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Laptops Reviews
15,650 Reviews

Dell Mini 9 Vodafone 3G review

£20 per month

Manufacturer: Dell

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Vodafone has added an integrated 3G modem and data plan to the Dell Mini 9, and offered it for free. Well, a £20 a month two-year contract.

Vodafone has added an integrated 3G modem and data plan to the Dell Mini 9 netbook, and offered it for free. Well, a £20 a month two-year contract.

Mini laptops and cloud computing go well together, if only because the true thoroughbred netbook uses solid-state storage. Often limited in their storage capacity to keep prices low, if you need access to all more of your digital data you can always reach out to your online data cloud - such is the idea behind the Dell Mini 9.

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But this makes sense only if you're always connected to the internet. We now have 3G broadband in most parts of the UK, so a netbook such as the Dell Mini 9 with an integrated 3G modem makes sense - especially when it's offered for free.

Of course, Vodafone's offer of a ‘free' Dell Mini 9 netbook is predicated on your signing up for a subscription, in this case a lengthy two-year contract, starting at £20 per month.

For this contract you get the Dell Mini 9 and 1GB of combined up/download data per month, a relatively paltry amount, which you can extend at the rate of £15 for each additional gigabyte.

The Dell Mini 9 offered is not available to the same spec from Dell UK, as this Vodafone version features 8GB of solid-state storage and Windows XP Home. The nearest comparative Dell model that includes 16GB SSD and Windows XP costs £299.

The limited storage undermined our attempts to WorldBench test the Dell Mini 9, but MobileMark gave us a battery life of 178 minutes. In use we found the keyboard to be the limiting factor for comfortable use, as those keys are just too small for accurate typing. The screen suffers from gloss reflections but is of an apparent high resolution, with fonts especially rendered very sharply.

We tried the Dell Mini 9's broadband connectivity at various locations in central and greater London, and found reasonable data speeds. Peak download speed recorded was 3.3Mbps and upload to 660kbps, figures which do fall well short of the 7.2Mbps claimed maximum.

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Dell Mini 9 Vodafone 3G review Expert Verdict »
Dell Inspiron Mini 9 8GB Windows Scores 8.0 out of 10 based on 133 reviews
1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
533MHz FSB
512kB L2 cache
8.9in (1024x600) 16:10 LCD display
Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3
8GB PATA SSD
1GB (1 x 1GB) DDR2 RAM
Intel 945 integrated graphics
VGA D-Sub video output
100Mb/s ethernet
3 x USB 2.0
line-in/headphone out
stereo speakers
built-in mic
multi-card reader
802.11b/g
Bluetooth
Dell 5530 HSPA mobile broadband
0.3Mp webcam
power consumption 11W idle
232x172x32mm
1080g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The price may look attractive but it doesn’t take a supercomputer to calculate that the actual cost of this Dell Mini 9 3G netbook is closer to £500 over two years; and anything much more than occasional online use may incur additional charges as you exceed the data limit. Nevertheless, the laptop is a mostly sound design, and the convenience of 3G modem integration means no unsightly dongles to lose.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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