Dell Inspiron 3050 Micro

Small Windows PC for Under $200 You Can Hook Up to a HDTV

Dell Inspiron 3050 Micro
Dell Inspiron 3050 Micro Mini-PC. ©Dell

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The Bottom Line

Mar 24 2015 - Dell's new Inspiron Micro desktop is incredibly small and extremely affordable making it an option for those that want a hook up a PC to their HDTV to make it double as a Windows computer. It is useful in this case for browsing the web or streaming media but its limitations do prevent it from doing much more. This is especially true of the storage and the memory.

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • 802.11ac Wireless Networking

Cons

  • Very Limited Storage
  • Performance Best Suited For Basic Tasks
  • No Internal Upgrade Potential

Description

  • Intel Pentium J1800 Dual Core Desktop Processor
  • 2GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 32GB Solid State Storage
  • Intel HD Graphics Integrated Graphics
  • HDA 5.1 Audio Support
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • One USB 3.0, Three USB 2.0, DisplayPort, HDMI, SD Card Slot
  • 5.16" x 5.16" x 2"
  • Windows 8.1 Bing

Review - Dell Inspiron 3050 Micro

Jun 24 2015 - Not to be outdone by HP and its Stream Mini Desktop, Dell has released its own Inspiron Micro mini desktop system. It is not as colorful coming in a standard black box design that measures just over five inches square and roughly two inches tall. Included with the system is a wired mouse and keyboard but for an extra $20 you can upgrade to wireless peripherals witch is useful if you plan to use it in a home theater setup.

It is very similar to the Dell Chromebox but with a slightly different external design that is a bit more rounded and with the power button on the front rather than top.

Powering the Dell Inspiron Micro is the Intel Celeron J1800 dual core processor. This is a bit of an odd processor as it is designed for very low power consumption which also means that is a fair bit slower than many other desktop class processors.

It is fine for basic computing like browsing the web, streaming media or productivity. The problem is that there is just 2GB of DDR3 memory which means that it is severely restricted if you are trying to do any demanding tasks or multitasking. Even if you upgrade to the quad core Pentium J2900 processor, it still uses just 2GB of memory meaning it is still heavily restricted.

While the Inspiron Micro could be large enough to fit a small hard drive, because of its low cost uses a small 32GB solid state drive. The capacity of course is the big issue as after the operating system, there is hardly any space for applications, data or media files. Users will instead need to rely on local network or cloud storage for their files. The other option is to use external drives. there are four USB ports but only a single side one is the faster USB 3.0 best used with high speed external drives. There is also a media card reader for popular low cost flash memory cards that can be used to expand storage a bit.

One thing that these small systems are not know for is the graphics because they have to rely on those integrated into the processor. The Intel HD Graphics built into the Celeron are older and fairly low end.

This means the system is not really suited for any 3d applications. That is not a big deal for most people that probably will be using it for basic applications and video streaming. While the system does feature a DisplayPort connector for use with some 4k displays, it does not have the ability to drive such high resolutions.

Dell was smart for the networking of the Inspiron Micro by including the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards. This means that it supports both the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz spectrum and faster speeds. As wireless becomes the more widespread method for connecting desktops to desktops, this is very useful compared to the 802.11n used by most low cost systems.

Pricing for the Dell Inspiron Micro is in line with its primary competitor, the HP Stream Mini Desktop. Both cost just $179 for roughly the same overall features. Both offer limited performance and storage with just 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage but he HP offers a slightly higher performance Celeron processor. By contrast, the Dell offers better wireless networking. The big difference is that HP offers a more expensive but more capable HP Pavilion Mini that costs just over $320 but Dell restricts the Inspiron Micro to just the base configuration.

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