Hands-on with the Dell Mini 10v

imgp1500We just had a chance to go hands-on with the freshly announced Dell Mini 10v. For the uninitiated, the Mini 10v is the cheaper version of the Dell Mini 10 which costs $299, $50 less than the Mini 10. We noticed that the Mini 10v has a plastic case as opposed to a magnesium alloy one. The edge-to-edge glass screen is also gone as there isn’t a high-definition display option. The keypad doesn’t support multi-touch, and it has a VGA port instead of an HDMI one. Under the hood you’ll find a 1.6GHz Intel Atom 270 processor, Microsoft Windows XP, 1GB of RAM, a 120GB 5,400rpm hard drive, and a 3-cell lithium ion battery. The $349 Mini 10 has an Intel Atom Z520 processor clocked at 1.33GHz, 1GB of RAM, and a larger 160GB hard drive. The plastic bezel is noticeably less chic, and you won’t want to take the VGA approach over HDMI if you connect your netbook to your LCD TV. At the highest end, you’re missing out on a 1366 x 768 display that’s available on the Dell Mini 10 only. Overall, if you’re cash strapped, there’s not a lot of sacrifice. Chances are you might not have the high-end LCD and don’t require HDMI out anyway, and you may not need the high-def screen, so it’s a compelling buy.

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  1. Nick Says:

    The one thing that makes the 10v superior to the 10 is the Intel GMA950 and the atom n270. That means that this netbook will probably be able to run OS X as flawlessly as the mini 9.

    That’s great news because the chassis for the mini 10 is much superior, but the z520 and GMA500 made it impossible to run OS X on it

  2. alpha10 Says:

    Is it fanless like the Mini 9 and the old Mini 10 ???

  3. zhir Says:

    The big problem is not the lack of 768p HD option.
    The problem is that the Mini 10V has a *lower* screen resolution than the mini 9 and any other netbook in the market. However, the 1024*576 screen is more expensive to produce than the cheap standard 1024*600 screen (because of economies of scale).

    So, the question is: who is subsidizing Dell to ship expensive lower resolution screens on new N270 in lieu of the standard netbook resolution screens (or better)?
    Who wants to downplay the N270 netbooks, and favor the slower Z520 netbooks?
    Why are all netbook vendors forced to ship N270 netbooks with 1024*600 (or worse), while shipping slow Z520 netbooks with higher desktop resolutions?
    Could the European Commission have a look at the netbook market, please?

  4. Richard Says:

    I think you’re all missing the boon of the v iteration. It integrates a Silverthorne Z series Atom as opposed to the Diamondville. Not only is the silicon slightly better binned, but it uses the Poulsbo chipset.

    Poulsbo + Atom Z530 = ~4.3W
    945GSE + Atom N270 = ~11.8W (from memory, check ARK for the actual stats)

    Massive implications for a whole new developing sector here. Check our site out for more details!

  5. Richard Says:

    Sorry, I should rephrase that – it’s misleading and inaccurate.

    The V iteration has a more mainstream hardware set that 90% of other netbooks carry – Atom Diamondville N270 + 945GSE.

    What Dell are repositioning as the ‘Vanilla’ Mini 10 is now built on a more specialised hardware platform; the aforementioned Poulsbo & Silverthorne Combo.

    The point about the GMA950 being a better chip is moot. It’s absolutely terrible and offers no real rendering performance to speak of. While the GMA500 (actually designed by SiS) is even worse it was never intended to offer good 3D performance. What it does offer is native 720p HD decoding in-hardware which is really what these devices need.

    Ion goes the other way and sides with a richer core logic including a far more capable GeForce 9400 GPU. The fact is that you pay a power penalty for that – as evident if you look at the reviews the Zotac Ion board has been getting.

    Performance cannot always be measured by the same metric. This is a really interesting development and if you’re shrewd about what you’re buying a netbook choice, you have a wealth of options once you look past the swathe of generic N270 + 945GSE clones.

  6. mark Says:

    I’ve had the 10v for about a week. I was really surprised how fast the N270 is – no performance issues on anything I ran – including hulu.com (std def), youtube, mp4 video playback. I even tried some 3d games on this just to see how they’d do. The CPU was fine with them, although the graphics chip is basic and only handled low quality. There is no fan. The keyboard is fine. The screen width is fine but the height is tight. I reconfigured windows to maximize screen space (auto hide toolbar, set title bars to be small, use Firefox with no toolbar and mini-menu, etc.) For a few apps, the bottom few pixels were cut-off – they couldn’t handle the strange resolution. 10″ is OK with screen setup optimally but 11″ would be ideal (enough screen but still super portable) with a better GPU – as long as it doesnt kill battery life. In regards to one of the postings above, I’ve heard that Microsoft mandates that vendors keep the screen and processing small as part of the low cost licensing so Microsoft can compete against Linux.

    It’s going to be really interesting when the ARM netbooks and nextGen Intel netbooks come out. Tough to see how MSFT is going to make money when PC’s start selling in the 200 hundred dollar range. Interestingly DELL charges the same for Linux and Windows.

  7. Joe Bucci Says:

    I’ve had mine about a week. It’s the Nick Edition, which is of no interest to me, so I’m running “Standard” Windows-XP SP3 Home. I love the size, and performance seems pretty good to me! – I upgraded to DX-9, latest Flash, Java, Quicktime, SpyBot S&D, FireFox, and a bunch of graphic and sound programs. Everything runs fins, and at *very* decent speed.

    My son tells me it’s a “Perfect” Netbook to “Hackintosh”. So, I’ll buy a copy of OS-X or Leopard (It’s like $40 or $45 bucks you “cheapskates”!) And, when he comes to visit (he lives in Florida, I in New Hampshire.) he’ll set it up “Dual Boot” for me. My Hard Drive is 160GB, so I’ll give the “Mac” 60BG or so… that *should* be enough.



  8. turo62 Says:

    My main concern is can you easily upgrade to 2 GIG of RAM memory; Or is it extremely difficult to do so.?

  9. rogerh Says:

    The 10v can be upgraded to 2GB but it requires almost full disassembly. There are several video guides around, though.

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