The Inspiron Mini 9 is Dell’s first entry to the world of netbooks. To differentiate itself from the others, they decided to make its keypads larger than most 9″ netbooks. That’s great right? Since most 9″ (and even some 10″) netbooks have keypads that can frustrate people with big fingers.
But by making the keypads larger, they had to sacrifice something. See for yourself.
First thing you might notice is the lack of the F1-F12 keys at the top of the number keys. Actually, they are there sans F11 and F12. If you look closely you would see them on the ASDF row.
I don’t know about you but I usually use alt-F4 to close an application and F5 to reload my browser or refresh my screen. With the Inspiron Mini 9, the shortcut for closing an app would be Alt-Fn-F.
Next would be the Page Up, Page Down, Home and End keys. Quite useful keys when browsing through a huge document and Dell decided to put it within the arrow keys. Actually, it’s not that hard to press Fn-Arrow keys but it would take some time to familiarize.
Hmm, did they make a pact with the Fn key or something?
Then how about the apostrophe and the double quote? They are now located at the bottom row between the context menu and the left arrow key instead of beside the Enter key. Again, prepare to do a lot of trial and error when typing for accuracy.
You could also see the hyphen relocated beside the letter P.
So with the redesigned keyboard layout, do you think Dell made a bad decision? Yes, you can spend some time to get used to the different layout but netbooks are usually secondary PC’s and it might drive you mad switching from the Mini 9’s keyboard to a normal one.
If you have the money, will you still buy this netbook considering its unusual keyboard layout or will you skip it in favor of others?
Calvin is a newbie blogger who’s working as an IT consultant and blogs for a hobby. He has his own personal blog, Calvin’s Hub, where he writes about his thoughts on just about everything that interests him.