Dell Inspiron Mini 12 is the first netbook with a 12-inch display. Under the lid, the Mini 12 looks at lot like its younger brother,, the Mini 9. The matte keyboard feel is the same and a silver glossy coating covers the pad and palm rest. Because of the expanded screen real estate, Dell packs a 91 percent full size keyboard which is comfortable for touch typists and way better than the layout on the Mini 9. There is a row of function keys and there is a near full sized Shift key placed where it belongs: to the left of the up arrow. Nevertheless, we would have like to see Dell extend the layout to the edges. The touchpad is also roomy, with a nice gritty feel, and there are dedicated right and left click mouse buttons underneath
Striking a clear difference between the Dell MIni 12 and the other netbooks on the market is its 1280 x 800 resolution 12-inch screen. The wide display makes allows for more work space, and we liked being able to place two browser windows side by side. While the glossy screen is vivid and colors on the desktop popped, the LCD was a bit dim even when cranked up to full brightness.
The Dell Mini 12 is also differentiates itself from other netbooks by not packing the usual 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 processor. Instead our configuration has a 1.6GHz Atom Z530 Silverthorne-class processor. The processor, along with 1GB of RAM (which is not upgradeable) power the Microsoft Windows Vista basic Mini 12. For storage, it has a 1.8-inch 60GB hard drive operating at a sluggish 4,200 rpm over a PATA interface.