Dell says “me too!”, launches the Inspiron Mini 9 netbook

15 Comments

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.

15 Comments

james braselton

HI THERE YOU ARE RIGHT DELL HP APPLE JUST RELEASED THERE FIRST SSD NETBOOKS AND LAPTOPS LAST SATERDAYED I FINNALY PLAYED WITH THE DEMO SSD NETBOOKS WITH HARD DRIVES CONSANTLY FAILYING ON MY I WILL TAKE ANY SSD AT ANY CAPACITY AT ANY COST I HAVE HADE 10 HARD DRIVE FAILUERS IN 30 YEARS COMPUTER HARD DRIVE HARD DRIVE CAMCORDER A 60 GB HARD DRIVE IPOD AND A 40 GB TIVO HARD DRIVE BUT I USED A USB 4 GB SDHC CARD TOO BUY PASS THE HARD DRIVE YAH THE SSD NETBBOKS AND LAPTOPS ARE NOW AT THE RETAIL STORES AND NOT COSTOM ORDERS GO SSD

James Kendrick

Having looked inside the Mini 9 and been told that it has no fan there is no way to put a HDD in it. That said, don’t be surprised to hear about a Mini 10 or 11 with a bigger screen and more room inside.

ben

They need to offer a HDD option. I also think that they’re overpriced for their feature set, but Dell usually offers discounts on their products of about 10-30%.

Mark

One of the problems that I have with it is the same problem that Kevin has talked about before. If you have looked at the pictures of the keyboard the right shift key is in the wrong place and is extremely tiny. That is a deal breaker for me.

Robert

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.

Robert

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

Brian

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).

Kip

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.

WORD-SMITH

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.

Nate

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.

Gavin Miller

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

James Kendrick

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.

James Kendrick

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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