Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK 10.1-Inch Netbook Review

The Dell Inspiron iM1012 is one of Dell’s entries into the netbook market. In terms of power it’s a mid-range device for the category, but how well does it serve the role of netbook? Let’s find out.

Key Specs For The Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK

RRP: $389.99
Release Year: 2009
Operating System: Windows 7 Starter
Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.3 x 7.7 inches
Screen Size: 10.1
Battery Life: 8.75 hours
Storage Space: 160 GB

Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK: The Pros

Keyboard: One of the most common complaints levelled at netbooks and other portable computers is the size of the keyboard. Typically the keyboards on these devices are very small – something which might seem a necessity if the device’s size is to be kept to a minimum. The reality, however, is that it’s possible to get a decent sized keyboard on even very small devices such as this.

The keyboard on the iM1012 is 92% of a full-sized keyboard. This means there’s almost no noticeable size reduction. By keeping the keyboard large it’s easier to keep your typing error-level down, something which is particularly important for those who are used to typing at high wpm rates.

In addition to being a great size, the keyboard is also spill resistant. This is useful whatever kind of computer you’re using, but in the case of netbooks there’s an even greater likelihood that you’ll be using the device in a coffee shop or other location with lots of liquids around that are just waiting to flood your computer and cause it to break. With the iM1012 you won’t have to panic quite as much if you do end up spilling the occasional drink over the keyboard!

Trackpad: The trackpad on the iM1012 is fairly large, which makes it pleasant to use. Some trackpads require that you repeatedly swipe just to reach the other side of your screen with the cursor. However, that’s unlikely to be a problem with this device.

Another great feature of the trackpad on this netbook is that the left and right click buttons are integrated into the pad itself. This means that the pad can be made larger without increasing the overall size of the computer chassis. If you’re fond of the Mac-style trackpads then you’ll like this.

Finally it’s also worth noting that unlike many trackpads on other devices, this one barely shows a smudge. Your netbook will look cleaner and more well-cared for without you having to put in the slightest bit of effort.

Display: Any portable device should be able to handle use in a variety of environments. One of the most persistently challenging environments for portable computers has been the outdoors. Not “the great outdoors”, but just the average garden or café terrace. The problem with the outdoors is light, which generally makes a screen nearly impossible to see. This netbook is one of the small number of devices that handles this well. At full brightness settings (which will of course drain the battery more quickly) the screen has good visibility outside.

In addition, the display is both bright and crisp. As the screens on netbooks are generally so small, it’s nice to have good image quality to help make up for it.

Wrist Rest: Some portable devices, including other netbooks, can become uncomfortable to use after a while. One common reason for this is the way that the keyboard is designed, and how the wrist rests during use. Fortunately, the iM1012 has a well-designed keyboard with well-formed wrist rest. This helps make extensive use more comfortable.

Connectivity: This netbook is well set-up for a variety of user needs. Not only does it come with 3 USB ports, enabling you to connect memory sticks, wireless mouse devices and so on all at once, but it also comes with a multi-functional memory card reader. The included card reader works with SD cards, MMC cards, and MS / MS Pro cards. The is useful for those who travel, and saves valuable space on the unit itself, allowing Dell to keep the product’s size down.

Design: The design of this netbook is good, with a pretty sleek finish. It’s not quite comparable to Apple or Sony products in this respect, but it’s certainly a cut above average. One of the best things about Dell netbooks, though, is that you can customize the color. With quite a number of choices, you can really get a product that fits with you.

Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK: The Cons

Heat: Unfortunately, the iM1012 generates a fair bit of heat. Since the vents are on the bottom, this means that the heat is directed at your lap if you’re using it without a surface to place it on. This might prove a bit uncomfortable during prolonged use, especially if you’re in a hot climate.

1GB RAM: As with some rivals, this netbook comes with only 1GB of RAM. This means that an already underpowered machine (when compared with standard laptops) works even more slowly than necessary. Although it’s possible to upgrade the RAM to 2GB, it’s so cheap it’s be better if Dell simply included the RAM with the netbook to start with. This would save a lot of hassle for customers who feel that they’d benefit from the extra oomph this gives.

Multitasking: Even if you run your iM2012 with 2GB of RAM, you’ll still find it can’t handle much multitasking. This isn’t exactly unusual for netbooks, but there are alternative netbooks out there than function a bit better than this one. Although most users will only want a netbook for light tasks such as word processing and browsing, if you like to run lots of programs at once you might want to look into alternative options.

Is The Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK Worth Buying?

Overall, the iM1012 is a good machine. It’s a solid mid-range performer in the netbook category with some nice touches, like the large spill-resistant keyboard and customizable shell color. It’s not the most powerful or innovative netbook, but it’s good and reliable for users who don’t need too much power or require multitasking.

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out of 5 based on ratings. 215 user reviews
Dell Inspiron iM1012-687OBK 10.1-Inch Netbook (Obsidian Black)

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