T-Mobile Dell Inspiron Mini 10 4G: An MRT Review & Giveaway
By: Foster Scott (Contributing Editor)
Staff Note: Feb 22, 2011 This contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winners below who scored one of our Dell Mini 4G Netbooks! Very special thank you to Shelby from T-Mobile who provided us with the review unit & our own Jenna for purchasing the additional units to give away. Don’t forget about our ongoing contests and very cool tech prizes. Of course, you can only find them here at MRT. -Foster
Keith B. of Trinity, FL
Kathy L. of Nashville, TN
Sean F. of Stroudsburg, PA
Staff Note: Jan 5, 2011. To ring in the New Year. We’ve decided to couple yet another review with a stellar giveaway. That’s right. We are giving away 3 T-mobile Dell Mini 10 4G netbooks to a few lucky fans. Read on for details!
Having never owned a netbook myself & only playing with my Daughter’s Acer Aspire One (that only has Wi-Fi) while I was setting it up with parental controls, I can easily say I was very excited to get my hands on the T-Mobile Dell Mini 10 with 4G. My laptops have always been Wi-Fi only, so the thought of checking my Twitter & FaceBook anywhere on the go was heaven. The marketing for the Mini 10 is aimed at customers looking for “a netbook with ultraportable, fully featured internet access, so they can be productive and have fun at blazing fast speeds on the go”. Sounds like me, so let’s dive in.
At the end I have added an Unboxing YouTube Video to help you see the Mini 10 a little better, but first things first.
The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 4G netbook is geared to take advantage of T-Mobile’s 4G mobile broadband network and Wi-Fi, including unlimited access to thousands of T-Mobile HotSpot Network locations Nationwide.
My house has Wi-Fi throughout, but for the sake of testing the Mini 10 I kept it on the 3G/4G setting. I am not lucky enough to be in T-Mobile’s 4G area for my house, but i did spend time driving around to ensure I could try the 4G feature. The 4G is built into the Mini 10 so not needing a USB stick or attachments that would stick out was nice. At times when I drove around, I had my Daughter entertain herself with music videos from YouTube and when parked I pulled up a few shows on Netflix.
While the music selection from a teenage girl may not have been my best choice, seeing her stay focused on the videos during the long drives because the streaming kept up quite nicely was impressive. If I found myself parked for a spell, knowing I could watch Netflix to pass the time was a tease (since I knew I would only have the Mini 10 for a short review period). The battery life was great from the integrated six cell battery when the brightness of the screen was kept low and I easily reached the 8 hour mark. The display is somewhat glossy so to keep the screen at a lower level, you may need to plan ahead as to where you want to sit and still see the screen outdoors, since the 4G will have you taking it many places.
On my lap, the Mini 10 did get a little on the hot side. Setting it on a clipboard I had handy was good enough to ensure better airflow and keep it cooler, but for the car rides and couch surfing you may want a book or something. That being said, my Daughter did not seem to mind the heat as she played with it in the car. The keyboard is 92 percent the size of a standard laptop keyboard with keys that have a nice texture and response to the fingers with a solid feel.
For a netbook I understand the need for a smaller MousePad, but one problem I was having is when trying to move the mouse down or up. The small size and super sensitivity had the mouse jumping around at times. At 3 lbs, for some reason the Mini 10 felt a little heavier than I was expecting, I am guessing it is due to the weight distribution of the battery. Later I picked up my Daughter’s Acer and while it felt the same in pounds, the Acer felt more balanced.
The built-in 1.3 MP Webcam is what you may expect to find on a netbook or notebook these days. Personally I do not like the placement on the display for the Mini 10 (which is the same gripe I have for the Acer and many similar netbooks) as they have it right in the center. I understand wanting the video to be centered when chatting, but every time I go to open the lid to the netbook, my fingers seem to find the webcam and thus I now have a fingerprint right on the lens. My recommendation is to keep a mico-fiber cloth with you at all times.
Now for the specs:
Size: 10.43 x 7.72 x 1.29 inches
Weight: 3 lbs
Included battery: 6 cell 56 WHr lithium-ion battery
Standby time: 11 hours
Band (frequency): 850 MHz;900 MHz;1800 MHz;1900 MHz;UMTS/HSPA+: AWS Band IV / 2100 / 1900 / 850
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows 7 Starter Edition
Processor: Intel® ATOM™ Processor N450 (1.66 GHz; 512 KB L2 Cache)
Memory: 1 GB DDR2 533 MHz SDRAM
Graphics: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
Hard Drive: 160 GB 2.5-inch, 5400 RPM SATA
Display: 10.1-inch LED, 1024 x 600 Glossy WSGVA
Battery*: 6 cell 56 WHr lithium-ion battery Up to 8 hours Websurfing; 11 hours standby*
Ports: VGA, 3 USB 2.0 Ports, 5-in-1 Media Card Reader (SD Card Size), Headphone, Mic, Ethernet
Price: $250 with a 2 year contract. $450 without.
* Based on Dell Lab testing. Battery life varies by configuration, operating conditions and other factors. Maximum battery capacity decreases with time and use.
The video should give you a better idea on the size and look of the Dell Mini 10 from T-Mobile as well as some of the Pro’s and Con’s I could point out.
Pro’s: Long battery life, fast 4g speeds, ultraportable, price (because of 2 year contract), unlimited access to HotSpot locations, textured Keys and sturdy feel when typing, sturdy overall feel of netbook
Con’s: $250 but only with a 2 year contract ($450 without) , 4G only in select cities so far, super sensitive mouse pad, white color bottom may attract dirt, location of webcam when opening lid is a fingerprint magnet.
Reality Grade: While some of my gripes are more of personal dislikes, like the placement of the webcam and color of the bottom for attracting dirt, the ultraportability of the Dell Mini 10 along with the speeds while surfing the net and checking email were fantastic. I would say if you are in the market for a netbook then you should go to T-Mobile and check out the Dell Mini 10 4G. It’s a powerful, sleek netbook that works on so many levels. Good thing for you this review is also a Giveaway!
Giveaway Details: Like all our other giveaways, the rules are super simple. If you’re not already one of our 184,000 super-smart email subscribers, you need to be. That’s rule #1. Simply enter your email on the upper right hand side of any page (make sure to go back into your email to confirm). That’s all you need. What’s the email subscription for? Everytime we have an article or a giveaway, you get a copy on your email. That’s it. No solicitation, nothing sold, your information is 100% private. ZERO spam! Rule #2, simply comment below on why you want this little darling. Only one comment per person, per day is counted.
Additional chances: If you’re not our friend on Facebook yet, you’re totally missing out. Lots of our devoted FB friends have won awesome prizes. Simply “like” us on FB and be sure to comment on our articles and giveaways whenever you see one. Those entries count as well! Winners will be chosen randomly using all avenues by Feb 20, 2011. Got Youtube? Be our friend and comment on the video. Only one comment per person is considered, but it counts!