Dell mini 10v netbook (mini review)

I spend about 3 hours commuting most working days and although this gives me
plenty of time to catchup on my technical reading I’ve been thinking that it
would be good to have a small laptop/netbook so I could do some coding too.
I’ve tried using my work 15” Dell Precision laptop for this but it’s too big
for the cramped tube seats so I’ve been looking for a small and cheap “commute
compute” device. I finally decided to give the Dell mini 10v a try.

The mini 10v looks good and feels solid with a generally good build quality.
The screen is clear and easy to read and overall I’m pretty happy with the
hardware. The screen resolution is 1024x600 which means that larger dialog
boxes don’t always fit on the screen. My main gripe is the trackpad: rather
than having separate buttons the bottom left & right corners of the trackpad
function and buttons. These button areas are not very sensitive and I found
that there is a tendency for the mouse pointer to move a bit when you press
the “buttons” which means that it’s easy to miss the target if the area you
are trying to click on is small.

Before I continue, let’s have a few photos… (by G.

Dell mini 10v closed
Dell mini 10v open,
Dell mini 10v open,

The min10v comes with Windows 7 starter for small notebooks. I won’t say a
great deal about this as I wiped it soon after receiving the machine. I did
poke around a little bit first though and here are a couple of comments

Windows 7 desktop

Amazingly of the 160Gb only 134Gb is visible on the main partition and of this
a stunning 11Gb is already in use. The missing space is taken up by two other
partitions. I have not investigated yet but I imagine one is a Dell system
restore partition. The net result is that there is only 123Gb available for

Disk usage on clean system

When booting, it takes about 30 seconds to get to the password prompt, and
another minute for the desktop to complete loading (taskbar becomes visible).
However, waking from sleep (eg after closing the lid) seems pretty quick.

Unfortunately, in addition to Windows 7, some crapware in the shape of McAfee
is installed. MS Works is also installed, as is a 60 day trial of MS Office
Home & Student edition 2007 which pesters you for a product key every time you
start it.

Otherwise that’s about it. The basic Windows accessories are there, as are the
standard Windows games and MSN messenger. Strangely clicking on the “games”
icon on the dock only gives you the option of downloading games and does not
display the games under the Windows / All Programs / Games menu.

There is a website, dedicated
to the Dell mini series of laptops. Looking at the operating
area of the site’s forums it looks like people are
not only using the 10v for Windows (XP, Vista, Windows
) but also
Ubuntu and Mac OS X.