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Laying Hands on a Convert

Now that you have a converted heretic, it’s time to lay your hands on your Hackintosh Netbook. The first thing you notice is the Netbook’s small size. The Dell Inspiron Mini 10v is 10 inches wide, 7 inches deep, about 1 inch tall, and weighs 2.5 pounds. Compared to a 15-in MacBook Pro, the Mini looks like this.

The Screen

The wide-aspect ratio screen is clear, crisp, and easy to see. The tech specs for the 10-in screen specify a resolution of 1024×600, but in OS X, the display operates at 1280×600. At first, the screen had a purplish hue but after selecting “Inspiron 910 Display” in the Display preference, the colors looked more natural.

With the external VGA port, I was able to mirror and extend my desktop to a second, external monitor. This worked with a Dell 1708FP monitor running at 1280×1024, 60 Hz but couldn’t sync up on a Dell 2408WFP cranking at 1920×1200 (either mirror or extended desktop mode).

A potential limitation of the screen resolution is the minimum needed by Apple’s iLife apps. Apps like iMovie and iWeb want a big screen. While these apps still work, I wouldn’t want to run them exclusively on a Netbook screen unless absolutely necessary.

The Keyboard

Even though the Netbook itself is tiny, the keyboard is only a little cramped. You do have to get used to the slightly smaller keys, but really it’s not bad at all. The keyboard is a little “clicky” sounding but types and feels okay. The keyboard layout differs from a Mac with extra keys like a forward delete button. I’m still figuring out the Control, Windows, and Alt key equivalents, trusting in muscle memory. Whatever keystroke machinations I use on the Mac (including Expose functions), work on the Hackintosh-ed Windows keyboard.

The Trackpad

This is probably the worst interface element of the Dell. The trackpad works, but I would say it’s far from usable. There is a hack to tame the trackpad and make it more “Mac-like,” but it’s still too uncontrollable for me. I disabled “tap to click” since my finger swipes were interpreted as clicks. Apps in the Doc started firing up, and I kept inadvertently moving icons on the desktop. If at all possible, I’d rather use an external mouse.

Everything Else

All the other hardware components of the Dell Mini 10v are compatible with Mac OS X. Audio sounds good, WiFi and BlueTooth provide wireless connectivity, the webcam works, and so does the integrated SD memory card reader. I didn’t try out the Ethernet RF-45 jack, instead relying on WiFi connectivity.

And yes, Time Machine backups to an external USB drive work great too.

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6 Responses to Laying Hands on a Convert

  1. Adrian December 23, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    Great write up! This would make a great travel machine as I'm less inclined to travel with my 15" MBP.

    • Gee Why December 23, 2009 at 1:33 am #

      Next time when you comment, you can try and sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account. This comment system is supposed to support both.

  2. Adrian December 23, 2009 at 1:28 am #

    Great write up! This would make a great travel machine as I'm less inclined to travel with my 15" MBP.

    • geewhy December 23, 2009 at 1:33 am #

      Next time when you comment, you can try and sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account. This comment system is supposed to support both.

  3. Gee Why December 23, 2009 at 1:33 am #

    I'm eeking out two more posts about this – software and my observations. Hope to get them done very soon.

  4. geewhy December 23, 2009 at 1:33 am #

    I'm eeking out two more posts about this – software and my observations. Hope to get them done very soon.

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