Dell Inspiron Zino HD nettop PC
An Athlon-powered desktop PC with netbook performance
- Inexpensive, eSATA, hard drive is upgradeable
- Can't play Full HD content smoothly, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth not standard, no remote control
The Dell Inspiron Zino HD is a basic, low-cost computer with some media playback capabilities but little else. An HDMI connection means you can connect the nettop PC to televisions easily, but it won't play 1080p high-definition content smoothly.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Dell's Inspiron Zino HD is an attractive, Windows-based nettop that's an alternative to other small form factor PCs like Apple's Mac Mini. It offers plenty of connections and has good performance for basic computing, but slow high-definition video decoding and the lack of a remote control make this a poor home theatre PC.
Enclosure and connectivity
The Dell Inspiron Zino HD isn't the smallest nettop PC we have seen, but it's definitely one of the most attractive. With a rounded shape and a choice of seven different coloured lids, the PC's styling is svelte and fits in with the modern decor of both home offices and living rooms.
The list of connections is surprisingly comprehensive. The front panel offers two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack and an SD/MMC card slot. A DVD burner is also available (a Blu-ray combo drive is optional); we would have preferred a slot-loading DVD drive for better aesthetics.
On the back you'll find microphone and line-out jacks, VGA and HDMI ports, Gigabit Ethernet as well as two eSATA and two more USB 2.0 ports. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are optional extras.
Nettop PCs are often best used in environments other than the desk, such as in a home theatre setup or as a kiosk in the kitchen. The Inspiron Zino HD ships with a wireless keyboard and mouse, but Dell hasn't seen fit to bundle a remote control with the PC. Avid home theatre users will have to purchase a remote and either use Windows Media Centre or an alternative solution like Boxee for media streaming and playback.
The Dell Inspiron Zino HD is cramped inside but the hard drive is upgradeable.
Configuration and performance
From a hardware perspective, the Dell Inspiron Zino HD is little more than netbook-like components stuffed into a slightly bigger enclosure without a screen. This means that the nettop PC is geared for basic computing, though offers slightly more memory than netbooks and a 3.5in internal hard drive rather than integrated flash memory or a 2.5in drive. It isn't as upgradeable as tower PCs, but enterprising users should be able to swap out the hard drive for up to 2TB of storage if necessary.
We tested the entry-level, $599 configuration of the Inspiron Zino HD nettop PC, which is powered by a 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e processor, 3GB of DDR2 memory, integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics and a 250GB hard drive. It runs a 64-bit version of Windows 7. Beefier configurations offer up to 8GB of memory, as well as a choice of faster single and dual-core processors.
|Price||WorldBench 6||3DMark06||3DMark Vantage||iTunes Encoding
|Dell Inspiron Zino HD||$599||37||604||P42||4m 14s||4m 21s|
|ASRock Ion 330HT-BD||$720||35||1393||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|HP Mini 311||$899||31||1470||N/A||7m 36s||6m 58s|
|ASUS Eee Top ET2002||$999||36||N/A||N/A||6m 40s||3m 42s|
|Dell Inspiron One 19||$999||N/A||821||N/A||1m 8s||1m 9s|
|Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z||$999||N/A||828||N/A||1m 6s||1m 9s|
As expected, the Dell Inspiron Zino HD nettop PC has slightly better performance than an Atom-powered netbook, though the single-core processor isn't fast or particularly handy for multithreaded applications. Multitasking was the processor's weakest point, taking 1154 seconds to simultaneously perform tasks in Firefox and Windows Media Encoder. The integrated graphics aren't impressive either. While this nettop PC might be okay for Flash-based games, it won't match Ion-based platforms like ASRock's Ion 330HT-BD media centre PC or the HP Mini 311 netbook.
In real world use, we found the Inspiron Zino HD was sluggish when performing even basic tasks like running a CD or installing software. It performed a lot faster when we disabled all start-up applications and services, though this means you won't have access to antivirus or Dell's bundled applications.
The nettop PC's performance also makes it a poor option for a home theatre system. The Inspiron Zino HD repeatedly froze when we attempted to watch 1080p WMV HD files, making movies and even short films unwatchable. We were told that upgrading to the latest AMD Catalyst graphics drivers (10.3) should fix any playback issues, though we weren't able to test this. Despite its "HD" moniker and HDMI connection, it is suitable only for standard-definition content and the odd 720p movie.
Like many netbooks, the Dell Inspiron Zino HD nettop is good as a low-cost solution for basic computing tasks like browsing the Web, checking e-mails and doing homework. It will chug when asked to do anything else, and certainly isn't the "HD" machine that Dell wants you to think it is.
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the newsletter!
A printer that is efficient, reliable and can work seamlessly with your systems and software.Read this solicitor's review to find out more!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- 2 Oppo R11s review: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve
- 3 Blackberry KEYone Black Edition review: What the original KEYone should have been
- 4 Zolo Liberty+ review: The true wireless earbuds you've been waiting for
- 5 Samsung Gear IconX 2018 review: The path of least resistance makes for an easy upgrade
Latest News Articles
- Judge paves the way for British hacker's extradition to US
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Toshiba's new SSD line features rock-bottom pricing
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Hands On: Pitting the Apple HomePod against the Sonos One
- Everything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Comparing The Google Home’s Assistant To Amazon Echo’s Alexa
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTGraduate Recruiter - Large Blue Chip clientOther
- FTSenior Cost ModellerOther
- CCLead Business AnalystQLD
- CCActive Directory SpecialistNSW
- FTLead Agile BAOther
- FTBusiness AnalystSA
- CCJunior Project ManagerVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTPeopleSoft Business AnalystNSW
- FT.NET DeveloperWA
- CCTalend Integration DeveloperOther
- FTSenior .NET Developer / Consultant - Brisbane based (Work from home/client site)QLD
- CCIT Security AnalystACT
- FTNetwork EngineerVIC
- FTPeoplesoft HCM Application DeveloperACT
- CCAgile Coach/LeadNSW
- CCCyber Security Business AnalystACT
- CCBusiness Analyst - RFTVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCDesktop Support Technician - Karratha basedWA
- CCWindows Desk Migration EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTAndroid Developer - 6 Month ContractOther
- FTDigital DesignerOther
- FTTraining & Communications SpecialistOther