Vodafone's $1679 netbook

Just kidding — Vodafone is offering a free Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook for users who sign up to the company's $69.96, 5GB broadband plan. It's a convenient bundle for anyone who wants to get a new, basic laptop, as well as the convenience of a mobile broadband connection. It's also about time the telcos got onboard the netbook wagon, because they really are the most convenient devices for checking e-mail and uploading content while you are on the road; and so far, the Dell Mini 9 in Vodafone's bundle is the only netbook on offer such have a built-in 3G facility.

In the past, some vendors have mentioned that their netbooks would ship with a built-in 3G module, but they have not been able to implement it due to regulatory delays or a lack of deals with the telcos. This is still a set-back for the netbook community, as an integrated 3G facility that works with your favoured provider, in your favourite netbook, would make it so much more worthwhile. The Aspire One and MSI Wind are two examples of netbooks with room for 3G modules, and it's a shame that Optus and Vodafone, for example, haven't started offering them as part of a bundled solution, too.

You can plug in a USB dongle on any netbook you want, in order to give yourself mobile broadband access, but why should you have to carry around and plug in a separate device when you could just have a tiny, unseen SIM card doing the same job? After all, the premise of the netbook is that it is an inexpensive, very small and light, and easy to carry laptop. A USB dongle makes it a little more cumbersome.

Netbooks with an ExpressCard slot, such as HP's Mini-Note and Lenovo's S10, are a better option if you want mobile broadband, but don't want a protruding modem; and a plan with an ExpressCard modem is cheaper than what you will pay for the Mini 9 plan — as long as you already own the netbook. But still, if you don't already own a netbook, it's worth doing the sums: Vodafone's own 5GB, 24 month plan with a free ExpressCard costs only $39.95 per month, which is $20 cheaper than the netbook bundle. Over the course of 24 months, that $20 saves you $480, which isn't enough to buy you a netbook with an ExpressCard slot. So the extra money you pay for the Dell over the course of the 24 months does seem worth it if you want a netbook with built-in 3G.

With Vodafone's deal, there is hope that more netbooks will get picked up by the telcos and offered as part of a bundle. It would definitely be worth it.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Elias Plastiras
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?