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Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 in-depth review

  • Equipment
  • Housing
  • Interfaces
  • Input Devices
    • Keyboard
    • Touchpad
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Impact on the environment
    • Noise
    • Temperature
    • Loudspeakers
  • Battery
  • Verdict


The package includes:

Inspiron Mini 1012

Network cable

User's manual

Windows 7 reinstallation CD

Works 9 disk

CD with drivers and software

Windows 7 Starter is installed as a base on the laptop.


The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 has a very original look as its lid is smaller than the work platform, which protrudes at the back about 2 centimeters outside the outline of the screen cover. Dell used a similar case design in the Vostro V13, however, when the laptop was closed, it created a flat top surface, and in the Mini 1012, the bulging back is not thicker than the thickness of the lid and there is a difference in level. Thus, the hem hides the 6-cell battery, which bulges out of the body.

The next element of the tested unit, which is noted, is the light green laptop lid. The manufacturer wanted to create the impression of green jade with a sparkling design. There are few laptop models with this color, even between laptops, which most often come in several colorful varieties. In addition to green, the Inspiron has six other screen cover colors to choose from; the rest of the elements are the same color in all models. Unfortunately, since the surface of the cover is glossy, unaesthetic fingerprints are very visible on it. Its resource has a silver Dell logo and only in this place the surface bends slightly under the onslaught. Overall, the lid is sturdy and protects the die well.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10

The sides of the Inspiron also shine, which together with the bottom are made of one plastic. It has a white color with the aforementioned brilliance. In my opinion, this is not the best solution for the color of the bottom of mobile equipment, which sometimes, probably, will not be in a very clean place. In short, I do not predict a long, clean and irreproachable future for this element. However, this combination - a white bottom and a colored cover in a small Dell looks very nice. The lower part, although colorful non-business, has, however, other advantages for use, because it is very strong and does not bend anywhere.

On the bottom are localized speaker holes, ventilation holes, which are not absent on the sides, as well as five white, rubber feet. Since the bottom is one piece of plastic, there are no service tabs in it. If, therefore, there is a need to replace any of the components, it will be necessary to spin up the whole working platform (this is a solution that is often found in many brands of laptops).

Upon opening, it turns out that most of the surface is black. On the one hand, judging by the appearance, one could hope for something more original. The frame around the screen is glittering, with the silver Dell logo placed underneath. The solidity of this element is at a high level; under the onslaught, only on the right side, you can see the changes in the image when the frame is compressed in this place.

Two small hinges are not fully able to hold the screen in a given position during shaking. If the angle to which the screen was opened is less than 90 degrees, then everything is in order. If, however, the angle is greater, then the screen falls to the maximum opening state, which is about 130 degrees. It would take a little more while holding on the knees, but this design of the hinges makes this impossible. The hinges themselves are quiet. To open the laptop, you need to hold the work platform.It would seem that with a lack of other mechanisms, closed hinges without a problem hold such a small and light cover, but when we turned the Mini 1012 upside down, the screen cover falls by about 1.5 cm.

The wrist rest and the front and behind the hinges are made of shiny, black plastic. On its surface there is a convex, wavy ornament, which until then is matte. It is pleasant to the touch, and thanks to it, fingerprints are not visible in the aforementioned places. The plastic itself is tight and does not bend; the manufacturer is commended for using such material.


Like a netbook, the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 has all the basic, very well-placed connections. There are no ones ahead; there are only two white LEDs here (from power / battery and disk). On the left side is the card reader and the rest of the connections, placed closer to the back. Also on the right side the connections are removed from the user. This is good - the connected devices won't get in the way. The battery takes up most of the back wall. To the right of it we have the power plug, and the hole for the connection is on the left. When we take out the battery, we will find under it the SIM card slot of the installed WWAN modem.

front: no latch

left: VGA, 2x USB, card reader

right: 3.5 mm headphone and microphone ports, USB, LAN

back: battery, Kensington Lock

Input Devices


The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 has a classic keyboard, with white, highly visible markings on the black keys. Their placement is standard, with the Ctrl key in the lower left corner and Delete in the upper right. The size of the key plates is 17x16 mm, which is slightly less than in large notebook models. Thanks to this, there are no problems with hitting the corresponding keys. There are smaller arrows and function keys, but the plates in the first row of keys are slightly taller, which in no way affects the comfort of writing.

By default, the function keys act in combination with Fn, and without it they act as buttons that control hardware, but this can be changed (both in the BIOS and in the installed program in Windows). The jump of the keys is quite soft and long. The keyboard does not flex when writing; just with a stronger squeeze in, the side sections in the outskirts of the "S" key on the left and ":" on the right are delicately bent. Once we get used to the fact that the whole keyboard is small, text embedding will not be a problem. Until then, the keys are not loud.



The separated touchpad, placed in front of the keyboard, is, like on a netbook, rather large (78x37mm). It is made of matte black plastic. The finger moves along it smoothly, and the movement of the cursor is fast and accurate. The touchpad has mouse keys. But it doesn't have separate buttons because they are integrated into one touchscreen that acts like one big button. When we click it on the left side, we will hear a quiet click and this will respond to a click with the left button; it is similar with the right side. This is a very convenient solution - in order to click, we don't even have to take our finger off the touchpad.



The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is equipped with a 10.1 "screen with a 1024x600 pixel resolution; therefore, the workspace is small. However, it should be borne in mind that with these and not other physical dimensions, the highest separation would unnecessarily torment the eyesight. The matrix has a glittering shell, which in such a mobile computer can be quite a disappointment. The resulting displays and glare prevent the use of the netbook. To some extent they are not very noticeable through the very high brightness of the image (applied backlit by LED diodes), but a much better choice would be matte matrix.

In the horizontal plane, the viewing angles are nearly full; you can always read the illuminated text and we do not observe the inversion of colors. It is worse with vertical corners; looking every time from the higher position, the picture quickly becomes clearer, and from the lower position the image darkens.Color inversion appears, however, at very large angles, from which, apparently, we will not look at the screen.

viewing angles


Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is equipped with an Intel Atom N450 processor with a clock speed of 1.66 GHz and 512 kB of cache memory. These parameters are, therefore, the same as in the older N280, hence the performance is similar. The difference is rooted in the architecture - in the core of the N450, along with the processor, the DDR2 memory controller and graphics are integrated. It is bad that the controller does not support the latest, less power-hungry DDR3 memory, but one will appear in the receiver of this processor, which is predicted to bear the designation N455. Although through the integration of these structures, the processor receives more power, but the whole platform is much more economical than in the previous generation. Prior to that, the N450 had embedded EM64T instructions that allowed 64-bit programs to be put into operation.

The processor-integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics card has two pixel streams. Although this is half of what the GMA 950 had, the performance is similar - ultra low (after all, netbooks are not made with gaming in mind). It's a shame that Intel hasn't equipped this graphics card with features to help recreate high-resolution movies.

Impact on the environment


With passive (fanless) cooling applied, the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is quiet no matter what we do or how much we use its stock of hardware. Not captured equally by both the ear and the sonometer increasing or decreasing the volume of its hard drive, which produces a noise of about 33-34 dB.


In Dell tested, the temperatures of the components are not cold, but within the normal range. This cannot be said about the temperature of the case of this model - the use of passive cooling has its negative consequences.

Already during rest, the plastic on the bottom reaches temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius in places, and on the top, the temperature of the keyboard approaches this mark. Under load, it is obviously even warmer - a maximum above 45 ° C on both sides, and the average highs are the same both at the top and at the bottom, reaching over 41 degrees. The Mini 1012 is simply capable of attaining higher temperatures over the entire surface than the human body. The only colder spot is the back surface behind the hinges, but apparently no one there will be touching during use. Although, therefore, the small size and weight are encouraged to keep it in our lap, but later we will feel discomfort and begin to get closer to where we could put the Inspiron.


The Mini 1012 has small stereo speakers mounted on the front of the cabinet, and the holes through which sound flows are placed on the bottom. Such a solution suppresses and additionally degrades equally both the quality and the maximum loudness of the sounds that are emitted through it. The main high tones are recreated; the average values ​​are canceled, and the low ones are not at all. At maximum volume, they do not crackle, which is their only advantage. Suitable for conversations over the Internet, but for recreating music and movies, at least while traveling, I recommend using headphones.


Thanks to more modern, more frugal components than older netbooks, and a 6 cell battery, the Mini 1012 achieves very long runs per battery load. Left alone with the screen as dark as possible and the wireless modules turned off, the netbook lasts almost 11 hours. Working hours while surfing the network with Wi-Fi on, WWAN modem and Bluetooth over 6 hours. If the netbook is to be used in the way it was actually created (that is, to use the Internet), it will last over 6.5 hours. Apparently with Wi-Fi on, WWAN modem, Bluetooth and the screen clarified to a comfortable level. For most users, a small power supply will be enough for the whole day, and the battery slots will only be looked for in the evening to load the battery for the next day.

Using a computer to which no cable is connected and not worrying that the battery will quickly run out is very comfortable and enjoyable.


The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 is a solid and good netbook with Intel's new, economical Pine Trail platform. Thanks to her, as well as the use of a capacious battery, it works for a very long time without an external power connection. Combined with small dimensions and weight (although they are just slightly larger than in other computers of this magnitude), as well as with the available wireless modules, this is truly mobile equipment with an Internet application. In addition, the touchpad as well as the keyboard are ergonomic and pleasant to use.

Since, however, nothing is perfect in nature, this equipment also has its flaws. One of them is the low resolution of the glossy matrix, which is the fault of which tantalizing displays and glare appear on the screen. The most serious defect is the obscenely high case temperatures, which, especially on hot days, will be annoying. This is a consequence of the use of passive cooling. The fanless Dell Inspiron Mini 10 was not, however, voiceless because it was equipped with a traditional hard drive.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10