HP's first netbook, the 2133 Mini-note, was a favorite of reviewers because of its attractive aluminum design and great keyboard. So it's no surprise the follow-on, the Mini 1000, which HP announced earlier today, received extensive reviews coverage.
As expected, the Mini 1000 line ends HP's brief experiment with Via processors. HP is back in the Intel fold with the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, the same chip found in most name-brand netbooks such as the Asus Eee PC, Acer Aspire One and Lenovo IdeaPad S10.
The Windows XP configurations include the choice of 8.9- or 10.2-inch LED -backlit displays, an 8- or 16GB SSD or standard hard drive and, starting sometime in December, integrated 3G wireless broadband. The standard black version starts at $399 and is available now. A special Vivienne Tam Edition with a bright red case and the 10.2-inch display will be available in mid-December for $699. Next year HP also plans to sell a Linux version with its own Mobile Internet Experience (MIE) interface starting at $379.
Like Dell with its Inspiron Mini 12 "Internet companion," HP is going out of its way to make sure customers know its netbook is no substitute for a full-fledged notebook. From the press release: "Mini PCs are geared toward information 'snacking' and content enjoyment, versus the rich content-creation capabilities found in fully functional notebook PCs. They are a complement to HP's award-winning families of notebook and desktop PCs."
All of the reviews are based on a $550 configuration with a 10.2-inch display, 1GB of memory and a 60GB hard drive. Overall they liked what they saw. The Mini 1000 has the same great keyboard as its predecessor, the Intel platform delivers better performance, and the plastic case is thinner and lighter. But it's not a slam dunk. The Mini 1000 actually lacks a couple of features found in the original including a full 1,280x768 display and ExpressCard slot. The 4,200rpm drive is also a bit sluggish--competitors such as the Samsung NC10 and Lenovo S10 offer 5,400rpm drives in $500 configurations--and the three-cell battery falls short of three hours (Lenovo will soon offer an optional six-cell battery). Finally the small touchpad and left/right buttons take some getting used to, and to keep the size down, HP went with proprietary connectors for VGA-out and its "HP Mini Mobile Drive" slot, a recessed USB port.
HP's Mini is still one of the top netbooks, but the field has become much more crowded and there are now several players that offer similar features and performance for about the same price.
Read the reviews of the HP Mini 1000:
- ZDNet (review roundup)
- CNET.com (4 out of 5)
- Computer Shopper (8.4 out of 10)
- Laptop Magazine (4.5 out of 5)
- PC Magazine (4.5 out of 5)
- PC World (Not rated)
Plus some hands-on coverage: