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Dell Inspiron Mini 12 12.1-inch Netbook Subnotebook Laptop PC

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Dell Inspiron Mini 12 12.1-inch Netbook Subnotebook Laptop PC

Dell Inspiron Mini 12


The Bottom Line

Feb 26 2009 - Dell's Inspiron Mini 12 was the first netbook computer to feature an LCD panel more commonly associated with full sized ultraportable laptops. This gives it larger overall dimensions that make it much easier to work with compared to traditional netbooks and the large battery gives it some good battery life. The problem is that the system is built around components that are actually slower than your average netbook giving it less than stellar performance and the hard drives are downright small compared to today's netbooks.
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  • Large 12.1-inch Display
  • Strong Battery Life


  • Sluggish Performance
  • Small Hard Drive


  • Intel Atom Z520 Mobile Processor
  • 1GB PC2-4200 DDR2 Memory
  • 60GB 4200rpm PATA
  • 12.1-inch WXGA (1280x800) Wide LCD With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • Intel GMA 500 Integrated Graphics
  • Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
  • 11.8" x 9" x 1.1" @ 3.2 pounds
  • Windows XP Home

Guide Review - Dell Inspiron Mini 12 12.1-inch Netbook Subnotebook Laptop PC

Feb 26 2009 - Until the release of the Dell Inspiron Mini 12, netbooks traditionally were relatively small and highly portable systems with 10-inch or smaller screens. The 12.1-inch display of the Inspiron Mini 12 gives this netbook the appearance more akin to an ultraportable laptop. The screen has the benefit of a higher resolution display that is easier to read and also providing the dimensions to support a larger keyboard although it still falls a bit short of normal size.

Rather than using the Intel Atom N series processors, the Inspiron Mini 12 uses the Atom Z520 series processors that are designed for even lower power consumption mobile internet devices. This does give it an above average battery life compared to most netbooks, but the processor also only runs at 1.3GHz compared to the N270's 1.6GHz. This means that the system is slower overall compared to smaller and more affordable netbooks. Upgraded models with the 1.6GHz Z530 will have more comparable performance.

Even though the Inspiron Mini 12 has larger overall dimensions, Dell chose to use smaller 1.8-inch hard drives . It also uses the older ATA interface rather than the newer SATA interface. They did this to keep the overall thickness of the laptop closer to 1-inch tall. The drawback to this is relatively small and slower rotating drives than traditional 2.5-inch laptops. The end result is a netbook that has less overall storage compared to other hard drive based netbooks.

With a slightly more expensive price tag to cover the costs of the display, the Inspiron Mini 12 will really come down to the user who wants a larger display screen and more comfortable keyboard size compared to a netbook device with storage and performance.

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