Somebody at Dell must have figured out that Apple sells an awful lot of Mac mini’s. In true copycat fashion, and a few years too late, Dell introduced what can only be described as a Mac mini Killer™. Or not.
The Dell Zino HD is candy colored, bigger and thicker than a Mac mini, and costs less than Apple’s least expensive Mac. What does the Zino HD do that your Mac mini cannot? If configuration options mean anything, the Zino might catch on. Or not. But it’s no Mac mini killer.
The Original Mac mini
Other than what goes on inside, Apple’s Mac mini hasn’t changed much since it was introduced almost five years ago.
The mini is still 6.5-inches square. It still weighs less than 3 pounds. It looks the same.
However, Apple has made the Mac mini much faster, more powerful, given it more ports and connectors, and even has a server version complete with Mac OS X Snow Leopard server.
What’s not to like? You need your own keyboard, mouse, and display, but the Mac mini makes for a very nice second or third Mac in any household.
The Mac mini has become a darling of the server co-location crowd because it uses so little space and even less power, yet, as a server, it’s a very powerful, albeit small, package.
The Dell Inspiron Zino HD
Remember Dell? They’re the huge PC maker which fell on hard times after building craptastically inexpensive PCs that more often than not seemed to break right out of the box.
The new Dell is run (again) by founder Michael Dell and these days they’re making pretty PCs. From the Adamo to the Zino, Dell aims to look pretty and chic, rather than dull, awkward, and beige.
The Dell Inspiron Zino HD carries on the newly acquired tradition of wannabe chicness. The Zino is a mini-like mini, but it’s not so Mac mini. Or, even mini.
Take My Specifications. Please.
At first glance, the Zino looks like a Mac mini with a serious case of black plastic (instead of aluminum looking plastic) and a candy coated top. The Zino has a slick removable, changeable colored top.
It also comes with a lot more configuration options than a Mac mini. It’s almost 8-inches square, 3.5 inches high, and weighs a whopping 3.5 pounds.
The Zino is loaded with USB ports, a 4-in-1 memory card reader, a DVD/CD combo drive, and a bunch of connectors which range from line out to microphone to VGA to ethernet to eSata to HDMI—and options which range from WiFi to ATI Mobility Radeon HD graphics.
The black box will hold a single 3.5-inch hard disk drive (which accounts for the added weight) and an optical drive. A Dell keyboard and mouse is included, but a display is not.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!
How much is that doggy in the window? The Zino HD starts at a mere $229 (vs. the Mac mini at $599) and goes up to nearly $1,000 with all the high end options (including colored tops, $10 extra—only Piano Black is free).
Do you like chip choices? The Zino comes with a variety of AMD Athlons (you’ll pay more for dual core) to compete with the Intel Inside in the Mac mini. Dell loves to configure PCs, so the Zino also has options for any of four different versions of Windows (Vista is free, but you pay more for Windows 7), and an option for Ubuntu Linux.
Hard drives range from 250GB 7200 RPM SATA II’s to a full on terabyte, double that of a Mac mini’s top option (except for the server version, which can hold dual 500 giggers). 2 gigs of RAM is included in the base model.
Is Dell’s Zino HD a Mac mini killer? I expect it to have the same success as Gateway’s iMac killer, and HP’s iMac killer, and all the other so-called Mac killer machines introduced by Apple’s less-than-profitable rivals.
It took me 20 or so clicks to configure the base $229 model which could be built and delivered in a couple of weeks. It’s cute, in a sort of overgrown baby hippo sort of way, but not likely to dent the love customers have for Apple’s Mac mini.