Print 12 comment(s) - last by benx009.. on Jun 8 at 6:28 PM

Dell Inspiron Mini

MSI Wind
Dell and MSI talk of their upcoming mini-notes

ASUS may have created the low-cost, mini-note category with its Eee PC 701 4G, but more and more companies are looking to jump in with their own entries. Over the past week, Dell confirmed the existence of its "Inspiron Mini" and MSI officially announced the Wind which will be available June 16.

Dell recently gave some in the media a chance to look at a pre-production Inspiron Mini that was decked out with a glossy black lid instead of the glossy red lid featured in the original press photos. The pre-production unit also had some minor difference in the keyboard lettering and Function modifiers.

Speaking of the keyboard, Dell Consumer Group Senior VP Alex Gruzen went on to discuss the missing feature that had many potential customers up in arms when the firsts images were revealed online: the lack of a top row of Function keys.

"This was a trade off so the rest of the keys could be bigger," said Gruzen. "The reason we were later to the market is we’ve been working on getting the right keyboard."

The keypad design accommodates as best as possible the best user experience for this class of products."

Maybe Dell knows something that the rest of us don't, but the lack of a top row of function keys could be a deal-breaker for some people in what looks to be an otherwise attractive machine. In its current iteration, the Function keys are eliminated due to the intrusion of the battery.

In other mini-note news, MSI is already talking about the next generation Wind. The current model, which was officially announced earlier this week, has seen rave reviews from around the web.

The 10" notebook is already quite small, weighing only 2.2 pounds in its base configuration. MSI is not content, however, and wants to launch a thinner, lighter version during the first quarter of 2009. The new version would be targeted at business customers and will use the same processor/chipset as the current Wind.

MSI is also looking at yet another variant that would be even smaller and more in line with Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). The device is expected to have a screen of 7" or smaller along with a slide-out keyboard.

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By Suomynona on 6/5/2008 11:21:49 AM , Rating: 3
I really wish that Dell would throw a Trackpoint on that keyboard while they're revamping it. They already use them on their Latitude notebooks, so they already have the hardware knowledge. Maybe I'm just a Thinkpad fanboy, but I think Trackpoints blow touchpads away in every way.

RE: Trackpoint
By EntreHoras on 6/5/2008 11:35:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a fan of the trackpoint. It's slower and it's harder for doing several functions.

In the other hand, I don't mind the lack of the function keys in favor of bigger keys. I use the Alphanumeric keys like 1000:1 than the function keys.

RE: Trackpoint
By omnicronx on 6/5/2008 11:39:50 AM , Rating: 3
It's slower and it's harder for doing several functions.
I have to totally disagree, I use both on a regular basis, and while I find the touchpad easier on the hands, trackpoint is definatly faster and more accurate. I used to play CS when a while back with my thinkpad with trackpoint. Although it made me totally suck, It was still playable, I can't say the same for a touchpad.

RE: Trackpoint
By LorKha on 6/5/2008 5:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
CS on a laptop?

RE: Trackpoint
By Diesel Donkey on 6/5/2008 6:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, there are laptops with discrete graphics chips. And given the modest requirements of CS, I wouldn't be surprised if it would run pretty well on integrated graphics, too. Not when it first came out of course, but recently.

RE: Trackpoint
By Suomynona on 6/5/2008 12:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's only slower if you have the sensitivity turned way down. To me, it's much more accurate, as well as quicker once you set the sensitivity right. You can also use it without moving your hands from the keyboard, which is also a huge plus.

I don't understand why more companies don't offer it, since it doesn't take up much space and while there are plenty of people who prefer it, the people who don't have no obligation to use it. I know companies are really counting their pennies in the subnotebook market, but it still can't add that much cost. Even if they just offered it as an alternative keyboard, I would pay extra for it.

RE: Trackpoint
By noirsoft on 6/5/2008 9:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
Having owned 2 laptops with trackPoints in the past, I will never do so again. It is a deal-breaker for me. If you want a pointing device that's better than a trackpad, use a mouse.

RE: Trackpoint
By kkwst2 on 6/6/2008 11:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
Well, there's no accounting for taste. Try using a mouse on a airplane tray table?

Out of curiosity, were the notebooks Thinkpads? The others are just pretenders.

I feel confident that 90% of people who have actually taken the time to configure and learn to use the trackpoint on a Thinkpad will never buy anything else. I've used the device on the HP's and Dells. They're not the same. More mushy, don't have the middle scroll button.

With the exception of making my finger a little sore after extended use, and the newer drivers not being quite as robust on my T61 as on my old T42, it's pretty close to perfect. I can do most things just as quickly with it as with a mouse. And nobody can say that about a trackpad.

Sorry. Rant over.

RE: Trackpoint
By benx009 on 6/8/2008 6:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Dell should try something like having the Fn button + a regular number be the function key? (for example, Fn + 2 = F2) It would be a little awkward in some cases, but it should work..

RE: Trackpoint
By lukasbradley on 6/5/2008 11:39:16 AM , Rating: 2
Pardon my ignorance, but do trackpoints still have to be licensed from IBM/Lenovo/PatentOwnerX?

RE: Trackpoint
By Suomynona on 6/5/2008 12:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
They probably can't call them "trackpoints" without paying up, but Dell already offers the same pointer-stick control on Latitudes, and several other companies offer them on certain models.

RE: Trackpoint
By JoshuaBuss on 6/5/2008 4:37:09 PM , Rating: 2
HPs business line has them too

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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