The Bottom Line
Aug 28 2011 - Dell's Mini 1012 is essentially a laptop that is stuck in design and features from over a year ago. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't priced near $400 which is well above many similarly equipped netbooks. It does have a few improvements such as Windows 7 Home Premium and an HDMI port but it just doesn't make up for the various shortcomings. It may appeal to a few buyers though as Dell does offer it in a few unique colors although some do add extra to an already overpriced netbook.
- Equipped With HDMI Port
- Available In Multiple Colors
- High Price For Older Hardware
- Horrible Trackpad Design
- When Closed, Display Lid Doesn't Full Cover Back Of Chassis
- Intel Atom N450 Single Core Mobile Processor
- 1GB PC2-5300 DDR2 Memory
- 250GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 10.1" WSVGA (1024x600) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA 3150 Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 2.0, HDMI, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 10.3" x 7.2" x 1.1" @ 2.8 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee Security Center
Review - Dell Mini 1012
Aug 28 2011 - The Dell Mini 1012 is essentially the same netbook as the Dell Mini 10 that was released back in early 2010. There have been a number of minor updates to the system specifications but little has really changed and that is a big problem for this netbook.While the performance of the Atom processor hasn't really improved much over the years, there have been a few tangible updates. By using the older Intel Atom N450 single core processor, Dell has limited the Mini 1012 to using older and slower DDR2 memory instead of faster DDR3 memory if it upgraded the internals to use the N455 or newer dual core N570 models. This means that it will have a bit lower overall performance than most newer netbooks. The other issue is the fact that Dell continues to ship it with just 1GB of memory even though it has upgraded the operating system to Windows 7 Home Premium. The OS update is nice because it removes a number of limitations from Windows 7 Starter but the 1GB memory will hamper the overall performance and experience unless users upgrade it to at least 2GB. Since it uses older DDR2 memory though, upgrading is a bit more difficult and expensive.
One of the other major advantages of using the Windows 7 Home Premium license is the removal of restrictions on the hardware. This means that Dell could pack in a larger hard drive into the system which could make up for the older processor and memory. Instead, the company uses a standard 250GB hard drive that can be found on just about any netbook. It doesn't even distinguish itself by using a higher performance 7200rpm drive.
Dell should have upgraded to the trackpad of Mini 1012. The Mini 10 had an abysmal trackpad that chose to integrate the buttons into the trackpad itself. This combined with the small overall size of the trackpad made using the buttons an exercise in frustration compared to if they had decided to use standard buttons instead. Because of this, it is highly recommended that users opt for an external mouse for a much better experience.
The peripheral port layout of the Dell Mini 1012 does set itself apart from other 10-inch netbooks in both good and bad ways. This is one of the only netbooks available with the Intel GMA graphics that actually features an HDMI output. This means that it can be easily connected to an external monitor or HDTV which is very useful with the limited resolution of the 10-inch screen. The downside is that it lacks a VGA output for use with older monitors and it only features two USB 2.0 ports while most netbooks have three. At least Dell makes up for the lost USB port by including Bluetooth within the netbook for easy connecting to compatible wireless peripherals.
The battery pack and running times of the Dell Mini 1012 remain pretty much unchanged from the original release of the Mini 10 wedge design. It features an internal six-cell battery pack that features a 56WHr rated capacity. In video streaming playback tests, the netbook was able to run for sic and a half hours before going into standby mode. This is fairly typical of most Intel based netbooks with a battery pack of this capacity.
Of course, the price is what really plagues the Dell Mini 1012. While many older netbooks can be found for under $300, Dell has inexplicably priced this version at roughly $400. While it does offer a few advantages over the lower cost netbooks, they certainly don't add up to over $100 worth of features.