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Dell Mini 9 Impressions – Five Months Later

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I would have loved to download and write up some impressions on the newly released Red Faction: Guerilla demo, however I’m currently breaching 90% of the bandwidth limit. So instead, I’ll be talking about my Mini 9 and my impressions of it after five months of use.

Now I’m not 100% certain if its the 1.6 Ghz Hyper Threaded Intel Atom N270 processor or the weak GMA 950 integrated graphics, but the netbook still struggles with (what I deem to be) the most basic of tasks. I can watch high resolution internet videos via Quicktime or Windows Media, but through Flash? It struggles. Visit a screenshot heavy thread on NeoGAF? It struggles.

Obviously, there are workarounds and none of the mentioned problems are complete showstoppers, but they’re issues which should be addressed in the future as our web surfing moves towards higher resolutions.

For the vast majority of my web browsing, 1024 x 600 is sufficient. There is only one website which gives me browsing annoyances: WordPress’s post page. I did circumvent the problem by doing my blogging throwing Microsoft’s Writer though. Another resolution related problem surfaced when I connected the Mini 9 to my HDTV; the limited resolution letterboxed at 1024 x 600. The alternative was to use 800 x 600 for a nice 4:3 ratio.

And those are the issues.

I don’t regret my purchase. The Dell Mini 9 may have limitations, but it’s still a fantastic gadget. It’s well built, light and extremely portable without being ridiculously cramped. In the future, I’d like to purchase a netbook which addresses most if not all my listed issues, but that could be some time away. What I would love to see is a netbook which employs Nvidia’s Ion and perhaps a next generation Intel Atom processor. Who knows, perhaps Apple will deliver it!

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