Dell Inspiron Mini 12 available in U.S., starts at $549

Laptopinspiron12black314I didn’t expect to see the Dell Insipiron Mini 12 in the U.S. so soon, but of course, the holidays are a-coming. Electronista says that you can order the new small notebook from Dell and sure enough, the product order is page is live. Although we originally heard that only a 24 W/hr 3-cell battery would be available, I see that two of the three models come with a 48 W/hr 6-cell battery. Based on the APC review with the 3-cell, I suspect that 5.5-hours of real-world time can be had with the 6-cell unit. Here’s the breakdown of models and pricing; note that all models are the same externally with the 12.1-inch, 1280×800 display and all come with Windows Vista Home Basic SP1, 1GB of RAM and integrated 802.11g WiFi:

  • $549 = 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 CPU, 40GB hard-drive (4200 RPM)
  • $599 = 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU, 60GB hard-drive (4200 RPM). Price reflects a $55 instant savings.
  • $649 = 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU, 80GB hard-drive (4200 RPM). Price reflects an $80 instant savings.

Couple of thoughts here. At this price range, you could buy a low-end notebook with more under the hood for the same price. Of course, those would likely weigh more, be thicker and not run as long on a single charge. I realize that the Silverthorne version of Atom that Dell went with uses slightly less power than the Diamondville version, but part of me wishes that they went Diamondville. Why? Systems using the Z520 or Z530 max out at 1GB of RAM. Not a deal-breaker if you intend to use the Mini 12 as a netbook for web and mail, but for some, this will be a disappointment. The benefit however is a deeper power down state (C6) and the pairing of the Poulsbo chipset, which should yield benefits in the graphic department as support matures.

Dell will sell you an external USB optical drive for $85 and you can opt for an Alpine White device over Obsidian Black at no extra charge. Going with either of the two higher priced models, you can drop the 6-cell battery in favor of the 3-cell, but that only knocks $30 off the price. Likewise, you can go with a 6-cell on the low-end model and add $30. Nice to see that the price is the same whether you’re coming or going. For $30, I’d lean heavily towards the higher capacity unit (below), even if it does extend out the back.



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