While there are many netbooks on the market from a variety of different vendors, for the most part they are composed of the same hardware. They generally carry an Intel Atom processor with a solid-state drive or hard drive, 1GB or so of memory, and an 8" to 10" screen. One area though where these netbooks can differentiate is with the operating system. While Microsoft's Windows XP continues to be used on a large number of netbook computers, when it comes to those vendors deploying Linux each usually has a slightly different flavor. ASUS prefers a spin of Xandros on their Eee PC, there is Linpus, gOS, and many others are out there. When it comes to Dell with their popular Inspiron Mini 9 netbook, they happen to be using Ubuntu but with a few modifications. In preparations for an article later this week where we will be extensively looking at Ubuntu's netbook performance, in this article we are taking a closer look at Dell's Inspiron Mini 9.
Like most of Dell's products, the Inspiron Mini 9 is customizable when ordering from the manufacturer. The base specifications for the Mini 9 include an Intel Atom N270 CPU, 512MB of DDR2-533MHz memory, a glossy 8.9-inch LED backlit display, Intel GMA 950 graphics, an 8GB solid-state drive, Ubuntu Linux 8.04.1, an 802.11g WiFi adapter, and a 4-cell battery. Other features can also be customized such as the color of the bezel and whether or not there is an integrated web camera. What we were looking at today was a Mini 9 netbook with all of the basic hardware, while the higher-end versions include up to 1GB of memory and a 16GB solid-state drive. While Dell has collaborated up with Canonical to offer Ubuntu on a variety of netbooks, notebooks, and desktops, Windows XP Home Edition is offered as an option with the Inspiron Mini 9.
The packaging for the Inspiron Mini 9 was rather basic, and the netbook itself rested within a cardboard carton, but it protected the Intel netbook well. Included with the 9" computer was an Inspiron setup guide, an Ubuntu Quick Start Guide, an Ubuntu 8.04 LTS recovery DVD, a Dell drivers and utilities DVD, and a US power adapter. Dell backs the Inspiron Mini 9 with a one-year limited warranty. What is not included with this netbook is any sleeve or small carrying case, like what there was with the Samsung NC10 netbook, which would have been nice to have with this Dell product.