back to article Dell Inspiron 910 mini-laptop to be a hardware hacker's dream?

Is Dell going to launch its Small, Cheap Computer, the Inspiron 910, tomorrow? That's certainly what one newspaper is claiming today, and there's evidence to back up that claim. According to the Wall Street Journal, someone who knows what the PC giant's planning claimed the mini Inspiron will be announced on Thursday. Dell …


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  1. David Hicks
    Thumb Up

    WWAN + WLAN + SoftAP

    = Mobile hotspot in netbook form?

    That's kinda cool.

  2. Andrew

    Hacker's dream?

    I don't see anything in that picture that differentiates it from any other laptop I've seen inside. So the memory and hard disk can be upgraded, and other peripherals are installed in standard slots. Am I missing something?

  3. Wortel

    No lights?

    That's the first I would hack back in there, then

  4. David Rollinson

    re. Hackers dream

    I think the point is that these components are accessible from a simple panel on the base of the unit. AFAIK some of the current crop of SCCs have to be completely dismantled to change the memory module or SSD unit.

    Presumably this is to enable Dell's usual policy of "customised at the factory" to be relatively easy with the 910.

  5. Simon


    The first thing I would hack would be the second row of the keyboard to put the keys back where they're supposed to be (instead of right above the third row).

    How annoying is typing on that going to be? It would drive me mad in no time.

  6. Nigel Wright

    I hope it's as good as or better than the Wind.

    I've just tested the MSI Wind for the last 2 weeks and I reckon it's a superb device bar the lack of access to the internals and the battery life. Overall it's a quality experience and the best "scc" so far imo in terms of performance, build and usability. If the Dell can better that...

    Aldi (cheapo supermarket in the UK) have just released a clone of the Wind, badged by Medion for £279 as opposed to the Wind's £349. Now that's worth looking at.

  7. Matthew

    i still dont see the point of these laptops

    I bought my acer aspire (New with warranty) 5420 which has (under XP) 4 hours battery,

    2gb of ram, bluetooth, dvd writer, 80gb HDD, AMD Turion dual core, SD slot, the works....

    for NZ$630 which is about probably not even €300..

    so why does anyone buy these things?

    There not much smaller either by the way..

  8. Sam


    If only it wasn't a Dell..

    Actually, it probably isn't.

  9. John Robson Silver badge

    re: keyboard

    They'll keep sliding that row about until it falls off...

  10. Dale

    William Hill

    Is William Hill taking bets on where the backslash key will be?

    Or how else the keyboard layout will be screwed up, for that matter.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Minor correction

    You appear to have a transcription error: it should say


  12. Tom Smith Silver badge

    re: Hackers Dream

    To add 1Gb of ram to my Acer Aspire One, I had to remove all of the screws, the keyboard, the metal shield under the keyboard, more screws, and finally flip the mother board out and stick the RAM in.

    Then a day later I had to take most of it apart again because I'd disturbed the SSD cable and was getting intermittent read/write errors.

    So yes, an easily accessible DIMM slot is a big deal, (and yes I wish I'd waited a few more weeks).

  13. Monkey

    @ Matthew

    ...They have quite a noticeable weight advantage and are just that bit smaller to feasibly be chucked into any old bag along with all your other crap and you not have to consider any dedicated bag for them.

    You're right, it is only marginal size wise but it's enough and the weight saving from the cut down peripherals means you REALLY don't notice what you're carrying. I was of exactly the same opinion as you until I used one for a couple of weeks and as long as you use them for what they are intended (ultra portability), and accept the limitations of the hardware, they can be something of a minor revelation.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: William Hill

    The backslash is above the Enter key. What do I win?

  15. Parax

    many questions..



    UK Keyboard??

    I'll be watching Tommorrow....

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I still don't see the point in these laptops

    "I bought my acer aspire (New with warranty) 5420 which has (under XP) 4 hours battery,

    "2gb of ram, bluetooth, dvd writer, 80gb HDD, AMD Turion dual core, SD slot, the works....

    "for NZ$630 which is about probably not even €300..

    "so why does anyone buy these things?

    Because they ARE that much smaller, and because I don't want to lug a 15.4-inch laptop around with me all day

  18. Haku

    Re: i still dont see the point of these laptops

    ...and I doubt you ever will considering you're unable to even identify the proper name of your own Acer Extensa 5420 laptop, which weighs 3 times that of these mini-laptops, has spining disc media which is susceptable to drops etc., and because the mini-laptops are significantly smaller and lighter they're far more portable & durable than a 'full-size' laptop will ever be.

  19. W

    No backslash backlash after all

    Fn+= for backslash (in blue, above the Enter key, next to pipe, square brackets and curly brackets).

    Diggin' that ZX Spectrum keyboard "5 or six functions per key look" look. See:

  20. W

    But there might be...

    Numerous flocks of Num Lock LED light led riots.

  21. Simon

    re: Hackers Dream

    To add 1gb of ram to my Advent 4211, I had to remove some screws, and the underside of my machine. Very easy indeed.

    The extra 1gb of ram cost exactly £10 delivered from ebay from some dozy bird who had accidentally ordered it for her desktop machine.

    I wouldn't touch Dell computer hardware with a very long barge-pole (with the exception of their excellent monitors). This laptot comes with 512mb of memory by standard which apparently can only be upgraded to a massive 1024mb maximum - is the motherboard really that poor?

    I have no less/fewer? than 9 individual LEDs on my machine, it's quite useful to know when advanced 21st century features such as Caps Lock have been enabled or the HDD is accessing. I shall naturally be upgrading the hard-drive in due course to store my excessive pr0n collection.

    Sorry, doesn't do much for me.

  22. Simon

    re: i still dont see the point of these laptops

    That's probably why you don't have one then.... Mine fits in the glove tray of my car or in my mini backpack if I'm out and about. Very useful for me indeed.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nathan Hobbs, PCW Business, and the Advent 4211

    > Don't forget the MSI Wind is available from PC World Business as the Adver^Hnt 4211 for only £218 plus £10 delivery.

    I think 'available' is possibly an exaggeration! I've been checking the web page for over a week now, and unwaveringly it says "Availability: 0 in stock".

    A good deal if it ever DOES come back into stock!

  24. W

    Nearly there.

    Advent 4211: needs a 6 cell battery and a 16GB SSD.

    Aspire One: Ditto.

    EEE 901: needs to be £30-50 cheaper and get a better keyboard.

    Inspiron 910: needs to come in at <£250 with 1GB RAM (expandable to 2GB) and have a battery life of 4+ hours (and gain some LED lights if there's no quick on-screen check).

    Until one of the above happens, I'll keep the cash cheers.

    I suspect that I'll be disappointed again (tomorrow?).

  25. William Old
    Thumb Up



    Q - Is the quantity measured or counted?

    Measured = Less

    Counted = Fewer

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @Nathan Hobbs, PCW Business, and the Advent 4211

    Hmmm, looks...

    Moves box...adds £60 odd to price...

  27. Britt Johnston
    Thumb Up

    risqué ASCII ( = display test )

    The idea of marking the alternative characters is useful, until the ink rubs off. Having a non-standard keyboard means they can feel free to improve previous iterations; set <CTRL><ALT/GR>4 to £ or € for example.

    For serious writing or coding, I'd be plugging in a USB keyboard on all SCCs.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    my bro' has turned his Wind into a hackintosh, he's been quite pleased with it

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Toshiba's coming to the party too

    I saw a roadmap document on the website of one of our laptop suppliers which shows the ""NB100" - small format, light, sub £250" ULCPC coming in Oct.

    Looks like we'll soon be spoiled/spoilt for choice.

  30. Lennart Sorensen

    The point of these things

    The point of these small things, at least the way Asus has done them, is that they run Linux, from SSD, boot in seconds (not minutes, the way windows does), which means you will actually whip it out, check your email, and put it away, all in half the time it would take your normal laptop to boot windows.

    They are not meant as laptop replacements, they don't do everything, they just happen to be the fastest and most convenient way to check email or a web page if you happen to be at the coffee shop with wifi access and the urge to check something.

    That is why Asus apparently sells 5 times as many Linux EeePCs as Windows XP models. The windows one takes minutes to boot and defeats the entire purpose of being quick and convenient and always with you,

  31. dabotsonline
    Paris Hilton

    Re: The point of these things / Lennart Sorensen

    "That is why Asus apparently sells 5 times as many Linux EeePCs as Windows XP models."


  32. W

    mobile vs netbook

    >"whip it out, check your email, and put it away"

    -I use my mobile for that.

    I want an SCC as a secondary machine, ('S')mall enough to surf on the sofa with pretty much full functionality (that's the second 'C' - for computer), take on the train to work and pack for weekends away etc. if I want. But I don't need another primary machine, and it's associated cost (and there's the middle 'C').

    At the £200-£250 price point they fill the gap between mobile/PDA (lacking in second 'C') and 'decent' 13"+ laptop (lacking in 'S' and middle 'C').

    My primary machine is an M1330 laptop. As far as I can see, desktops are only really necessary for avid gamers or upgraders these days.

    Saving a few seconds with Linux is a bonus, but I can't do what I need with Linux (without spending those_few_seconds_saved^10 on researching and implementing Linux hacks and workarounds), so there's no point booting it up in the first place. Waiting for XP to boot is a drag, but I'm not in so much of a hurry that that single factor defines my choice of OS.

  33. Michael Duke

    RE: Haku

    In NZ the Acer 5420 was an Aspire not a Extensa. In fact the Extensa range has only been available in NZ for about a week or two.

    Back on topic I will be looking at this as I want a SCC but none of the current machines have convinced me yet. The EeePC 901 would probably do what I want but it does not have quite enough storage.

  34. WonkoTheSane


    One more reason a sub-notebook/netbook like this is desirable is for the frequent flier.

    A netbook will fit on even an economy-class airline tray table and still leave room for the coffee.

    Try that with a 17" laptop!

    Mine's the one with an EeePC in the pocket!

  35. Monkey

    I like 'W's' Analysis of Need and His Decision Tree

    ...It reduced the selection process and decisions based on need down to an almost mathematical equation!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Out but too expensive

    It's out but £299 as a starting price, more if you want a 2 year warranty. Dell have missed the point slightly as the cheapest Dell non submini notebook is only £25 more.

    1gb Ram 120GB hdd and xp home. Not bad but your paying the Dell name tax.

  37. Ted Treen
    Thumb Up

    Balanced response

    Nope, I wouldn't buy one either:-

    1) I'm a Mac person (fanboy, even)

    2) It wouldn't suit my needs

    But then, I wouldn't buy a MacBook Air - for reason 2) either.

    However, I can accept that this (and the Air) are machines designed to address a specific market area. I would not denigrate them just because I happen to be outside that area.

    They're both good machines - if they address your specific needs: if they don't - then don't knock them, but buy what does.

  38. W
    Thumb Up

    Now available.

    As the Inspiron Mini 9.

    £300 (280+20 delivery) gets you:

    -Atom 1.6GHz

    -XP Home

    -1.3MP Webcam

    -8.9" WSVGA (WLED)

    -1GB RAM

    -16GB SSD

    -b/g Wi-Fi

    -Integrated Bluetooth

    -4-cell 2200AHr Battery

    No options as of yet (Linux or otherwise).

    So, to compare (in order of my preference):

    1/ EEE 901 (£280, ebuyer) needs to be £30 cheaper. Has n Wi-fi. 6cell 6600mAh beats all comers. 4GB less SSD than Mini 9.

    2/ Mini 9 (£300, Dell) seems to have a marginally better keyboard and a nice looking (XPS M1330-esque?) touchpad, but needs to be £50 cheaper. Battery of 4+ hours unlikely? Free delivery puts it in with a shout of the top spot.

    3/ 4211/Medion/Wind (£280, PCW) needs to be £30 cheaper, needs SSD instead of 80GB SSD, better battery and it's old touchpad back. Props for the keyboard and 10" screen though. NB: PCWB have put the price up from £235 but are still out of stock so that looks like a gone-er).

    4/ Aspire One (£280, dabs) needs to be £30 cheaper, needs a better battery, has 120GB HDD but no Windows SSD option. It's touchpad is small and 'non-standard'. No Bluetooth. Difficult to upgrade.

    Looks are entirely subjective, and none are really munters by any score.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Not enough profit margin, eh?

    I see PC World Business read the Reg.

    Yesterday PCWB had the Advent 4211 for £186 (before VAT, so £218 odd after) and £10 for delivery, but none in stock.

    PCWorld had it for £279.99 (after VAT) and free delivery (though it was not available for delivery), but it was in stock.

    I put the two links up to show this, but now PCWB have upped the price to match PCWorld. They don't hang about, do they?

    The original price can (at the moment) be seen in Google cache at:

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nathan Hobbs, PCW Business, and the Advent 4211

    >Hmmm, looks...




    >Moves box...adds £60 odd to price...



    If you look a litle closer, it currently costs (just checked again online to be sure) £279.99 from PC World but no delivery available, so you have to go to the shop, or it costs £271.41 plus deliver from PCWB (have to add on the VAT for the average mad in the street who cant claim his VAT back). Roughly about the same cost I would say. Depends on if you happen to be near a PC World store ...

    Still along way from the original cost of £218 plus delivery from the original post ... that would have been a really good price.

    Back to the original story - there is a load of bad feeling on the forums about how badly Dell has acted regarding releasing even initial specs and availability on the 910. Shame, I'm in the market for at least one and having tried most of them out, I don't really like any of them enough to part with my cash yet.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    erm IBM thinkpad X31 anyone?

    looking a "W"'s commens on SCC, i get by with a 12" screen, proper keyboard, 1.6kg weight, 3-4 hours battery life, 1024x768 screen, wifi, USB2, 60Gb drive. and all for £200 - £250. i went and bought another two for the kids. they're called IBM X31.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, it's on now...

    "Inspiron Mini 9" - but, being an Inspiron, it's down as "Home User" only.

    But... £299

    OK, so it's "home", so at least that price includes VAT & delivery, and there's no options other than 1 or 2yr (£29) warranty. 1.6GHz Atom, 16Gb SSD, 1Gb RAM, 2200Ah battery, XP.

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