Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dell Mini 9 Review

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me get really excited on Monday, because my new Dell Inspiron Mini 9 arrived.

Some people said, "hey, it's just a laptop, why are you so excited ?!" I'm excited because I've had an iPhone for awhile and thought it would solve all my "away from a computer but still need to be connected" issues.

What I've found over the past year with the iPhone is that I mostly need something that is greater than the iPhone but less than a laptop, which is about 80% of the time....and of course there is no FullTilt poker client for the iPhone :-)

The size is perfect. The screen is much brighter than I expected, I've got it turned all the way up and it is as bright as my Dell 2007WFP widescreen in the office.

I'm running Windows XP with the resolution at 1024x600 and it is very easy on the eyes with more screen real estate than I expected. All the webpages I visit can be viewed quite nicely.

I did uncompress the drive and that seemed to speed things up. The compression was not saving that much space, and if you use it for what it was made for, you don't need that much space. The keyboard did take some getting used to, but you can actually type pretty quick once your left hand figures out to shift a little to the left so you stop typing the S key for the A key.

I've got 1GB of RAM, and using it for my regular surfing the real memory usage stays around the 462MB range, so I don't really see the need to put 2GB of RAM in it like some people are doing.

I did load MS Office 2007 to see how it would perform. The installation took some time, about 45 minutes, but the performance is actually pretty fast. It feels as fast as being on my regular D820 laptop.

So what do I do with it on a daily basis ? ... here's some screen shots.

This is the homepage of my Slimp3 player. It is a device that streams music from your central music repository (another computer), it's a little long in the tooth now, but still a great device I've used for many years. The device has a web interface so you can change the music from anywhere in the world. Sometimes I turn it on from the office and serenade my wife with a love song :-)

You can also view all the album artwork and pick songs in that manner, very easy to do with the Mini, it was a little clumsy on the iPhone web interface. Yeah, I made sure I had the screen with a Tiffany album !

The other great use while laying in bed is to watch Hulu. If you haven't experienced the greatness that is you need to stop reading this and jump over there RIGHT NOW ! I'm not kidding, go there now.

... and of course MY review would not be complete without showing you the great "training" poker client from FullTilt. I've found that two-tabling is ideal with the widescreen. You can have both tables up and overlapped, when it is your action the other one will pop on top, but you can still click back to the other table if needed.... and don't go all-in with A3s, that's my donkey move :-)

If you have excellent eyesight, you can shrink the tables to the smallest size, as seen in this shot, and 4-table. It's actually not too bad, and you could make them a little bigger and overlapped more. I tried it for about an hour, but to be honest, 2 tables is about as much attention as I can give the game at any single time.

I've been getting about 3 1/2 hours of battery life with the screen brightness turned down and the wifi connected. The other nice thing is how small the charger is, no big "brick" ... it's about the size of a phone charger.

Since it uses the Atom processor and other low power devices, the heat generated is very low and that means no more burned laps while surfing late at night in the bedroom :-)

So all in all I'm very pleased with this purchase. I just have to keep my wife from stealing it !


Greg Ashbaugh said...

Hey Scott, great review! I think I'm going to hold out for the new mini 12. Cheers.

Doug Hazelman said...

Cool review, maybe a good xmas gift

Darrin Hanson said...

Yeah, but how does it handle your porn? That's the true test... :)

PrettyPokerBoy said...

Ohh yeah, leave it up to a relative to ask about how it plays "movies" ... I did mention that it is wide screen, right ? :-)