Dell’s Inspiron Zino HD: The Little Box That Could

Zino HD in colorThose of you who read Direct2Dell pretty regularly know that I love to use PCs for their multimedia capabilities. Advancements in hardware performance and on the OS side have made it possible to enjoy HD-quality stuff throughout the house. Now, we're bringing that capability to customers worldwide into a small form factor with the Inspiron Zino HD. Next to the Studio Hybrid, it's the smallest PC form factor we've introduced in our history. It also brings a lot of the power efficiency of the Studio Hybrid and offers better performance.

Small form factors themselves are nothing new. But  with the Inspiron Zino HD, we've worked to make a desktop that balances performance, size and price. In my view, this is the closest we've come to balancing all three in my 15 years here at Dell.

Update: I saw folks like Crave's Rich Brown were curious about performance Blu-ray performance. I'll work to pull together some details about CPU/ GPU performance on this little thing early next week. In the meantime, Jay Taylor has a pretty thorough review over at the AMD at Home Blog. Here's my  post about perfomance with the AMD Athlon dual-core processor and integrated graphics.

We offer a slew of color and design options: Flamingo Pink, Formula Red, Tangerine Orange, Plum Purple, True Blue, and Spring Green and Piano Black. Beyond that, we'll also offer Dell Design Studio-inspired designs as well. Take a look at this set on Dell's Flickr page if you want to see more.

The Inspiron Zino HD kicks things into high gear by adding more powerful processor (see image below) and graphic card options. It comes standard with an integrated version of AMD's Radeon HD 3200 solution, but customers who want the best HD experience should opt for upgrading to the discrete version of the ATI Mobility Radeon 4330.

The Zino HD also offers more expandability options–including DDR3 800MHz DDR2 RAM up to 8GB, an internal hard drive options up to 1TB. It also adds more external expandability through two E-SATA ports. Inspiron Zino HD customers can opt for an internal Blu-ray drive and can output it directly to an HDTV in the living room or elsewhere through HDMI. The Zinio HD can be ordered with two internal Wi-Fi network card options: the Dell 1397 card for 802.11b/g or the Dell 1520 card for 802.11b/g, and dual-band 802.11n. A 4-in-1 media card reader and integrated Gigabit Ethernet are both standard. Click on the image below to see a better view on the ports on the Inspiron Zino HD.

When out***d with an upgraded processor the discrete graphics card option. the Zino HD is built for HD streaming. Streaming Netflix? Check. Watching Blu-ray movies in 1080p? Check. Besides that, this little box makes an awesome Windows 7 Media Center hub. We offer the Inspiron Zino HD with Vista Home Basic as the base operating system. But for anyone looking to use it as a Media Center Hub, I highly recommend upgrading to Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate. If you watched video of Microsoft's Windows 7 launch event in New York might have caught the demo. Windows 7 is a media streaming beast.

Bottom line, if you're needing a small PC that can handle everything from the basics up through some pretty sophisticated HTPC kind of stuff, the I think the Inspiron Zino and the Zino HD are definitely worth a look.

About the Author: Lionel Menchaca