The charts above provide a great example of the benefits of the Dell's Athlon X2 3250e CPU next to Intel's Atom. On every test, the Zino comes squarely in the middle, with the Atom-powered Aspire Revo taking twice as long to perform basic tasks. We're not surprised to see the Dell fall behind the Gateway, the Mac Mini, or the HP, all of which boast full-fledged Intel Pentium or Core 2 CPUs. We wouldn't use the Dell as even a light-duty productivity desktop with the Gateway offering so much more speed. Just note that you do actually get more performance from the $468 Zino than from the $199 Acer Aspire Revo and its Nettop chip.
We've slammed Dell's retail desktops recently for their lack of up-to-date inputs. We're glad to see Dell is keeping its newer PCs more current. In addition to the HDMI output, the Inspiron Zino HD also features a pair of eSATA ports. That means you can add fast external storage devices, which would be perfect for expanding this systems' video storage. You also get a pair of USB ports on the back, as well as a VGA video port and a pair of analog audio outputs. On the front, the Zino has an addition pair of USB ports, as well as an SD Card input and a single headphone jack. The only other feature we might ask for is a digital audio output independent from the HDMI port.
As this is a customizable system, Dell offers a variety of upgrades and options at the time of purchase. You can chose from an external USB TV tuner, a wireless audio-streaming accessory, a larger hard drive, more RAM, and more. The system itself offers no obvious means to access the internal hardware, however. We hate to tell a determined enthusiast never, but most mainstream users will consider the Zino a closed case with an upgrade path similar to that of the Mac Mini.
|Dell Inspiron Zino HD|
|Raw (annual kWh)||116.65254|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$13.24|
The Zino's power efficiency lands right where we expect it to, given its components and performance. Adding a discrete graphics chip will likely see the annual cost increase, but not too dramatically. Apple's remarkable power efficiency has ruined the party for every one else, but at least among Windows desktops, the Zino performs as expected.
Lastly, Dell's service and support policies also fit in where we expect them to for a large, mainstream PC vendor. You get a year of parts and labor coverage, 24-7 phone support, and a variety of support resources available on Dell's Web site and through various tools included with your PC. Dell is more than willing to sell you expanded service of different kinds. For a system this inexpensive, we generally don't find paying for additional service worth the cost.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1GB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics chip; 160GB 5,400 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Mac OS X 10.6.2; 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 160GB, 7,200 rpm Fujitsu hard drive
Dell Inspiron Zino HD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.5GHz AMD Athlon X2 3250e; 3GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics chip; 320GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 32MB (shared) Intel GMA X4500 integrated graphics chip; 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.6 GHz Pentium Dual-Core E5300; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Intel GMA 3100 integrated graphics chip; 640GB, 7,200rpm hard drive