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Dell Inspiron Zino HD (410) HTPC Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Article Index
Dell Inspiron Zino HD (410) HTPC Review
Testing and Conclusion


I installed PowerDVD 10 Ultra on the system to optimize HD processing, both for Blu-ray discs and my collection of mkv files.  In PowerDVD10, you have the ability to use the graphics card to process the video rather than the CPU.  It's pretty handy if you are multitasking with the system while watching video.  However, the CPU load never strayed above 35% when watching 1080p HD content on standard settings, so it's not that much of a worry if you max out the specs on your custom build.  Regarding Blu-ray, everything from Avatar to The Dark Knight played flawlessly and usually popped up automatically once the disc tray slid back into the Zino HD.  I also didn't have any problems with file compatibility on the HD movie side and rarely had to wait more than a couple seconds to get something to launch.

If you are also a gamer, you can use the Zino HD for light gaming, even some of the latest FPS games.  I briefly tested Fallout: New Vegas on the unit and it played at a fairly high detail level if I reduced the resolution.  World of Warcraft fanatics could also crank out 720p graphics from the comfort of their couch with little stress on the system.  However, don't expect it to look or play as well as Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 gaming system.  Without a disc in the tray, the system is relatively quiet.  Those who use it in an office setting will hear a slight hum from the unit and it may seem overly loud on a desk.  In a home theater, you wouldn't notice it at all when a movie or music is playing.  

Dell zino front

  • Plays HD content extremely quickly and without the stuttering problems of the previous generation.
  • Design and form factor makes it ideal for a typical home theater setup.  
  • Dell offers a variety of customizable options during the purchase process, but even the core system is HD ready.


  • There's no TV tuner included in the package
  • There's no USB 3.0 connectivity for faster transfer speeds.


The Dell Inspiron Zino HD 410 is really an exceptional improvement over the previous model and is finally a viable HTPC option.  It's also a great idea for videophiles seeking more specific video controls, especially with Blu-ray discs.  I can easily recommend the quad core processor for those looking to do multitasking.  When testing the unit in my office, I was working in Photoshop, Word, Illustrator and watching The Social Network on Blu-ray at the same time; nary a hitch in the process.  However, the quad core processor is going to add another $130 to your base price on the Wireless entertainment model.  Those who are in the market for a full-fledged HTPC would be wise to consider the Dell Zino HD as it definitely offers similar performance to the Mac Mini.  (The Dell Zino ranges in price from $299 to $699 depending on base model build.)

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