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Dell Inspiron Mini 10 vs 10v Review

Written By: James Rintamaki on August 19, 2009 54 Comments

dell mini 10 vs 10v

There have been many sales on the (refurbished) Dell Mini 10 and 10v’s lately, so here is a comparison review of them.  All things considered, for the price you can get them for in the Dell Outlet, I would have to say they are the best netbook you can get today – with the 15% outlet coupons (which come out every few weeks), you can likely get grab one for around $228 before tax that is 10”, 1.3mp camera, Intel Atom 1.6ghz, 6 cell battery – about the same specifications as any other 10” netbook at a fraction of the price!  Now, on with the review (both  in general, and compared to each other):

Specifications:

The below specs are that which were used in the reviewed units, (specs in parenthesis are different options that are available, but not reviewed):

Dell Mini 10

Dell Mini 10v

Processor: Intel Atom Z530 1.60GHz/533MHz/512K
(Intel Atom Z520 1.33GHz/533MHz/512K)
Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz/533Mhz/512K
Operating System: XP Home SP3
(Ubuntu 8.04)
XP Home SP3
(Ubuntu 8.04)
Memory: 1GB DDR2-533 (max) 2GB DDR2-533 (max)
(1GB DDR2-533)
Chipset / Graphics: Intel GMA 500 Intel 945GSE UMA GMA
LCD Display: Glossy 10.1” LED display (1024×576)
(Glossy 10.1” display (1024×600))
(Glossy 10.1” HD display (1366×768) WLED)
Glossy 10.1” display (1024×576)
(Glossy 10.1” display (1024×600))
Audio & Speakers: 2 x 1.0 watt, Integrated mic 2 x 1.0 watt, Integrated mic
Hard Drive: 160GB SATA 5400RPM
(120GB SATA 5400RPM)
(32GB 2.5 SSD MLC)
(64GB 2.5 SSD MLC)
160GB SATA 5400RPM
(120GB SATA 5400RPM)
(8GB 2.5 SSD MLC)
(16GB 2.5 SSD MLC)
Power: 3-cell 24WHr Li-Ion
6-cell 56WHr Li-Ion
3-cell 24WHr Li-Ion
6-cell 56Whr Li-Ion
Wi-Fi: Dell 1397 WLAN 802.11g
(Dell 1510 WLAN 802.11g/n)
Dell 1397 WLAN 802.11g
(Dell 1510 WLAN 802.11g/n)
Bluetooth: (Bluetooth 2.1+EDR) (Bluetooth 2.1+EDR)
Ports: 3-in-1 card reader
10/100 Ethernet
3xUSB 2.0
HDMI
Mic/Audio
3-in-1 card reader
10/100 Ethernet
3xUSB 2.0
VGA
Mic/Audio
Dimensions/ Weight Thickness: 1.0” – 1.1”
Width:  10.28”
Depth:  7.19”
2.5lbs 3 cell
Thickness: 1.06” – 1.11”
Width:  10.26”
Depth:  7.19”
2.6lbs 3 cell
Extras: Built in OTA HDTV TV Tuner
Built in GPS
 

Comparison photos:

When compared side to side, the only difference is that the Mini 10 has an HDMI port (10v VGA), the 10v’s screen is a bit recessed, and they have different placements of USB ports – otherwise, unnoticeable differences in dimensions/appearance:

dell mini 10 vs 10v straight on dell mini 10 vs 10v screens

As you can see above, the Mini 10v’s screen does not sit flush with the bezel like it does with the Mini 10, nor is it as glossy. 

dell mini 10 vs 10v left side  dell mini 10 vs 10v right side 2 
Here, you can see that they are the same other than usb placements and HDMI (10) vs VGA (10v).

dell mini 10 vs 10v front dell mini 10 vs 10v rear

And lastly, the front and rear are the same!

Build quality / keyboard / touchpad:

The Mini 10/10v have one of the better keyboards I’ve used in netbooks (other than the EEE PC 1000HE or Samsung NC20).  The keyboard’s size is 92% of a regular keyboard and none of the keys are placed in crazy locations (…such as the Dell Mini 9…).  There is no noticeable flex and the keys are not loose.  One thing that is different when compared to most netbooks/laptops is that the function keys require you to hold down the FN key, as opposed to having the “extra” keys (brightness, volume, external monitor, wifi switch, etc) needing the FN key.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different.

dell mini 10 vs 10v keyboard touchpad  

The touchpad is a catch 22 for me on the Mini 10 – it’s great in that it’s large and works just like any other touchpad, but the multitouch really gets in the way.  I am used to having my thumb rest on the touchpad buttons and then just using my middle finger to navigate the cursor.  However, when I keep my thumb on the touchpad button (not depressed, just resting on it), I am unable to use my other fingers for navigating the cursor – it registers both fingers as a multitouch action (even though my thumb is on the touchpad button area and not the “navigation” part).  What’s strange, though, is that this isn’t an issue with the 10v – I can have my thumb on the button and still use my finger to move the cursor…strange (and I cannot find an option to turn off multitouch).

Overall build quality for both Mini 10/10v is on par with most any other netbook – no flex, sturdy lid, etc.  If you’ve held/used an acer aspire one, msi wind, hp mini – they’re all pretty much the same as the Mini 10/10v in “build quality”.

Battery:

Aesthetically, the 6 cell extended battery on these looks awful.  Not only that, but it sticks straight down from the netbook as opposed to others’ which tend to at least extend at an angle towards the back.  This effectively adds about an extra inch of thickness at the back and causes the netbook to sit at a relatively sharp angle. However, the 3 cell battery is flush with the bottom and adds no extra thickness or ugliness:

dell mini 10 vs 10v batteries dell mini 10 vs 10v batteries 2
dell mini 10 vs 10v batteries 4 dell mini 10 vs 10v batteries 3

However, the 6 cell battery at least performs well even if it’s not pretty. Below is a chart of battery times when using both the 3 cell and 6 cell while either having hulu running full screen 100% of the time, or auto refreshing 3 webpages (cnn, engadget, and yahoo news) 100% of the time. All the while, brightness was at level 4 brightness:

  Mini 10 Mini 10v
3 cell Hulu: 140m (2hr 20m)
Web: 151m (2hr 31m)
Hulu: 138m (2hr 18m) 
Web: 157m (2hr 37m)
6 cell Hulu: 319m (5hr 19m)
Web: 359m (5hr 59m)
Hulu: 325m (5hr 25m)
Web: 384m (6hr 24m)

As you can see, they were very close in batter life, with the Mini 10v being able to handle over 6 hours when doing ONLY basic web browsing.

 

Performance:

Let me first say they are both Atom processors with integrated graphics.  They’re not powerful.  Basic web browsing, word processing, etc is fine.  Dvd watching / music listening, okay.  Light gaming, you’re stretching it.  Flash, photo editing, etc, no.   That being said, besides the Mini 10 being a bit more sluggish when having more applications open (1GB), they both faired just as well as every other netbook out there (sans the EEE PC 1000HE overclocked).  I was unable to get PCMark05 to run on the Mini 10 (no idea why), but I was able to on the Mini 10v which scored 1,498.  (This is only slightly less than my EEE PC 1000HE which scored 1563 in super performance mode). 

Mini 10v PCMark05 scores:

  • PCMark05 score:  1498
  • CPU Test Suite:  1481
  • Memory Test Suite:  2357
  • Graphics Test Suite:  545
  • HDD Test Suite:  4100

Upgradability:

The Dell Mini 10 is pretty “locked” down as far as upgrading goes.  The memory is stuck at 1GB (as it’s integrated in the motherboard), and in order to upgrade the wireless card, you’ll have to fully dismantle the laptop (like you do in order to upgrade the memory in the Mini 10v).   However, in the Mini 10v, there is actually an access door to upgrade the wireless:

dell mini 10 vs 10v upgrades

To upgrade the hard drive, both simply require the keyboard to removed (which is just removing 3 screws from underneath):

dellmini10vkeyboardremoved

And of course, the Mini 10v is upgradable to 2gb though requires fully dismantling the laptop to get access to the memory slot which is on the bottom side of the motherboard (there is no easy access panel like there is for the wireless card in the 10v). 

Conclusion:

All things considered, when choosing to get the Mini 10 or the Mini 10v it mostly comes down to whether you want HDMI (with 1GB max) or VGA (but with 2GB max).  I say “mostly” only because with the Mini 10 you are now able to get an HD screen as well as integrated GPS and TV tuner (but which also substantially increased the price).   I also highly recommend regardless of which one you go with to purchase them from the Dell outlet to get a significant savings in cost – they carry the same warranty and most times you can’t even tell they’re refurbished!

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54 Responses to “Dell Inspiron Mini 10 vs 10v Review”

  1. jeff on: 22 August 2009 at 9:08 pm

    thanks, this was really helpful in my deciding to get the mini 10 based on my unlikelihood of upgrading memory and wanting the HDMI port.

  2. Deanna on: 29 August 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks so much. This is the best review I’ve seen. I went to the Outlet and purchased the Mini 10 for $259. It’s stripped down but it will be fine for my 14-year old daughter to surf and do her homework with. What a deal!

    Again, very helpful. Thanks!

  3. Lex on: 1 September 2009 at 3:16 pm

    This is a great review and thanks for breaking the detail down with pictures. With Dell outlet and coupon I think I can get it down to close to $200 and make it really just a cheap walk around meeting “notepad”.

  4. Ian on: 5 September 2009 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for the detailed comparison. It’s awesome! I ended up buying the mini 10 but I had to buy a portable USB CD/DVD drive. Still didn’t cost much and I am REALLY pleased with the performance!

  5. Anonymous on: 8 September 2009 at 8:06 pm

    very nice job on the comparison

  6. Wei Zhang on: 18 September 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Thanks a lot for your nice and detailed review!

  7. Joe on: 6 October 2009 at 9:56 am

    I ordered a scratch and dent mini 10v with a 6 cell battery last week with the 15% coupon. Total cost with tax was a low $213.

    I have received conflicting reports from various Dell reps concerning upgrading the memory from 1gb to 2gb on this net book. Some say yes some say no. I have ordered a 2gb stick of memory and will see for myself when it arrives later this week.

    A note about Dell’s tech service. My refurbished Dell D610 had gold tech help service which is far superior to Dell’s regular tech service.

    Thanks for the comparison and the link to the memory upgrade. Both are very useful.

  8. James Rintamaki on: 7 October 2009 at 10:20 am

    @Joe, you can indeed upgrade the memory on the mini 10v: http://www.jrin.net/2009_07_23/how-to-upgrade-dell-mini-10v-memory

  9. Desiree on: 1 December 2009 at 1:12 am

    Just wanted to say thankyou very much! This was very helpful – especially the info. on the battery. It’s people like you that make technology less overwhelming and as a consequence help to move this industry forward a lot faster. Have a great 2010.

  10. Sheila on: 15 December 2009 at 12:42 am

    Will mini 10 work for PBSkids games? thanks

  11. andrew on: 15 December 2009 at 1:52 pm

    10v is compatible friendly for osx
    10 is not because of its vid card

  12. Fedora on: 16 December 2009 at 11:20 am

    hi! so the mini 10 will not be good in using adobe photoshop for example? please reply! thanks!

  13. Trevor on: 11 January 2010 at 7:53 am

    Hi. Can I do any kind of development on the 10V? (Macromedia/Adobe tools)

  14. James Rintamaki on: 14 January 2010 at 9:50 am

    @Fedora and Trevor — doing any adobe/macromedia/etc development will likely be very frustrating on these machines. If you get the Dell Mini 10 w/the 1366×768 screen, you’ll be stuck at 1gb – but if you get the Mini 10v with 2gb you will be stuck at 1024×600 — both situations are pretty bad for heavy development.

    Screen size and memory limitations aside, the processor is also just not powerful enough to give a non-painstakingly slow experience. Could photoshop/macromedia/etc RUN? probably — but would they run well/smooth? No.

  15. Trevor on: 14 January 2010 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for the review and reply!

  16. Anna on: 18 January 2010 at 12:06 am

    What is the added weight of the 6-cell battery? Thanks for reply.

  17. Rich on: 19 January 2010 at 5:04 pm

    the added weight isnt much, I like the fact that the battery lifts the unit up, it oputs it at a better angkle for typing in addition to letting the unit cool better, also, Dell will soon be releasing a daughter board for the Mini 10 which will bring the Mini 10 to 2gb..no part number yet also there are now step byt step instructions on how to load OSX on the Mini 10 even with the GMA 500 graphics..

  18. Tom on: 20 January 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I bought an ASSUS eee for my wife for Christmas and she loves it; to upgrade to 2 gig one lifts the hatch and installs.
    My sig other bought me a miniv and I like it except for the mem upgrade hassles.
    I upgraded both to win7 hp and Office 7.

  19. Miles on: 21 January 2010 at 6:09 am

    I’ve bought one, the service tag says its a 10V & it has the wirelass access flap on the base, but just says “mini 10”, on the label next to the service tag.
    I bought it at PC world (UK) last nov, believing it to be a 10V

    But after I had to clean reinstall XP due to a BAD crash
    I loaded the DELL websites 10V graphics driver (the DELL site identified it as a 10V, using “Identify my PC”), But loading teh graphics driver lost me the screen (backlit but blank), shortly after the XP splash screen appears, a 2nd clean XP install has got me back to 800×600 at least

    But I still want to Hackintosh it.

    Could Rich (or someone) help me confirm if I do indeed have a 10V (or tell me how to find out conclusively) and or aim me at the step by step guide to install OSX on a 10 (i’ve found the 10V instructions on my-dell-mini site)

    At least one site I found, suggests there are more than 2 graphics card tyeps fitted mini 10’s

  20. James Rintamaki on: 21 January 2010 at 9:14 am

    @Miles, does it have an HDMI port? If it does, then it is a mini 10 — if it has VGA, then it is indeed mini 10v. Also, with either of those, there is only one video driver for each (the 10 has the gma500 and 10v has 950)

  21. Miles on: 21 January 2010 at 9:28 am

    Hi James, thanks for teh response
    unfortunately I’m at work & Dell is at home.
    But I know it has two USB ports on the left side & only one on the right, I’m bringing it in to work tomorrow as a technician here has Hackintoshed his mini 9 & is offering to help.
    Hmmm but why did the video driver update fail I wonder.
    and do you know if I NEED 2GB to run OSX do you think?
    cheers Miles

  22. Nigel on: 24 January 2010 at 4:47 am

    To confirm and thank James for all his work on the mini-series.

    I have just acquired for myself, daughter and clients all the different varieties of these fabulous machines.

    The mini 9 is just a tad too small for my fingers, but is brilliant to carry around with its mobile broadband option. Also now has 2Gb (took a few seconds to oprn the flap, change the memory and put the flap back. Why didn’t they do this on the 10v I wonder?

    The Mini 10 with TV and bells/whistles is great, and it has the ugly and impractical 6 cell battery. However, it played 2 full DVD’s (4 hours+) on a plane without any power input. That’s impressive. And the screen is really crisp.

    The Mini 10v now hs 2Gb thanks to the video that James has left on the site. It now has a really fast start up and general browse. Also can confirm that updates and anything processor intensive is slow, but who cares, as long as it’s not happening whilst I create docs or browse the web.

    And I’ve just got one of the new mini 10’s for a client. Looks really good, and the battery has an impressively long life.

    Well done to Dell on these machines.

  23. Alice on: 1 February 2010 at 12:13 am

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a small but cheapish notebook that would be suitable for Photoshop CS3 use? Are there any netbooks ok for this?

  24. ben on: 3 February 2010 at 10:07 pm

    after much research, including waiting 45 minutes on the phone to ask dell (to find they were wrong) it appears i’ve got a 10v (vga on the right). dell not only did not have my service tag on file, they told me i could not upgrade RAM on ANY mini 10.

    question 1: now that i know i can upgrade, and thanks to your great video i know how, where might i acquire the 2g stick for this machine?

    question 2: can i really upgrade to a 500g hard drive? (that was an option when buying new?) if i do so, i’m guessing i’d have to reinstall the os, yes?

    question 3: how to install OS without cdrom? external?

    and finally question 4: can i buy another small (3 cell) battery when this one wears out?

  25. ron on: 7 February 2010 at 1:35 am

    Anyone done iPhone dev on a Mini 10v?

    I got the Mini 10v because I read about its good compatibility with Snow Leopard. I will be upgrading the memory to 2GB and HD to 320GB so I can dual boot Win7 and SL (perhaps triple boot since Ubuntu is actually pretty cool).

    The main reason I got it was because the iPhone SDK is only available on MacOS, but I don’t really want a dedicated Mac since I’m thoroughly invested in Windows HW and SW.

    Has anyone done iPhone app dev on a Mini 10v? Since an iPhone processor isn’t exactly a Quad core powerhouse, I thought app development on a netbook should be Ok…

  26. robert on: 25 February 2010 at 3:29 am

    Can 10v be upgraded for GPS or WWAN/3G access? Thanks

  27. Tom Harrod on: 25 February 2010 at 7:50 pm

    since purchase of 10 v, I have upgraded to 2meg; 6 cell battery (which I bought from of all places Wallmart) and am happy with my machine.
    Tom

  28. Leland on: 31 March 2010 at 1:14 am

    I purchased a Mini 10 with the built in HDTV Tuner. With the already installed McAfee AV software, it wasn’t fast enough to actually run the HDTV software (the video and sound stuttered too much to be usable). I uninstalled the McAfee AV software and instead installed Microsoft Security Essentials AV software (available free from the Microsoft web site). That made it a little bit faster but it still has performance issues running the HDTV software. I was disappointed to learn here that I can’t add any more memory (because I was hoping I could do that to speed it up some). Is there any other way to optimize the performance for the HDTV tuner software?

  29. Lon on: 1 April 2010 at 10:32 am

    Getting the memory upgrade for the mini 1010 is becoming very difficult. The 2GB memory/processor daughter card is hard to find. Dell’s Internal Part number is R031P. They have given me the biggest run-around trying to get this card. The only thing I like about the Dell Mini 1010 is the keyboard, it has nice large keys.

  30. James Rintamaki on: 1 April 2010 at 11:05 am

    @Lon, I was not aware there was a 2gb memory/processor daughter card available for the Mini 10 (1010). Where did you find this out? (how much does it cost? I thought that the stipulation for being allowed to ship windows xp on netbooks was that it had to come with 1GB or less pre-installed)

  31. Leland on: 1 April 2010 at 11:51 am

    I thought I’d add that my Mini 10 came with Windows 7 Starter installed. Does that make any difference with respect to performance?

  32. Lon on: 1 April 2010 at 1:11 pm

    @ James
    I’ve read about them in a few forums. I’ve even talked to Dell about the card. As to what you are saying, maybe that is why I was only able to get 1GB, that does not mean you cannot upgrade the memory. We also purchased an HP mini, it was easy to upgrade the memory with same config as the Dell Mini.

    One great forum was mydellmini.com. On that site they list an SKU number of 317-0495. My Dell Mini came with 7 starter, I upgraded it to 7 Pro.

  33. James Rintamaki on: 1 April 2010 at 1:24 pm

    @Lon,

    I looked around on google and it looks like there indeed might have been a 2gb daughter card that dell said was available at some point, but I have yet to come across anyone who actually has seen/used one.

    Even if it does indeed exist, it is very rare, and I’d say it’s safe to consider the mini 10 maxes out at 1gb :) As far as the HP mini, it’s likely not the Z530 like the Mini 10 (not sure if that’s specific to the 1gb+processor card), and it’s motherboard config is different (it has a replaceable memory slot)

    do you have a direct link to the mydellmini posting referencing the 2gb daughtercard?

  34. Michael on: 5 April 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Just get the mini 10, but use a USB or portable hard drive, because I think the 10 is better than the 10v in most things except memory.

  35. lou on: 17 April 2010 at 7:46 am

    Hi what does ut mean when it says 10.26 and 10.28 is there that big of a dreffence between the 2 ? i bought the 10v and did the ram with know trouble thanks

  36. vinodh on: 1 May 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Very excellent comparison. great work.

  37. ovasilis on: 16 May 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I also read here:
    http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/news/11682-dell-mini-10-now-2gb-ram-few-catches-2.html
    about the 2GB/Z530 daughterboard part number(R031P) and somewhere else with a lower price(I’ll post if i find it again), but I’d prefere to see a 2GB/Z550 daughterboard in the future. I think Z550(2GHz) is available only in some Sony mini Vaio-whatever.
    Mine is a 3G(Vodafone) model which is now used with COSMOTE(3G/HSDPA provider in Greece,better cover than Vodafone) even if I had to remove Vodafone’s Wirless Manager software(and any Vodathing else)/Dell’s drivers for the 5530 Ericsson 3G modem and install the Ericsson ones to unlock/make it recognise my SIM.

    The main reason I wright is to ask if someone knows if there is any mini pci-e port free in 1010 to put an SSD as a boot disk.
    My 1010 has no TV tuner but as far as I know this would be in a USB interface port, so it is useless exept if there are USB interface SSDs and can also be bootable(I belive there aren’t).
    Any help?

  38. ovasilis on: 17 May 2010 at 8:08 pm

    …found it http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/dell-mini-10-hardware-upgrades/16400-can-i-upgrade-inspiron-mini-10-ram-2-gig.html more about 2GB RAM in 1010 but better see this first… http://www.mydellmini.com/forum/dell-mini-10-discussion/14795-ram-upgrade-post130354-4.html#post130354
    Anyway, I’ll try to solder a mini PCI-e slot(if I find one) on the missing TV tuner place and put an SSD I have from a mini 9 just to see if it works and boots OS. If not, wil plug something with USB interface.
    Any ideas wellcome…

  39. lou56 on: 18 May 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I did my ram upgrade evrything went fine then i installed windows7
    I had a little problem and called dell beacuse i didnt get win 7
    from them they wanted to charge me to talk to a tec well i fixed
    it myself

  40. sandra on: 23 August 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Hi my dell notebook 10v screen was cracked and im trying to fin a replacement so i can do it my self,but im having difficulty trying to locate the part number. is there something els I can go by?

  41. lou56 on: 25 August 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I seen one on ebay for 43.00 for the 10v and also How to install it

  42. jitu on: 30 August 2010 at 4:31 am

    can i use flash cs3 on this notebook dell mini 10???

  43. margie on: 14 October 2010 at 1:02 am

    i bought the 10v and did the ram with know trouble thanks.Thanks for the detailed comparison.
    http://www.laptop-battery-adapter.co.uk dell mini 10 battery

  44. Virginia on: 25 October 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Did anyone ever have an answer to @Ron;s question about iPhone SDK on the 10v? Seems I’ll have to upgrade to SL 10.6.4 to use SDK 4.1.

  45. Virginia on: 25 October 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Did anyone ever have an answer to @Ron’s question about iPhone SDK on the 10v? Seems I’ll have to upgrade to SL 10.6.4 to use SDK 4.1.

  46. Anonymous on: 24 December 2010 at 12:48 am

    How can I install adobe photoshop 7 in dell inspiron mini?
    its possible for install for it for or disable for this this service!!!!!!!!

  47. lou 56 on: 13 February 2011 at 9:32 am

    my mini 10v gets really hot it even shut down and had to wait till cooled off and it started working again any any idea why its doing this trying to find something online and know luck

  48. Jacob on: 26 May 2011 at 6:07 am

    Thank you so much last year this really helped on deciding to get my 10v. I just love it! had to buy a portable dvd drive but who cares. I even upgraded my 10v to windows 7 ultimate.

  49. Majid Yousuf on: 2 October 2011 at 7:13 am

    How to unlock the 3G SIM network ? to use other 3G SIM ?

  50. James Rintamaki on: 6 October 2011 at 4:18 am

    @Majid, what 3G card do you have?

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