The 5 best uses for the $229 Dell Zino HD


Dell just went official with the Inspiron Zino HD price and spces. There have been a few unboxing and previews popping up around the blogs the last few days and I’ve fallen in love with the little computer. It’s slightly larger than the Mac Mini, but I believe infinitely more versatile.

HTPC – It’s a given. The $229 Dell Zino HD would feel right at home on a A/V rack. The Athlon CPUs and optional ATI Radeon HD 4330 512MB GPU has more than enough juice to output 1080p to your HDTV. Check the box for the optional Blu-ray drive and TV tuner to create a bonafide HTPCIB – Home Theater PC In a Box, that is.

WHS – There are about a dozen and a half already built Windows Home Server options available. HP makes the media-centric MediaSmart line, Acer has the Atom-packing easyStore, Lenovo has options and the list goes on. They are competent boxes, but none of them have the processing power that the AMD options offer in the Zino HD, which is somewhat important if you want to turn the server into a torrent downloading monster. Choose the integrated graphics but select at least 2GB of RAM along with the option 1TB hard drive. The 2 eSATA ports ensure that you’ll never run out of storage capacity too.

Trendy office computer – It doesn’t take much to run Microsoft Office apps anymore. Why live with a boring gray tower these days when the playful Zino HD can get the job done too? Even the base model should be fine for most office tasks.

In-car computer – The Mac Mini might score you nerd points with the geeks posing in the car tuning crowd, but there are a lot of PC-only in-car apps, which makes the Zino HD a perfect solution. It has a small footprint and more than enough power to run GPS and music software. But most importantly is that the computer comes in enough color options that you should be able to find one to match your ride.

Old folks computer – What do old people do on a computer these days? Play on Facebook? That’s about it and the Zino HD, along with countless other options, has more than enough power to be a reliable computer for them. The Athlon cores should be able to handle at least five Internet Explorer toolbars and several spyware programs posing as card games. Try that with an Atom CPU.

The Zino HD product page is currently up, but you can’t customize or order one yet. That will probably change sometime today.

Press release,

ROUND ROCK, Texas, Nov. 12, 2009 – Dell today introduced the mini-sized Inspiron Zino HD, which is versatile enough to handle tasks from basic computing chores to driving a big-screen, High-Definition TV media center. With a choice of colors, the Inspiron Zino HD can be easily personalized to add flare to any room in the home.

The News:

Starting at $229, the Inspiron Zino HD includes standard HD-capable integrated graphics, HDMI output and built-in networking that make it smart for typical home and student computing activities such as word processing, e-mail, organizing photos and music, and surfing the Internet.

The economical Inspiron Zino HD with optional additional memory, hard drive storage, combo Blu-ray disc player, HDTV tuner, wireless remote control and Windows 7 Media Player and turns into a powerful home media center computer. In that capacity the Inspiron Zino HD can record and play your favorite TV shows, display high-definition content from the Internet, and store and deliver music, video and photos very well.

The Inspiron Zino HD is also ideal as an additional household PC that can fit in tight spaces and make home networking a cinch. It measures about 7.75 inches square and 3.5 inches tall. While small in size, the Inspiron Zino HD is a big performer with:

  • Ultra-small form factor designed to fit almost anywhere.
  • Easy personalization with nine color choices for Inspiron Zino HD.
  • Choice of AMD processors or dual core Athlon Neo X2 6850e.
  • Up to 8GB dual channel DDR 2 memory.
  • Up to 1TB internal hard disk storage.
  • Combo DVD/CD RW drive with optional Blu-ray Disc combo.
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 networking with wireless option.
  • Optional TV tuner, wireless keyboard and mouse.
  • Built in 2.1 high-definition audio and 4-in-one media card reader.
  • Integrated ATI graphics adapter with standard HDMI and VGA video connections, and optional 512MB discrete graphics adapter.
  • Four USB ports (2 front/2 rear); two eSATA ports (rear).
  • Energy-Star 5.0 compliant.

A basic Inspiron Zino without High-Definition capability or upgrade options will be offered in some regions.