I couldn’t resist the Dell Mini. Many confused looks from the ThinkPad corner. “What? Dells are cheap pieces of crap!”. Regardless, I’ve always had good experiences with Dell hardware (even if I do miss find myself missing a nub). So as soon as they became available on the Thursday 4th, I ordered. My new toy arrived on Thursday 11th.
Almost a week in, how is it going? Well, lets start with the things I can moan about:
- No mobile broadband for me. I had hoped to pop in a standard card and my Three SIM, but even though the board is marked “WWAN” and the pads are there, the Mini PCI-E connector and aerial wires are missing.
- Broadcom Wifi. Eww. It needed some proprietary blob, so only Hardy seemed to support it out of the box. Not quite true, stock Hardy has a bug so I needed to apt-get upgrade and reboot. I have a more permanent solution. I replaced it with an Intel card from ebay. £7, including postage. Much much better, and it even joins my local network 5s quicker
- No sound. Had to edit /etc/modrobe.d/* to add options snd-hda-intel index=0 model=dell, then it did. Not sure why auto mode doesn’t work.
- Battery doesnt have anyway to see the current charge status when not logged in (no charging LED, no LED strip on battery with a “press here for status” button).
Otherwise, I’m really happy. I’m writing this blog post on it, and as you can (hopefully!) tell, the keyboard isn’t causing me too much pain. In fact, i’m adapting quite well and am currently sat in the dark not paying any attention to the keys im pecking away at. The sound quality good, the webcam is good, GNOME is nippy enough. Compiz is more than usable, and for once i’m not reaching to turn it off. As usual for my Dells, i’m pleased with the screen.
Ubuntu Hardy is your best bet to get the wifi work. Intrepid is also working just fine. Mandriva (GUADEC USB key) and Fedora 10 also boot, but won’t have wifi. Ubuntu Feisty and Fedora 9 wouldn’t boot. Atom doesn’t do x86_64, so have your 32bit media to hand.
It doesn’t come with a case, but I got a 9″ portable dvd player sleeve from Amazon which is perfect.
So far i’m pleased with my purchase. Low low low budget camera phone amateur Dell pron here.