Dell Inspiron Mini 12: the best netbook for music?

An affordable alternative to the MacBook Air?

If you're looking for an ultra-portable laptop that you can use for music-making, you'll doubtless be interested to hear about Dell's new Inspiron Mini 12.

Sporting a 12.1 inch screen, this is the big (though not that big) brother of the Inspiron Mini 9, and is less than an inch thick. It's available with either a 1.3GHz Atom Z520 or 1.6GHz Atom Z530 processor, and with either 60 or 80GB of storage.

It ships with Windows Vista Home Basic, though Ubantu and Windows XP versions will be available before the end of the year.

Of course, you're never going to get the same level of performance out of a machine like this as you will from a high-powered laptop, but if you want something that looks classy and is genuinely portable, the Mini 12 certainly appears to be a contender.

The machine is currently shipping in Japan only, but should be available worldwide in November for less than $600.

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