Unboxed: Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Our Gadget of the year, the Asus Eee PC 901, has been looking pretty smug of late, so we've flung it into the ring with the recently arrived Dell Insp

Our Gadget of the year, the Asus Eee PC 901, has been looking pretty smug of late, so we've flung it into the ring with the recently arrived Dell Inspiron Mini 9 to see if it's still the netbook champ.

There's not a lot to choose in terms of specs: both have Intel Atom processors, run Windows XP (a Linux version of the Mini 9 is due soon), identical connections (three USBs, memory card slot, ethernet) and flash storage (12GB for the Eee PC, 16GB for the Dell Mini 9).

One difference is the screen: both have the same resolution (1024x600), but the Mini 9 has gone for a glossy finish. This makes it look a sharper and more colourful, but on the down side makes it more reflective.

Out of the box, the Mini 9 is built well and is less toy-like than its rival. But we found it to be a bit laggy, and it took twice as long to start up as the Eee PC – annoying if you're in a blog war and need to post something sharpish.

Still, the keyboard is easy to type on as Dell has ommitted the function keys to free up some space, and it'll be available for under £300 at launch. Look out for a hands-on video and full-review soon.