but after that there are only three important points: price, size / weight and battery life.

The review sites seem to spend so much time worrying about the bells and whistles that they're accustomed to with bigger laptops, but these come at a compromise of the most important aspects.

Re:Price, Size / Weight and Battery Life, (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | about 6 years ago | (#25525669)

Sure, they're blurring the lines between netbooks and notebooks, but what's wrong with that?

I've tried everything from a 15.4" Dell widescreen to a 13.3" to a 12" to a 7" Eee 4G, before finally setting on a 10" Eee 1000. Though its $460 price exceeded the first netbook's (the Eee 4G) by $60, its keyboard, battery life, screen, CPU, RAM, HD, and wireless options make it a far better value and far more usable ergonomically -- meaning I can touch-type and not have to squint -- while still being cheaper and smaller than the 12"+ units.

As new models and sizes saturate the market, consumers can decide for themselves which sizes they like the most. The whole netbook phenomenon is still relatively new, and until people figure out the optimal size/features/price balance, more experimentation isn't a bad thing.

Dell Fails again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524797)

The reason to purchase a small notebook is portability. what good is it if it has worse battery life than the big 17" laptops.

Re:Dell Fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525859)

um, everything has worse battery life than Dell's current line of 17" laptops.
10-19hr battery... just doesn't fit in a netbook.

This is going the wrong way (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524809)

This almost seems like it is a full blown laptop again. The EEE had me hopefull we would see really affordable laptops. But then it was a big hit. Prices went up specs went up. What do we have now. Normal laptops only they are called mini.

Re:This is going the wrong way (1, Informative)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 6 years ago | (#25525019)

The EEE had me hopefull we would see really affordable laptops. But then it was a big hit. Prices went up specs went up.

The eee 1000 with 40 GB SSD is less than $500 now. I call that a real bargain. I'm just waiting a respectable interval before I pick one up to round out my eee collection, currently consisting of a 9" model. I justify this by being able to hack more comfortably on the road. Admittedly I'm stretching but the only reason I contemplate this extravagance is the low price. Two of them and barely half the price of the Thinkpad I just got rid of. Admittedly the Thinkpad is much more powerful, but in my experience, not a lot more useful, and I certainly would not carry it around in the flap of my camera bag like I do the eee.

Re:This is going the wrong way (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 6 years ago | (#25525503)

The EEE 701 has fallen from £249 to £160 in six months the Acer AspireOne which is better in most respects is £170

This Dell isn't competing with Netbooks its a small laptop which a year ago we passed over for 15 and 17 inch competitors. Once your toting a full size laptop around you may as well go for something big fast.

Re:This is going the wrong way (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#25526133)

To be fair, the 7" screens were too small. They're ok in theory but hardly any apps will work well at 800 pixels.

To me the sweet spot seems to be 9" Eee PC with 20Gb drive. A little bit bigger drive would be nice but I can live without it.

Hard to get a sense of scale (4, Insightful)

trawg (308495) | about 6 years ago | (#25524815)

Just me or is it hard to get a sense of scale in those photos when there's barely any other objects in there? There's a pen, half a hand, and another laptop that I don't know how big it is.

I always struggle with photos like this because it's obviously difficult to find a reference object /everyone/ is familiar with, but even a few little things might've been helpful in some of the photos.

Re:Hard to get a sense of scale (1)

fr4nk (1077037) | about 6 years ago | (#25524991)

Agreed, they should have pictured the laptops next to a Volkswagen.

Re:Hard to get a sense of scale (1)

Docasman (870959) | about 6 years ago | (#25525047)

Or the Library of Congress.

Re:Hard to get a sense of scale (3, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | about 6 years ago | (#25525071)

I always struggle with photos like this because it's obviously difficult to find a reference object /everyone/ is familiar with

How about a ruler?

Re:Hard to get a sense of scale (1)

cerberusss (660701) | about 6 years ago | (#25525629)

it's obviously difficult to find a reference object /everyone/ is familiar with

Well, considering even my 3 months old nephew can recognize a women's breast, I was very surprised to see they used a plain Bic pen in the picture.

Not the first review! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524819)

This review, from 2007, is of a Dell XPS M1210 laptop (12.1 in screen), which I've owned for over a year.

http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/product/29878/review/xps_m1210.html [pcworld.com]

x200 (1)

AVryhof (142320) | about 6 years ago | (#25524843)

The mini 12 reminds me of an updated version of the x200 I bought off eBay for $200 ( http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/notebooks/0,1000000333,10000587,00.htm [zdnet.co.uk] )

Granted the x200 is a little bigger, and not 3G ready... but out of the box it's pretty good. I got the 933 version and upgraded it to 640Mb of memory and Win2k. It runs snappy, Firefox and Thunderbird run good, and if I want the extra features, I just snap it into the dock with the DVD/CDR, floppy drive and more.

So if you want a pretty good alternative to buying the Mini 12 that's pretty inexpensive, check out the x200.

They used to call them laptops (3, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about 6 years ago | (#25524847)

Wow, a netbook with a large screen! If the trend keeps on going this way, next year we'll see an innovative netbook with a 15.4 screen! First in the world!

Re:They used to call them laptops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524953)

"Innovation" is about finding new ways to sell old shit. Welcome to 21st century corporate culture.

Glad I didn't buy a first gen Netbook (3, Informative)

NoNeeeed (157503) | about 6 years ago | (#25524851)

The "netbook" market has moved so fast over the last year, I'm glad I didn't stump up for an early Eee PC. This looks like it may hit my sweet spot of price/performance/size.

I'm at least a year from buying a new laptop and I can't see me replacing my current MacBook with another mac. As much as I like MacOS, I can't justify the cost of a full spec laptop. Currently, little of what I do stretches my MacBook's performance, no games, no video editing. A cheap, portable and rugged netbook running linux is just up my street. Another MacBook would be a nice to have, but at a price-tag that I just cant justify.

I think this is something some manufacturers are missing, fewer and fewer people are pushing the limits of their existing hardware. There just doesn't seem to be the pressure from software as there used to be. I know there are applications that need more power than a cheap latop can deliver (games, high-end graphics work, video editing), but this is becoming an increasingly small segment of the whole market.

Paul

Re:Glad I didn't buy a first gen Netbook (1)

borizz (1023175) | about 6 years ago | (#25524875)

If you don't use the Mac's performance, then why get a new laptop? You can save even more money that way.

Re:Glad I didn't buy a first gen Netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524903)

That's not the proper way! You MUST finance the newest model on credit as soon as the talking heads certify that it is the next big thing. Any other course of action will leave you with a disgusting surplus of available funds and possibly prepared for the future.

Re:Glad I didn't buy a first gen Netbook (1)

NoNeeeed (157503) | about 6 years ago | (#25525017)

Err, that's exactly what I said in my post. Netbooks are considerably cheaper than a replacement MacBook.

I'm not using the full power of the mac, so will not be getting a full laptop next-time round. I would however like a smaller, more rugged, and more portable laptop for carrying around.

Paul

Re:Glad I didn't buy a first gen Netbook (1)

borizz (1023175) | about 6 years ago | (#25525085)

I misread what you said. It makes sense now. Sorry. :)

Re:Glad I didn't buy a first gen Netbook (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | about 6 years ago | (#25525021)

I'm glad as hell I stumped for the early EEE PC. It's a real netbook, not a laptop with a smaller screen. Only SSD, no HD. Small, lightweight, sleek OS with clear big buttons, good battery life. Netbooks with SSD and without Vista are among the minority already.

My next one would have to be a 9 or 10 inch, with touchscreen, SSD, and > 6 hour battery life, preferably linux. If the dual core Atom is efficient enough, that would be nice. However, the way things are going, I wonder if it will ever come.

Vista rating of 1.0? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25524855)

Just FYI, the article says that the system has a rating of 1.0 in the Windows Experience Index, but if you look closely at the screenshot it actually says that the system is unrated, and Vista just shows 1.0 by default if it hasn't been rated.

Re:Vista rating of 1.0? (1)

hattig (47930) | about 6 years ago | (#25525111)

Yeah, I saw that too, and wondered why they hadn't rated it. They also declined to give actual measurements for the device apart from thickness (24mm down to 21mm).

I strongly suspect my three year old 12" iBook is roughly the same size (maybe a little thicker). Sure, it's heavier, but it's vastly more powerful and expandable (and its battery life is 5 hours).

This 12" netbook uses Intel's new Atom chipset, Paulsbo. In order to conserve power, Intel used a leading-edge 130nm process. Yes, you read that right - not 45nm, not 65nm, not even 90nm. But 130nm.

This chipset is meant for MIDs - portable devices with small screens - not near-full-size laptops. The integrated graphics are top-end mobile-phone standard - great for MIDs, but they not even as fast as Intel's integrated graphics. It only supports a maximum of 1GB.

Considering Apple fitted in a CPU, discrete graphics, chipset, accessible RAM slots, optical drive, etc, into the iBook three years ago, I don't see how Dell had so much difficulty fitting a small CPU, chipset, some RAM mounted on the motherboard, etc, into a similarly sized case.

with the monetary crisis... (1)

nx6310 (1150553) | about 6 years ago | (#25524857)

Less people will be working, leading less over all income and thus less business purposed traveling, leading to the $1000 price tag being just well, silly.

Grow up and get a real Notebook.

Netbook (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | about 6 years ago | (#25524893)

In what way could this be described as a netbook? Surely the defining feature of a netbook is its diminutive size. One could possibly argue that a low price factors into the equation too. This laptop seems to have neither.

Keyboard layouts (1)

Mental Maelstrom (1268890) | about 6 years ago | (#25524923)

Whats up with the obscure keyboards lately (those Dell laptops being an example)? Recently I find it difficult to find a laptop or keyboard with the keys placed on it the way i've used to. Often keys like the ones for <|> or underscore (estonian layout) might be absent or misplaced in some weird location (e.g. on top of or right of the return key). I once even had to buy a new keyboard, because my shell uses <, | and > for redirection.

Can anybody shed some light on this issue? Thanks.

Does not compare well with the Asus S101 (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#25524993)

The S101 is much lighter, thinner, cheaper ($899) and has a longer battery life.

There is not one single characteristic where the Mini would beat the S101.

Disclaimer: I own both Asus and Dell notebooks, and am very satisfied with both.

Re:Does not compare well with the Asus S101 (1)

Briareos (21163) | about 6 years ago | (#25525709)

The S101 is [...] cheaper ($899)[...]

Not if you take into account that TFA was posted on an Australian site (though they were quite good at hiding that fact) and the current USD/AUD exchange rate [xe.com] ...

Re:Does not compare well with the Asus S101 (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#25525767)

Thanks - point taken. I did not know it was an oz site. Adjusted for exchange rates though, the S101 seems the more compelling device still, though it did lose some luster after your correction.

Vista & MS Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525063)

You have a worst way to spend money?.

Little tiny keys! (4, Funny)

RiffRafff (234408) | about 6 years ago | (#25525077)

From the article:
"Happily, the Inspiron Mini 12 adopts a more standard sub-note layout with near full-size keys (a quick measure of a prised-off letter key came in at 1.8mm x 1.7mm, but we could be out by a few mils)."

That's like 0.071 X 0.067 inches. Does it come with a stylus for those keys?

Only one thing to recommend it (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 6 years ago | (#25525127)

It's cheap relative to the existing small Dell laptops. The E4200 is the latest in the line - 12" screen, intel processors, battery life exceeding 6 hours (much more with the add-on battery), and thinner (.8" vs .9"), lighter (2.2lb vs 2.7), and with more options generally, including a full-up docking station option.

Sure, the newest series will set you back 2 grand (though sales do come up quite frequently), but the older versions which are the D4xxx series can be found on ebay for about $400-$600. They are, of course, a smidge heavier and thicker that the mini 12 (3lb and 1"), but - again - they're a full pc for what you're paying for a netbook.

Me? Well, the wife has a D420. It's fantastic. I am trying to decide between a precision M2400 and an M6400 - light and nimble vs. no compromises speed and having to reinforce the seams in my backpack. I've got an M70 as my primary machine, and it's good but getting a bit long in the tooth for my CAD apps. I'm still waiting for a netbook in a tablet form factor. I'd really like to have something about 2lbs that I can turn portrait and just surf/read PDFs with a pop-up onscreen keyboard.

600?599?899? (1)

Airborne-ng (1391105) | about 6 years ago | (#25525161)

Just wondering where these price speculations came out of as I purchased my mini 9 for $486 shipped, and that was the upgraded model with 16GB SSD, and 1GB RAM. I got Ubuntu on it (saves you $50 too btw) and I use it for school. I don't bother taking the power cord with me as the battery lasts for 5 hours.

The article says it right (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 6 years ago | (#25525175)

1GB RAM paired with Vista is just disgusting. It's ridiculous that Intel limited the installed RAM to 1GB.

Two minutes to boot up? That's ludicrous! (1)

crivens (112213) | about 6 years ago | (#25525233)

Two minutes to boot up? That's ludicrous!

Guys! RTFA! Go visit the link, NOW! (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 6 years ago | (#25525323)

It's all ON ONE PAGE! Even the photos! Not spread out across 12, 11, or 10 ad-filled pop-up strewn pages!

Go check it out! This is a sure sign, The world is coming to an end in 30 minutes!

Seriously!

Smaller AND more expensive? Dumb idea. (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 6 years ago | (#25525327)

Who will buy these? Rappers? I want and CAN GET a 17" laptop for that price. You still can't shove a 12" laptop in your pocket.

worse specs than Mini 9 and is with Vista? (1)

MobyTurbo (537363) | about 6 years ago | (#25525411)

It can't be upgraded to 2GB RAM, unlike the mini 9, yet at the same time runs the more demanding Windows Vista OS rather than XP or Linux. It also comes with by default a 1.3GHz processor rather than 1.6GHz, though this is supposed to help with battery life, which is shortened by the bigger screen. The only real advantage I see is that it has a real keyboard.

My old Dell C400 (1)

smallmj (69620) | about 6 years ago | (#25525509)

I fail to see much difference between this and my Dell Latitude C400. Its got a 12.1 inch screen, a Pentium III M 1 GHz CPU, 768 MB RAM (after my upgrades), wieghs less than 3 pounds and gets 2-3 hours of battery life. It's missing 3G support (but who can afford the data plans....)

This puppy isn't a netbook, its a 7 year old ultra portable.

Netbook? I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25525755)

I simply refuse to call this a netbook.It seems like laptop reviewers and there standards have been ported to netbooks. I for instance there is that wired review which calls a netbook with a sub-2 hour battery life the "best of the bunch". Why? Because it's screen size was a inch bigger and you were paying at least 25% MORE than the competition.

This is a LAPTOP not a Netbook, the price and the size say so.

Screen resolution (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 6 years ago | (#25526063)

The best thing about this is they're finally put something with a decent resolution in a laptop. Dell has done this before (eg. my 15" Dell C840 has an excellent 1600x1200 LCD) and I'm glad to finally see a 12" screen with decent resolution. 1280x800, most laptops do 1024 max at 12" which is totally stupid with the giant pixels. ~85 DPI? LOL, what is this the 90's?

Is a 12" laptop really a netbook though? I don't think so. Now stuff a 1280x800 screen into a $500 (max) 10" netbook and get back to me (this is approximately 128 DPI screen, perfect). You might just get a customer.

(yes, I realize DPI is not calculated from the diagonal but the measurements vary so much between manufacturers that you can't calculate an exact figure without the machine sitting right in front of you)

Terrible Effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25526089)

If this was Dell's effort to try to compete with the Mac Book Air, then I will just sit back and watch it fail..... miserably. This thing doesn't even come close to the Mac Book Air in terms of design and looks and is over 1 year late to even try to compete.

The Dell Dock... copying Apple? (1)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | about 6 years ago | (#25526221)

FTFA:

Also making an appearance is the Dell Dock, which despite the Mac-like connotations of the name is no more than a prettied-up program launcher which slides in and out from the top of the screen as needed. I can see this appealing to average users who may even take the time to customise it with their own groups and program shortcuts, but it says something about the Windows OS that Dell feels the need to add another launcher to the desktop.[...]
Dell Dock: it looks a little Mac OS-ish but is really just a shortcut bar for launch your most-used apps

Is it just me, or does this thing look exactly like the Mac OSX dock, and perform a very similar function?

Given the recent patent [slashdot.org] , which Apple received for the dock, I wonder if this represents a patent infringement (or if Dell has licensed it)?

Re:The Dell Dock... copying Apple? (1)

Penguin Follower (576525) | about 6 years ago | (#25527157)

I thought the exact same thing - Dell has Apple-envy....

I thought Netbooks were supposed to be inexpensive (1)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | about 6 years ago | (#25526509)

The first "generation" of Netbooks - if you can call it a generation, were inexpensive.

They served a single purpose - very basic internet access for cheap. The EEE PCs were roughly $349/$399 (CDN) for the first batch and were cheaper than any other notebook/netbook available.

Now the EEE PCs start at $400 and top out at close to $1000. The Lenovo, MSI, Acer and Dells all come in around $400 - $650 for the same feature set that last year was $399. There has certainly been a price premium put on these for the luxury of portability. They are now competing with price (but not performance) of other ultraportable 12.1" notebooks! Some of these netbooks are not much more portable than a Thinkpad X60/61 - and not much cheaper in some cases.

12.1 is no netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25526739)

That piece of junk is not a netbook. It's big, has a normal hard drive (not a solid state drive), huge keyboard etc.. It costs just as much or more as other notebooks.

If this was supposed to compete as a mini, it is an epic fail.

My opinion (1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | about 6 years ago | (#25526843)

Has wireless - but still less space than a Nomad. Lame.

Meanwhile.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25527231)

Almost 60 days later, my mini-inspiron 9 still hasn't shipped....

Yeah I'm pissed, but now I'm just sticking it out to see how long it takes to complete my order.

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