Aside from its touch abilities, the screen performs fairly well. We’ve yet to come across a good netbook display but this is one of the better examples we’ve seen, thanks partially to the semi-matte finish. This mostly prevents distracting reflections and allows better viewing angles, though it also means colours come across with a little less verve than on glossy screens.
Barring the usual greyscale weaknesses (leading to detail loss in particularly bright or dark areas) there’s little else to complain about, with level backlighting and sharp text. It’s also worth mentioning that the integrated Intel GMA950 graphics will let you set the resolution up to 1,920 x 1,080, assuming you have a high definition display to hook it up to.
As far as the keyboard goes, rather than the flat-style keys of its consumer Mini-series, Dell has gone for a more traditional tapered key shape. While this is a bit of a step back, it’s still perfectly usable (coming from someone who found the original Eee PC impossible to type on) with a logical layout and positive feedback.
While not matching up to the large multi-touch affairs found on the likes of Asus’ Eee PC Seashell, the 2100’s touchpad is perfectly serviceable. It has a matte, smooth surface which differentiates it well from the textured matte palm-rests, and its two separate buttons offer excellent feedback.
Connectivity, meanwhile, is pretty much standard for a netbook. On the right are VGA and USB connections, and headphone plus microphone jacks. The memory card reader is located at the front, while to the right we find power and Ethernet connections joined by a further two USB ports.