Thursday, September 11, 2008

First impressions of the Dell mini 9

Quite unexpectedly on Thursday morning, over a week before my predicted ship date, my new Dell Inspiron mini 9 arrived. I wasn't alone of course, it seems that they were arriving on doorsteps everywhere, and after playing with it over the weekend I thought I'd post my first impressions of Dell's new netbook.

Posted on Flickr by aallan.
The mini 9 with my 13-inch Macbook for comparison

It's hard to convey how small this thing is, none of the pictures I've taken so far show that, it just looks laptop sized, although the above with the mini perched on top of my Macbook comes close...

Ergonomically then, things are a bit of challenge. I'm still getting used to the keyboard, and I'm unsure whether I'll ever be able to touch type properly on it, and here the somewhat eccentric placement of some of the keys doesn't help. However, it's useable. The same can be said of the processor, I've found the mini somewhat sluggish, although that could be my frustration with Windows shining through. However, again, it's usable...

More than useable in fact, I'm impressed. The screen is just big enough, at least for me, the keyboard isn't really all that bad. It's fast enough and it hardly weighs anything. The power brick isn't huge and, so far at least, the battery seems to last the predicted three and a half hours.

My current plan is to try and use the netbook as it one is intended to be used, and fortunately Dell hasn't loaded XP down with the traditional bloatware. I've installed Google's new Chrome browser and generated desktop icons for Google Mail and Google Reader. I've installed Jungle Disk to access my Amazon S3 buckets, and as much as possible I intend to live in the cloud.

We'll see how that goes...