Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9 netbook finally debuts at $349

Another week, another new netbook. This particular contribution to the exploding tiny-laptop market seems more notable than most, though. Dell pimps the new Inspiron Mini 9 right on its web site’s front page, luring customers with the slogan, “Meet your new best friend.”

Click the link, and you’ll be transported to the Inspiron Mini 9 product page, which lists three different models priced at $349, $399, and $449. The cheapest offering has 512MB of RAM, a 4GB solid-state drive, and Ubuntu Linux 8.04 pre-installed. The middle child runs Windows XP and packs an 8GB SSD, while the priciest of the three features 1GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD. All three have Intel Atom processors, 8.9″ 1024×600 displays, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and four-cell batteries rated for about four hours of run time.

With those specs and the 2.28-pound weight (1.04 kg), the Inspiron Mini 9 sounds a lot like other netbooks. However, Dell has apparently worked hard trying to make the laptop look sleek and refined, and the keyboard layout strays from the cramp-inducing norm. Letter keys are disproportionately large compared to the rest, which should make typing a little more comfortable. That does come with the trade-off of missing or misplaced keys, some of which will require a function-key combination to access.

As a side note, all Inspiron Mini 9 variants currently cost less than Asus’ Eee PC 901s. The Eees do have more storage, bigger batteries, and 802.11n Wi-Fi, but Windows-powered variants currently cost $550-600+ according to our price search engine.

Comments closed
    • Spotpuff
    • 12 years ago

    I tried the AA1 at FutureShop yesterday and the keyboard is just awful. They put the \ key where the enter and left shift keys are. Why not put it just above the enter key? Who knows, but I blame the french.

    I’d rather deal with no F keys than the AA1 layout. Hopefully the $99 deal comes to Canada.

      • ludi
      • 12 years ago

      The AA1 US-English layout is more traditional, if you can get one up there. Try TigerDirect/GlobalComputer. Here’s a shot of mine, which was ordered via Amazon but shipped from Tiger:

      §[<http://img99.imageshack.us/my.php?image=aone3nw1.jpg<]§ Also, did you take a look at the Dell keyboard? It's considerably more modified than just the F-keys. Ifyou dislike the layout compromises on the AA1 English/French layout, you won't be fond of the Dell.

    • Saundie
    • 12 years ago

    I had a look on the US site and it’s listed at $349, which is £198 according to Google, whereas the UK site has it at £300. I suppose we’re playing extra for the legendary Dell technical support this side of the pond?

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      VAT?

        • Hattig
        • 12 years ago

        It’s only 17.5% in the UK. Doesn’t account for the extra

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    On the front page image, is that a beer or orange juice?

    • ludi
    • 12 years ago

    Dell had gold in their hands, and then by reverse alchemy they managed to convert a substantial portion of it into lead with that awful keyboard. Full-width keys for improved typing comfort? What good are those when even the apostrophe key is out of place and one of the shift keys is tiny? Output from this thing will look like a severe case of dyslexia meets SMS. (Offense intended only towards Dell, not dyslexics.)

    If they come out with an option to swap the keyboard for something more balanced, they’ll have a winner. Until then, they have a 7/8s attempt that tries real hard and has a great look, but then manages to get one important functional thing wrong that any grade schooler could have caught during product review. It’s like buying BMW and then discovering iDrive.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      Beautiful rant. I completely agree. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The sad thing is, they’ll have no way of knowing how many sales they lost because of this, and if it doesn’t sell as well as they expect they’ll ascribe it to the niche, not the product (or one particular feature of it). I hope they have it handed to them in review after review.

      /[

    • dragmor
    • 12 years ago

    I’m trying to figure out why anyone would pay $599 Oz for this when an 901 is $550.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 12 years ago

    Given the fact that this is a small netbook, am I the only one who thought of Tony Montana when I read “Meet your new best friend.”?

    • SnowboardingTobi
    • 12 years ago

    Well according to this link:
    §[<http://yourblog.direct2dell.com/2008/09/04/without-further-ado-meet-your-new-best-friend/<]§ You can get a mini for $99 if you buy specific Dell laptops at the same time. Starts Sept 5 at 6am until the 9th at 6am (USA folks only). I may just have to do since my cousin was planning on buying a lappy. Woohoo... a mini for $99... awesome.

    • floodo1
    • 12 years ago

    no offering with a HD is kinda strange. I realize most people want the SSD for durability, but some people want a netbook that they can store some music / videos on (well more than a few gigs anyway)

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      it looks like a design constraint. they didn’t use a normal HDD form factor.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 12 years ago

    Still waiting for Intel’s replacement for the anemic/power-hungry chipset (especially the GMA 950 graphics), and for the dual-core Atom. Dell’s offering looks pretty slick, though.

    • alex666
    • 12 years ago

    Dell is smart and really got the price/performance points at a good level.

    • ew
    • 12 years ago

    The race to the bottom continues. Stay tuned for more crappy laptop news. (although this one isn’t as horrid a value as most)

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    at first, i didn’t like it.

    but, yknow, Visual Studio does a reasonable job of making { } for me. The only pain will be stepping through code.

    fanless? replaceable SSD? WWAN slot?

    I’m liking it more and more.

    • verpissdich
    • 12 years ago

    Notebookreview already took a look at the device and unlike the Acer One, this one is easily upgradeable. Honestly, not a bad little netbook, but people were expecting a lower price like the Acer One. I also wish that it had a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of noiseless is awesome, but a silent fan would have helped lower temps on the thing pretty and put it in the realm of other netbooks

    • continuum
    • 12 years ago

    I wonder how user-upgradeable it is. Well that and about the keyboard…

    • Hance
    • 12 years ago

    The looks of this thing really got my attention. All the other mini notebooks look cheap build compared to this thing IMHO. My EEE is going to get replaced at some point the longer I wait the better because these things just keep getting better and better.

    • Hattig
    • 12 years ago

    Keyboard quibbles aside, it’s not a bad deal.

    What we need is a comparison table of the 8.9 inchers, with star ratings for keyboard, screen, storage, memory, OS, value for money, overall, and who the machine is and isn’t suited for (mostly down to storage capacity and OS).

      • no51
      • 12 years ago

      TechReport 9″ netbook shootout???

        • eitje
        • 12 years ago

        ++

          • titan
          • 12 years ago

          ++

    • KamikaseRider
    • 12 years ago

    When this comes to Brazil i’ll buy one..

      • Jon
      • 12 years ago

      Okay.

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