Some might argue that the netbook
's heyday is over, but there's still a
growing number of them finding the market. In fact, we'd argue that the
netbook may be on the rebound, thanks largely to AMD's Fusion platform.
While Intel's Atom was revolutionary for its time, the chip never seemed
to improve quickly enough. Even new Atom CPUs feel sluggish, and thanks
to Fusion, Intel's in a spot now where they simply need to step up if
they plan on matching pace. Dell's shown support for AMD
in the past,
but they're one of the last major companies to buy into Fusion; but hey,
better late than never!
The Inspiron M102z laptop has started to appear on Dell's international
sites, which usually means that a North American debut is only a few
days out. The M102z is thin, light and Fusion-packed, with two main
models being available. There's a version with a 1GHz Fusion chip, as
well as a model with the 1.6GHz Zacate E-350 APU
. Windows 7 Home Premium
(64-bit) is the OS of choice, with 2GB or 4GB of memory being
selectable. There's also an 11.6" HD WLED display (1366x768), two 1.5W
speakers, and a hard drive with up to 500GB of storage space. If you
need an optical drive, you'll have to rely on an external DVD-RW drive.
As for battery life? The 6-cell 56WHr Li-ion battery offers up to 9
hours of life, while an optional 9-cell battery can last nearly 14
hours. That's a lot of life, but of course, we suspect real-world use
will drain 'em faster than Dell expected.
Other specs include a 1.3MP built-in webcam, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a
starting weight of 3.44lbs. You'll also get audio jacks, a 7-in-1 media
reader, AC adapter connector, HDMI output and integrated Ethernet jack.
It's shipping now in places like Singapore and New Zealand, and we
suspect U.S.-based consumers will see it touch down shortly. It remains
to be seen if it's up to the challenge of taking on the other
Fusion-based machines that have shipped thus far, but we're digging the
form factor, for sure.