The HP Mini 1000 | HP Steps Up

HP mini 1000

The HP Mini 1000 isn’t the first mini laptop produced by Hewlett-Packard, having aired the HP 2133 Mini-Note last year. It was a pretty credible effort – standing out from the crowd of Eee PC copycats. The Mini-Note was in essence a fantastic chassis, although let down somewhat by what was inside; the CPU and battery.

Is it Right This Time?

For a start, HP have shred away the aluminium, replacing it with plastic; disappointing maybe, but it may help take the sting out of the price tag, and incidentally the previously bulky weight which is supposedly nearer 1.1 kilos.

In the end this makes sense, since a netbook is supposedly small, light and cheap – if you want a touch of class mixed in as well, you’ll be paying for it – the Sony VAIO P Series for an example, is upwards of twice the price of the HP Mini 1000.

HP Mini 1000 - Less than an inch thick.

The HP Mini 1000 is just over an inch thick.

HP has also cut the dimensions of the Mini 1000, making it barely over an inch thick. The huge keyboard remains, stretching all the way to the edges and far down the main tray. Why other netbook manufacturers don't follow suit here and maximise the size of the keyboard in the space available is beyond us.

As a result of the wider and taller keyboard, the touchpad is a little narrow and the mouse buttons are located on the side of it which can be very irritating (although you would probably get used to it). The smaller pad also hinders scrolling webpages somewhat.

If you are a word-smith and you are going to be typing on the HP a lot then the keyboards remains the best out there – so far anyway.

The final negative about the Mini 1000 is the lack of USB ports and strange decision to only have a single shared audio input/output port which could be restrictive if you want a headphone and mic at the same time, not unreasonable if you would have to use it in noisy environments.

HP Mini 1000 keyboard

HP Mini 1000: The 92% full size keyboard makes full use of the area available. Note the relatively thin touchpad and mousebuttons on the side.

The eviction of the former slow Via C7-M processor can only be a good thing. The replacement industry standard 1.6GHz Intel Atom (with 1GB of RAM) brings the performance on par with other mini laptops. Performance, whilst now improved isn’t the top selling point on the HP though, think keyboard and wide-screen.

Speaking of the widescreen, it is 10.1 inch in a ‘media-friendly’ 16:9 aspect ratio and of good quaility. It's a glossy finish and while fine in shaded conditions it can be a bit reflective if your outside or the near a window.

The Vivienne Tam Edition

The Mini 1000 was released in mid-February 2009, and preceded a month earlier by the Vivienne Tam Edition Mini 1000 which features an attractive flower like motif in a rich red (deep pink) colour.

Apparently it was designed for so called ‘fashionistas’ who don’t want to be perceived as a geek as they whip out their netbook. Of course you can expect to pay a premium for the privilege of owning one. The Vivienne Tam Edition retails at the same price as the original Mini 1000.

HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition

HP seem to have cracked the netbook specs then – small, cheap (possibly), light and connected but it’s a pity about only having 2 USB ports and one port for both sound input and output though.

They have however, included a “HP Mini Mobile Drive” – which essentially is a USB port for special HP USB memory sticks only – really helpful.

Conclusion.

With the Mini 1000, HP have certainly mounted a credible challenge to Asus and and many of the other 10 inch netbooks on the market at this time, bringing the performance up to standard netbook expectations with the Atom processor and it’s strengths being the keyboard and looks.

The thinness is a great selling point but battery life remains at the mercy of the 3-cell battery, which will provide power for around 2 hours 30 minutes use, enough for a film perhaps but not up to what a netbook should have. Apparently a 6-cell version is in the pipeline – so perfection in an HP mini notebook may be near!


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