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Summary:

After months of speculation and leaks, it’s official. Dell is set to announce their netbook entry, the Inspiron Mini 9, this morning and the starting price for a version with Ubuntu 8.04 will be had for $349, although that option isn’t available quite yet. Today in […]

Dellinspironmini9After months of speculation and leaks, it’s official. Dell is set to announce their netbook entry, the Inspiron Mini 9, this morning and the starting price for a version with Ubuntu 8.04 will be had for $349, although that option isn’t available quite yet. Today in the U.S., Japan and selected countries in Europe, you can order a base Mini 9 with Windows XP Home for $399 and options can shoot the cost up to over $450 or more. Not exactly the $299 price tag everyone was hoping for, but not at the top end for this market either.

Let’s see what you get for your $399… and yes, this will sound familiar to those following the current netbook market:

  • Obsidian Black color; Alpine White is another $25
  • 9" x 6.7" x 0.6 to 1.2"
  • 8.9-inch glossy display at 1024×600 resolution
  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom
  • Integrated 802.11g included while Bluetooth 2.1 adds $20
  • 4-cell battery, 32 W/hr
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 3 USB ports, VGA out, Ethernet jack, card reader
  • 8 GB solid state drive (16 GB adds $40)
  • Integrated 1.3-megapixel webcam
  • MS Works

So far, the difference between the Mini 9 and others seems to be an extra battery cell and Works. ;) Actually, it’s nice to see a 4-cell battery. My estimate would be around three-hours of battery life with normal usage. But I’m wondering about that solid state drive: who makes it and how fast is it? I wasn’t happy with the Windows XP performance on my SSD-based Acer netbook because the data transfer rates were just too slow for me. If Dell is going out the door with Windows XP systems, I have to believe that they’ll perform at a decent speed which means faster SSD. The Direct2Dell blog says that the Mini 9 has a starting weight of 2.28-pounds which is lighter than many others in this space, but when I hear "starting weight", I immediately wonder if the battery is included in that number.

These systems won’t be shipping until September 18th, but can be ordered now. That’s the day of the Mobilize conference in San Francisco that James and I are attending, so maybe we should order one and have a special delivery. I’d like to see how the device behaves… but then again, is there that much different?

One thing that is different (and expected): you will get 2 GB of free storage with Box.net. I’m seeing that more as a marketing bit than anything else. Anyone with or without a netbook can get 1 GB of free storage there today. Actually, there is another difference. Purchase a Studio 15, XPS M1530 or XPS M1330 by 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9th and you can add a Mini 9 for $99. Now, that’s something different!

Try as I might, when I configure a Mini 9 system on the U.S. Dell site, I can only get the price down to $429, not $399. Probably a glitch or could be related to my not having coffee yet this morning.

  1. Dell also has a deal where you can order a “full” laptop from a short list and get the Mini for just $99 according to the Direct2Dell blog.

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  2. Yes, the short list and the $99 deal is in the post above. ;)

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  3. Oops, I missed it. I do wonder what kind of SSDs Dell is using. With a 16 GB cap on them the first thing many are going to want to do is put a HDD in there. 16 GB is way too small for WinXP.

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  4. I’ve just ordered a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 from Dell UK. I’ll be posting an unboxing and review as soon as it arrives. Spec as follows:

    Base Inspiron mini 9 – (UK, 3)
    Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition
    Memory 1024MB 533MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
    Video Card Integrated Intel® Graphic Media Accelerator 950
    Hard Drive 16GB Solid State Hard Drive
    Wireless Dell 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Mini-Card
    Bundle N09M0902
    Standard Warranty 1Yr Limited Warranty – Collect & Return
    Extended Service 1Yr Limited Warranty – Collect & Return
    Bluetooth Dell Integrated Bluetooth Wireless card
    Order Information Inspiron Mini 9 Order – UK
    Primary Battery 4-cell 2200AHr Battery
    Processor Intel ® Atom™ Processor N270 (1.60GHz, 533MHz, 512K cache)
    Camera Integrated 1.3MP Camera
    LCD 8.9″ WSVGA (WLED) Truelife Display

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  5. Dell did the one thing I was worried about. They priced this thing too high. This is an also-ran device.

    If they had hit that 299 mark, my ears would have perked up.

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  6. So are any of us going to give up our laptops for one of these? You have used the HTC Advantage and already spent the money. Are you going to put that on the trash heap for one of these? Tell us more what we are sacrificing to buy half a computer at more than half the price, please.

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  7. Even at this price, (UK £299), I’m still going to wait for an assessment of the SSD performance, keyboard quality and the brightness of the screen especially compared with the MSI Wind before purchasing so it’s not an impulse buy for me.

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  8. I agree with other comments here that I think they have priced themselves out of the game. I would rather spend less money on the Aspire One and get more storage (I need to have all my tunes, a couple movies, dual boot, etc).

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  9. Kevin,
    I got the same price you did. All I could take off was the bluetooth to lower the price at all.

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  10. I have found another link (From UMPCportal.com) that has the Ubuntu option, but still doesn’t lower the price.
    It also allows the bluetooth to now be an option to add, not subtract and a couple other things.
    I can’t seem to find the option on the Studio 15 page to add the $99 Mini.

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