Been using an upgraded Mini 9 (Runcore 32gb, 2 gb ram, Win 7) for last 18 months. Couldn't resist the under $300 price for Dell Outlet M101z last week using coupon code. Just took delivery two day ago. Here are some random thoughts for anyone considering a similar upgrade: Random thoughts about the the Dell M101z compared to a Mini 9:
This IS NOT a netbook. Way bigger than the Mini 9 or even a Mini 10. More like a smallish full-sized laptop. 3.4 lbs. vs 2.2 for the Mini 9. Just for comparison, I used to own a Thinkpad x31 with a 12" (1024X768) screen and it also weighed 3.4 lbs. but had a metal housing around the screen and was practically indestructible!
The Mini 9 was built very durable and the plastics used in the screen, palmrest, and bezel were more matte plastic than glossy and very resistant to fingerprints, etc. The M101z is just freekin' glossy everywhere and seems to have a slight static charge that attracts dust and pet hair, in addition to fingerprints. Would have been much better if they could have just made it the same as the Mini.
After using the Mini 9 with an upgraded Runcore 32GB SSD
, it's just painful to go back to a machine with a spinning hard drive. The M101z also has a fan because the AMD chipset runs kind of hot, so I've read. Will definitely miss the silent operation (no fan, no hard drive) of the Mini 9. My Mini 9 booted up to the Win 7 log in screen in 20 seconds! Best time so far on the M101z is 34 seconds. Just sayin!
Speaking of size, the power cord on the M101z is pretty much the same size, weight, and design as a full-sized Dell laptop. Goodbye tiny, light-weight ac power cord.
The M101z has Dell's new "screen forward" design and so at the back of the screen, where the hinges meet the base, it is not flush like the Mini 9. When the screen is closed, there is a sort-of sharp edge that seems like it could get snagged and nicked during the normal wear and tear of daily carrying in a backpack. Seems like it will also be a magnet for dirt and dust to drop in to.
Speaking of the screen on the M101z, is it me or is it a bit harder than it is on a Mini 9 to wedge your finger in there and get the screen flipped open? Okay, now the good:
The screen is just beautiful! And it's way big compared to the Mini 9. This is the main reason I upgraded, to have a screen just big enough to run Adobe Lightroom and actually be usable.
The sound is great! Way better than the sound on the Mini 9, or even the Dell soundbar under the Dell LCD monitor on my desktop pc. Nice job Dell!
The keyboard is big enough to actually type on! Pretty much just the same as on any full-sized laptop.
The webcam is 1.3 mp and has a tiny led light for when you are sitting in the dark (like me, most of the time!) My Mini 9 didn't have any webcam
As you'd expect, the M101z is just more powerful and capable, even with just the single-core K125, as compared to the little Atom N270 cpu on the Mini 9.
These are just my opinions but I hope this helps anyone considering a similar upgrade.