Pros 1. Runs Ubuntu Linux 11.04
Cons 1. Dell sales support
2. Dell tech support
3. Much larger than other "mini" computers
4. Doesn't run earlier versions of Ubuntu Linux (see exact details below)
Summary I ordered this computer after a Dell's sales person confidently (and somewhat deceptively) confirmed that it would support Ubuntu Linux 10.04 LTS. After several failed attempts at installing Ubuntu 10.04 (as well as earlier versions of the Linux operating system), I concluded that the older public releases of Ubuntu (i.e., those versions released prior to 11.04, Natty Narwhal) probably lacked the necessary driver support for the machine that I purchased in September 2011. I subsequently discovered a web page at Ubuntu.com ([...]) that said that version 10.04 LTS was only compatible with the Zino HD on a pre-installed basis. (Dell was no longer offering the computer with Ubuntu 10.04 pre-installed when I made my purchase.)
At least a half dozen or so emails back and forth with Dell's stunningly clueless support consultants got me no closer to an answer to my basic question: "How do I get a copy of the version of Ubuntu 10.04 which Dell used to offer on a pre-installed basis which is compatible with this computer?"
To get a flavor for the surreal nature of this exchange, consider this excerpt from a Dell's fourth or fifth response to the basic question noted above:
"I understand from your e-mail, the system is not shutting down properly."
In theory Dell escalated my request for assistance; I was told I would be hearing back "in the next 5-7 business days" from their "senior technical team". I am still waiting for the call.
The only good news I can offer for Ubuntu Linux users is that the currently available standard version of Ubuntu Linux 11.04 (this is NOT a long term support version of the operating system) appears to install and run flawlessly on the Zino HD. As such, my new Zino HD computer is sitting unused in anticipation of the release of the next long term support version of Ubuntu (which won't be available until April 2012 at the earliest). The computer I purchased is, until then, unable to fulfill the need for which I bought it. The only good news is that it will still be under warranty when Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is released.
The real problem here isn't the machine itself; it's Dell's almost worse than non-existent excuse for support. I bought this computer directly from Dell and not through Amazon. This purchase process ended up being unbelievably painful. Consider the following: When I got my preliminary invoice after placing my order on line, I noticed the charges were broken out for the computer in such a way that there was separate identifiable charge of $20 for a remote. Since I had no need for a remote because I wasn't buying the computer for home entertainment purposes, I called Dell in an attempt to get the $20 item taken off my order. In the course of nearly an hour and a half, their international VOIP lines dropped me three times, I was misdirected on calling back another three times and I received a series of different explanations about how to modify my order to drop the remote and remove the $20 charge. All of these calls -- except for the last -- were disconnected before any definitive action could be taken. The last call was particularly interesting since this fellow said that the only way to modify the order that I had placed less than two hours earlier was to cancel it and then resubmit it (no one before had told me this). When I said I would be happy to do that to change the order, he came back at me and offered me a $100 discount not to change the order to remove the $20 item. While I took him up on this offer-- and Dell did honor their commitment to me to give me back $100-- you kind of have to wonder about a company that will pay you $100 to save $20.
"Chokes on iView"on by sholtomo
Pros Reasonable PC with good peripheral connectivity for the cheap price
Cons The zino stalls when video streaming from the www.abc.net.au/iview/ service ... this is a "very poor" performance, close to "pathetic". Even my android, Samsung Galaxy S, mobile has better performance for iView, and it runs over my home wireless. To cap i
Summary I'm going to upgrade the video chip, but because of this I would recommend that you don't go anywhere near the zino. Go for the apple !
Pros Will stream video and music pretty much flawlessly. Over wireless N.
Cons I have the top of line $749 version. I bought a seperate cordless keyboard and trackball. Hard to read the text from all the way across the room. Easier to make desktop shortcuts, still a problem when searching.
Summary I tried Mac mini and Logitech Revue (google TV) neither could stream hulu, xfinity or TV.com. After reading these reviews I bought the top end Zino and it works fine. It seems you need the discrete videocard to succeed in the video streaming, unless you have an i5 processor (that was the cheapest I found that could stream without a separate videocard. Dell laptop $899 at Bestbuy. The Blu-ray is just a bonus (my DVD collection has been converted to mp4). Suggest you dump the extras like McAfee and Office. Use Microsoft security essentials and Open Office if you really want an office program. The hard drive is plenty large for my collections and it has ample DVD and eSata ports. Used my image collection for a screen saver and it makes a nice art display in the living room too.
Pros Compact Form Factor
Low Power Consumption
Cons Runs Hot
India Based Dell Support
Bought from a third party - support/warranty issues
Summary I searched long and hard for an HTPC solution. My requirements were: low power consumption, blue-ray capable, HDMI out, small form factor, and the ability to handle HD streaming/Flash streaming without spiking the CPU usage.
As mentioned by other reviewers, the top power button is too sensitive and I have often bumped it by mistake. I actually love the lack of forward facing LED lights since I leave my Zino on 24/7 as a home media/mail server that I access via Remote Desktop.
Core Temp indicates temps of 56C at idle, 68C at moderate use, and peaks of 75C. This is WAY too hot. Granted, it is in a closed cabinet, but the cabinet is large and is vented. This unacceptable temperature level just lead to my recent problem: a dead hard drive. I have the 1TB Seagate drive and I'm certain the excessive heat caused it's early demise.
Replacing the dead drive myself was an urgent matter and I couldn't wait for Dell to fix the issue so I did it myself. Getting the drive out was relatively simple once I figured out which screws to unscrew. Unfortunately 2 of the screws were locked in place and had to be drilled out. I also had to break/detach the 2 wifi antennas which were oddly placed. I connect via Cat5 so I didn't really care if I destroyed the wifi capability.
Getting a replacement drive from Dell was a mixed bag. I did a live chat and it took the India based support tech 20(!) minutes to comprehend that the dead drive was on my desk on not still in the computer. I told him at least 5 times...and he just couldn't comprehend because he was following a script. Not all Indian based support is terrible, but Dell's live chat definitely is. Upon finally convincing him that the drive was on my desk, he only needed my shipping address and very quickly said that a new drive was on it's way. I simply needed to return the dead one within 10 days to avoid being billed for it. I seriously love this approach to hardware replacement.
While I was replacing the defective hard drive I noticed that the drive sat right above the heat sink tube and one of the internal heat sources (CPU or GPU). No wonder the hard drive had issues.
I have intermittent display issues on my Plasma TV. I have tried 3 different HDMI cables (cheap,mid,and expensive). None seem to help. I have vertical lines when the screen is black or dark. Disappointing for sure, but I'm not going to eat the $700 I paid for it or go without it for X days while Dell figures out the issue.
If you do buy this, I strongly recommend not using it in an enclosed environment like I do. I will now be cloning a 1TB drive with an image of the current install so that the next time the drive dies I will be able to get back up and running in minutes, not days/hours.
I purchased the Zino instead of a Shuttle XPC in part because I wouldn't have to do a confined space build and because I just didn't want to deal with putting it together. I also liked the lower power AMD CPU. Were I to do it over again I'd go the Shuttle XPC route so I could make sure there was adequate cooling and just use the Atom dual core.
Hope this info was helpful :)
Pros small size. quiet. cool top.
reviews about not having power light do not account for light on button. it's easy to see in my setup.
Cons wifi receiver is really poor. does not receive wifi within 15' of access point. have 4 other pcs in the house a lot farther away, different floors etc. this one cannot receive where my others will. forcing me to reconfigure my home network.
Summary the kicker is the 5 hours of wasted time on the phone with dell's india based techs who treat me like a 5 year old and once we did all the primary school stuff (reboot, reload drivers etc.) were basically just guessing. I wish I would have made a youtube video of the one dufus with remote connection to my screen, he kept going back to the same dialog boxes as if the second or third time the result would be different. I have bought dells for years for my family and company and I am going to try some other brands for a while. suggstions?