CNET First Look
Dell Inspiron Zino HD (AMD Phenom II X4)With its thoughtful features, Dell's charming little Inspiron Zino HD is perfectly suited to serve up HD content to your living room. We wish it had more general computing speed, and design purists will find the Mac Mini more sophisticated, but on balance...
Hi, I'm Rich Brown, senior editor for CNET.com. Today, we're gonna take a look at the Dell Inspiron Zino HD. This small scale PC is pretty much designed to go in your living room. It has a quad core AMD chip, decent amount of memory and a sizable hard drive, but it also has a Blu-ray drive, wireless networking, and an HDMI video out. That makes this system pretty well suited for your living room. It can play HD content via the Blu-ray drive or off the web with no problems and based on its size ,it really does go well in pretty much any living room setting. Now, this is a configurable system so if you go on Dell's website, you can swap in different components. In order to get the Blu-ray drive, though, you have to spend $750 on a pretty much fixed configuration PC like this one here. So at that price and based on its size, this system really is a direct competitor to Apple's Mac Mini. We actually have a Mac Mini here and you can see the two are relatively similar. The Mac Mini is a little bit more polished. It has its aluminum and the Dell is mostly plastic. The Mac Mini is also a little bit thinner. Dell's nice and chunky but neither one is unattractive. Now, in our performance testing, we found the Mac Mini was actually faster than the Dell but Dell offers Blu-ray, that's not an option with Apple. There's also other systems out there in sort of the small PC universe to think about. Gateway, HP, and Dell all offer slim tower PCs that are a little bit bigger than this but they also offer expandability. That means you can add graphics cards or make other upgrades and they're also a little bit less expensive. They're not quite as compact, though, so there's the tradeoff. All that said, this is probably the best Windows-based system for a self-contained living room PC. We also liked that the Dell has some good expandability on the outside. On the front, you get a few USB ports, an audio jack, as well as an SD card slot and on the back you get the HDMI video out, a couple USB outs, VGA out to connect to a standard monitor, couple analog audio as digital audio puts standard Ethernet jacks and e-SATA ports. We like those because that lets you have fast external storage, not always the most common feature in PCs in this price range. So because its size, its features, and its performance are all ready for the living room, we're actually pretty big fans of this system. I'm Rich Brown, this is the Dell Inspiron Zino HD.