With many users claiming portability and size as one of their biggest consideration factors when purchasing a new PC, I was set to determine if one of the new HP Mini 210 Series netbooks could be a good replacement for the traditional laptop while on the go.
The HP Mini is a 10″ screen with a slim design that claims to pack a powerful punch…but can it really be considered a weapon in your computer arsenal?
Hardware: The HP Mini 210 has a 10.1″ screen with a 1366×768 looks beautiful due to the flush bezel design and the extra HD pixels threw in the display.? I did prefer this design with this flush black bezel background and the glossy display over some other matted finishes from other netbooks.? The viewing angle on this screen is great vertically as the display hinges can stretch pretty far, but is a horizontal viewing nightmare.? I’ve never been a believer that people are going to gather around a netbook to watch something, so who really cares about the horizontal view.? The glossy display does make it similar to laptops with the same finish when it comes to taking the screen outside.? It can be difficult to view in direct sunlight so if you’re someone who will use this outside, I suggest you find something with a matted finish.
The 10.55 in (L) x 7.51 in (W) x 0.9 (H) of the laptop is incredibly light, weighing in at a 3.1lbs.? Don’t expect a bicep workout from this beast as its made with very light material that held up well in a traditional book bag with books or other materials.? I consider this a huge plus for people who are looking to take this on the go with their work readings or for college students who have some text books and notepads shoveled in together with this machine.? Durability is a key factor to consider when it comes to portable devices; if you have to constantly worry about it, its not worth it.
The HP is shipped with an Intel Atom 455 1.66GHz processor as well as 1 GB of RAM and a 160/250 GB hard drive depending on your configuration.? The 6 cell battery also has a claimed life of 10+ hrs which I will get into further in the review.
Design: HP did a nice job living up to their engineering name with this build.? As stated in previous reviews, HP is known for a good engineering design underneath the hood, to block out heat from contact with the user, as well as having creative placement of traditional user functions.? It took me a second to figure out the netbook did not have a traditional on/off button, rather a slider on the side to power the machine on.
The Mini is equip with a webcam and connections for a VGA monitor out (old) and 3 USB ports.? The lack of the optical drive may come as a surprise, but who is still using those!? If you’re using an optical drive still, you most likely will not want a small 10.1″ screen to view it on anyway.? For a computer that claims to boast true ability for 720p and 1080p HD content, I would prefer to see an HDMI out connection (at least a DVI) rather than an old VGA port.
The touch pad and keyboard were a plus on this machine.? This was the first netbook that I used that had a multi-touch track pad and a keyboard that was still fun and fast to type on.? The 93% full size keyboard did not feel too scrunched and I was comfortable resting my wrists below it without accidentally bumping or rubbing the track pad which would move the cursor like I have seen on some other compact PC’s.? While the multi-touch accelerator was slow and choppy, it’s a step in the right direction.? It is not smooth on the screen, nor in accurately always sensing that two fingers were being used to enlarge the display, I like that HP has started support for those features.
Battery Performance: I hate sitting plugged into the wall with a laptop; what separates that computer from a desktop!? HP’s battery life on this machine was great.? While I think with such a low power consumption, they should be able to create an all day type of battery, I had no problem sitting unplugged for over 5-6 hours while surfing the web, watching YouTube videos and playing games on the machine without having to feel like I had to watch the battery.? The 6 cell does flush with the PC so it will not cause an awkward bulge or raised feel if used to sit on your lap and type.
Software and Computer Performance: I will not bore you with the benchmarks, but this sat right in the middle of the pack for netbooks out today which is still good.? I think the technology will be obsolete completely within 6 months, especially with the emergence of the new dual core Atom processors, but it is still a cheap buy for college students or home users who really want a small machine that can due simple tasks.
I felt the hardware was somewhat capable in multi-tasking with opening multiple Internet Explorer windows, having Office open in the background and still be able to perform small tasks without a huge lag.? This is perfect for web surfers, Facebook checkers and email readers…but not for anything more.? Photo editing and extreme data processing should be kept on a traditional PC or high end laptop.
The laptop has a boot menu before your Windows boot that lets you use a lot of the multi-media functions of the PC without having to be in Windows 7.? Cool stuff to some, but for me it was impractical…I just want to see my desktop right away when I boot up.
The wireless N performed great and I never experienced any dropped connection or heat build up when I was watching or streaming videos from an online source.
Conclusion: Initially, I was going to give this a mediocre rating on the buy scale because I did not think it had the full capability to be a daily replacement with the way it lagged on some of the multitasking I threw at it.? I think it is perfect though for the daily computer you can take with you and not have to worry about damaging it or having it get some scratches on.? The price point for this machine is affordable and is a good central PC to have around especially for novice users who really don’t need anything more than a browser and internet connection.
If you’re a computer fiend who needs to have a good powerful punch that can take a ton of simple tasks at once and still switch between windows without a blink, I think you should look at a newer model that features a bit more hardware.
Check out the product here on HP’s page!