The new Dell Inspiron Mini 12 netbook that has been teasing us over the last month has finally received a price and a shipping date. There are three models available, with the lowest-end starting at $549 with a 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 CPU, a 40GB hard drive, and a three cell battery.
The next pre-configured system is priced at $599, features the more powerful 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, bumps storage to 60GB and has a larger 6-cell battery for about 5.5 hours of use. Finally, the last pre-configured system sells for $649 and sees the hard drive size bumped up to 80GB and the Limited Warranty bumped up to 2 years from one year on the lesser models.
All three versions, unfortunately, get a paltry 1GB of RAM that cannot be upgraded and the only OS option for now is Windows Vista Home Basic not the best combination performance-wise. Also, at this price range, you could buy a low-end notebook with more under the hood or perhaps a netbook with the same (if not better) specs for well under $500. The benefit however is the larger, 12-inch screen, thinner profile at about 1-inch thick and near-regular-sized keyboard. Dell is now taking orders for the Mini 12 with an estimated ship date of December 8.