Dell Inspiron Mini 12 Z520 review

The power of the first batch of notebooks caught us off-guard; now the Dell Inspiron Mini leads the second charge

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

We recommend waiting for driver support to improve before investing


  • Nice 12.1 Inch screen
  • Powerful


  • Keyboard too small
  • Poor battery life
  • Lack of solid drivers

With its sumptuously lit 12.1in panel and undeniable lick of speed, the Mini 12 transcends its 'mini' label; it's too big and capable to carry that name. But since it shares so much with the rest of the Mini line – particularly the disappointing sub-sized keyboard of the Mini 9 – it's stuck in the same boat.

The keyboard really is a shame since it's surrounded by a rather fat bezel, and it looks like a full-sized laptop keyboard would have fitted in the space available.

Sadly, the two-hour battery life is disappointing, the slot where a 3G modem could potentially live is achingly empty and the lack of solid drivers is a particular hindrance. Tie this to the price – which is above many N270 models – and the Mini 12 doesn't fulfil its potential promise unless you're using an OS that doesn't come out for at least another six months.

It's still a highly desirable object, but we recommend you wait for the drivers to mature if you're considering a purchase.