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PCs Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Dell Inspiron Zino HD review

£630 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Dell

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Dell's Inspiron Zino HD is a compact PC that's suited for desktop duties or as a colourful media-centre PC - UPDATED 21 APRIL 2010

Dell's Inspiron Zino HD is a compact PC that's suited for desktop duties or as a colourful media-centre PC - UPDATED 21 APRIL 2010

Make a PC small enough and you can hide it in the lounge without getting in anyone's way. Or even simply site it on the desktop, rather than leave it lurking on the floor under your desk.

That's what Apple did with its diminutive stunted-cube Mac mini, and it seems to have inspired Dell with this more inflated replica, the Dell Inspiron Zino HD.

Another attempt at Apple's mini form factor can be found in the PC Specialist Aurelia media centre PC.

The Dell Inspiron Zino HD is a little bigger than the Apple Mac mini, measuring a shade under 8in along each side against Apple's 6.5in. And it stands just over 3in tall instead of 2in. It has the same optical drive facing forward at the top, albeit a wobbly pop-out tray here rather than a slick slot-load mechanism.

But that drive can be a regular DVD±RW drive - or a Blu-ray-reading DVD writer, for an extra £140 on the base price.

Also on the front are two USB 2.0 ports and an SD card reader. The top lid is readily detachable, and Dell will sell you a coloured top for £20, or one with swirly patterns for £30.

Dell Inspiron Zino HD

At the back of the Dell Inspiron Zino HD are two more USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA, gigabit ethernet, audio-in and -out mini jacks, as well as HDMI and VGA video connectors

You can find a basic version of the Dell Inspiron Zino with an Intel Atom processor for £249, but we looked at the spritelier Dell Inspiron Zino HD which takes an AMD dual-core chip. As of the middle of April 2010, prices start at £329 for this model.

We were sent a Dell Inspiron Zino HD with better specs, including a dedicated graphics card and a Blu-ray drive, priced at £630.29.

Backing up the processor on our sample was 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The extra space in the case means that Dell can fit a cheaper - but higher performance - 3.5in desktop drive, spinning at 7200rpm. Faster than the 5400rpm notebook drives often seen in such compact PCs and nettops, these 3.5in disk drives are however noisier and consume more power.

NEXT PAGE: Measured performance >>

Dell Inspiron Zino HD Expert Verdict »
Dell Zino HD 2850e Scores 8.1 out of 10 based on 10 reviews
1.5GHz AMD X2 3250E
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-800 RAM
Blu-ray ROM/DVD±RW
1TB 7200rpm 3.5in SATA HDD
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics with 512MB RAM
HDMI, VGA
gigabit ethernet
4 x USB 2.0
2 x eSATA
audio in/out jacks
keyboard and mouse
196 x 196 x 80mm
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

While the headline price of £329 looks very attractive for a compact computer that can be pressed into service as a cheap office or home PC, the price starts to ratchet up as you add the useful extras. The high-defintion-disc playing machine we tested is expensive at over £630; lose the Blu-ray option on the version we tried, add wireless-n, and you can have a sub-£500 media centre PC that approaches the hardware performance of the entry-level Apple Mac mini, at exactly the same £510 price. The Mac is one-third again faster in benchmark tests, quieter, more compact and arguably more elegant, safer to use and less expensive to run. In the Dell’s favour is its better gaming potential and more bountiful storage.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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