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Dell Inspiron Zino HD - Dell Inspiron Zino HD

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


Finally then, how does this tiny box hold up to the competition? First let’s compare to the Mesh Cute. The Cute costs £345 for its base configuration, which gets you a faster 3GHz Athlon II X2 CPU and 4GB of RAM compared to the £329 Zino HD with Athlon X2 1.5GHz and 3GB of RAM, all other specifications being similar. Between these two configurations there’s very little to choose from, as for its intended market the Zino offers adequate processing power and is superior in every other respect, being quieter, smaller, better-looking and better-built. However, the Cute offers more flexibility. Unfortunately, since our review it would appear Mesh has dropped the discrete HD 4550 graphics card and Phenom II Black Edition 3.1GHz CPU options, eliminating the Cute as a low-end gaming machine, but the company still offers a Blu-ray writer and digital Dual DVB-T Tuner – neither of which are options on the Zino HD.

With its 1.5GHz CPU and 4GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD, Blu-ray drive and Wireless N, the Zino HD will set you back around £570, and adding the same HD 4330 as on our review model ups this to £630.29. For this amount of money you can get quite a powerful full-size PC, like the CyberPower Hercules i5, but you’re obviously paying a premium for the Zino’s small footprint.

A Mac mini is a more obvious alternative, but lacks a Blu-ray option and will set you back significantly more for a roughly similar specification – albeit with a more powerful Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz processor.

Alternatively, if tiny is what you’re after and you’re on a tight budget it’s also worth considering the likes of the Acer Aspire Revo. Though far less powerful, it’s adequate to run most HD material (barring YouTube HD), and with an external Blu-ray drive plus playback software should still set you back less than £400.


Though it’s not exactly the best value proposition around, Dell’s Zino HD offers pretty much the ideal combination of size, power and features for the perfect home theatre or small desktop PC. As long as you aren’t interested in gaming and aren't tempted by a Mac mini, this is one very attractive machine!

Addendum: Since the writing of this review Dell has added a new processor option bringing the base price down to £279.


February 11, 2010, 2:00 pm

You sure about the ethernet port not being gigabit? Every online reference I can find says it is. Not that it matters, the ones I saw in PC-City the other day were a bit too loud for me.


February 11, 2010, 4:13 pm

@worth considering the likes of the Acer Aspire Revo. Though far less powerful, it’s adequate to run most HD material (barring YouTube HD)

I think even YouTube HD is now possible on the little Revo :)


Have to admit the Revo is a cracking buy, even if your not on a tight budget.


February 11, 2010, 5:26 pm

"Of course Blu-ray playback... high definition video was not a problem,the Zino HD kept CPU load well under 60 per cent on average"

60%, will tolerable seems quite high to me.

I have an ASRock ION ( 4GB RAM with 500mb dedicated to the Nvidia GPU) and I get less than 20% (12-17% on average) on Bluray playback. The ASRock instant boot is great and has all the major features of this unit, albeit no mouse/keyboard or OS but it will still be up and running for far less..

Flash 10 was even optimised around ION so that works well too.

Case proven m'lord


February 11, 2010, 10:22 pm

@Chocoa, yes the Revo uses the ION and I have to agree 60% CPU seems very high.

Also when you consider you can get a Revo for £140 it makes the Dell seem very expensive.


February 25, 2010, 10:23 pm


Thanks for pointing that out and sorry about that mistake. It does indeed have Gigabit Ethernet and the review has been corrected.


True, 720p Flash is now working, making the Revo an even more attractive alternative.

Don't forget to factor extras like an external optical drive into the Revo's price.


"Well under"; the actual average was lower.

Out of interest, what software do you use on the ASRock and what's maximum load?


April 28, 2010, 5:18 pm

I really enjoyed this review! Not sure if the Mac mini is that interesting any longer...

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