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#2: HP Mini 110-3130NR 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black)

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172 of 173 people found the following review helpful: 4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Comfortable, Exceptional Life and Nicely Priced, but Found Lacking in Spots, November 16, 2010 This review is from: HP Mini 110-3130NR 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) (Personal Computers) I picked up the HP Mini at a local electronics retailer several weeks back, and thus far I’ve been quite pleased with this little machine for what it is and how much it cost. In most aspects, this netbook isn’t unlike the slew of other netbooks swarming the market, like sharks in a frenzy (and you’re the chum). I also can’t say much for the style of this model, other than for its overall simplicity. Of course, it’s slim and light weight, and it performs much like any other netbook, but where it really shines is in the comfort, power and price departments.

===== Comfort =====

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time writing on it, this is certainly one of the most comfortable netbooks around, for exactly that purpose. If style is important to you though, I would recommend checking out a similar model from HP’s Mini 210 series (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00400OSSG?tag=a52-20&ie=UTF8) which sports nearly the same specs as this model, but with a faster hard drive, and a sleek and stylish silver tone.

===== Performance =====

This HP Mini doesn’t exactly scream, but it certainly has some potential when it comes to performance, if equipped properly. It sports an Intel Atom N455 processor, while most competitively priced netbooks are still using the older Atom N450 processor, but what does that mean for you? Support for faster memory. The Atom N455 is the first of the Atom line of processors to be compatible with DDR3 memory chips, potentially bringing double the memory speeds to HP’s line of netbooks, had HP decided to indeed use DDR3.

The primary benefit of DDR3 memory is the ability to transfer at twice the data rate of DDR2. Another fantastic benefit of DDR3 memory, especially for us netbook and notebook users, is energy efficiency. Unfortunately, however, this particular model has only been equipped with DDR2 memory out of the box, so if you want that blazing memory speed, you’ll have to upgrade the machine yourself or look to another model that comes equipped with DDR3 memory out of the box.

The improved processor isn’t a be-all end-all for processing performance on a netbook though. The processor is still a single-core CPU, so multi-tasking capabilities will be limited, though the processor does support hyperthreading, which means you can run a couple apps at the same time and make due just fine. However, processors are hardly the bottleneck in performance these days.

The most important aspect of performance today is typically the hard drive, and this netbook uses a 5400 RPM hard drive, which is quite slow. In fact, it’s the slowest type of hard drive you can get now, though it does benefit you a little in the energy efficiency department. Another hit on performance comes from the shared video/graphics memory (up to 256 MB), effectively cutting your 1GB of RAM down to 768MB of RAM. Yet another reason to keep your multi-tasking limited as much as possible.

===== Power =====

Battery life tends to run a little shorter than the advertised 9.5 hour duration. With normal usage and WiFi enabled, you can expect to get somewhere between 7-8 hours of usage. This is still pretty decent, especially for netbooks, where 5 hours is often the average battery life for so many of them. Turning off WiFi when you’re not surfing the Web or aren’t near a hotspot will certainly help push the battery to its maximum life span though.

===== Media =====

I have run into a couple minor issues with content playback, particularly with YouTube HD videos, which can get a little choppy, especially in FireFox. Google Chrome seems to handle them a bit better though. Windows Media Player also likes to choke, so I avoid it whenever possible. QuickTime also encountered some issues, but not as much as Windows Media Player. If you’re not running any other apps or utilities in the background, you’ll likely have better luck than if you’re trying to multitask, or even if you leave your browser running while watching a non-web video. With everything else closed, you can certainly watch a full movie just fine. If you still run into any issues, simply rebooting will likely fix them, but otherwise you should be just fine.

I will say that the 9:16 ratio widescreen 10.1″ display is great for watching widescreen movies on the go, with one very important exception: you must either have a digital copy of your movie, or you’ll need an external DVD drive. I recommend this Samsung model (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C1BBU8?tag=a52-20&ie=UTF8), which sports a sexy look, on par with the HP Mini’s own appeal, without sacrificing functionality.

===== Value =====

For what you get with this netbook though, I must admit the price is pretty much spot on for value. Having browsed all the black friday ads that have leaked out thus far, including all the electronics retailers, I can confidently say that you won’t find such a decent netbook for the price this holiday season. You can take that to the bank.

===== Praise =====

* Keyboard design – nearly full-size makes typing incredibly comfortable and easy.
* Wireless N support for faster and farther-reaching WiFi reception.
* Battery life – 9 hours is top of the line for netbooks.
* 9:16 ratio display – great for movies (see above for DVD solution).
* Windows 7 – optimized for netbook performance.

===== Dissapointments =====

* 1024 x 600 display resolution – would prefer at least 1280 x 768 at a minimum.
* DDR2 memory used when DDR3 memory is compatible.
* 5400 RPM hard drive – would have liked a faster Solid State Disk (even if smaller), or at least a 7200 RPM disk.

===== Bottom Line =====

While not the most stylish netbook around, if you need it primarily for writing or note taking purposes, the HP Mini should certainly fit the bill. If you desire something with a little more juice, especially for media playback, you might want to look for something with DDR3 memory, or get this model and upgrade it with a 2GB DDR3 memory chip.

I hope you’ve found this review to be helpful in some way! 🙂

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased., November 11, 2010 This review is from: HP Mini 110-3130NR 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) (Personal Computers) Purchased this laptop from a retail computer shop a little while ago and have had a few weeks to play with it.

Overall, I feel that this is a solid product. I purchased this when my Dell Mini 9, (now discontinued) bit the dust, and overall feel that this newer netbook model is a vast improvement. As I am a college student who uses this product primarily for taking notes in class, I must say that the keyboard is ideal, and I have no problem keeping up with the lecture almost word-for-word. This is a large improvement over my previous netbook, which had a very congested keyboard along with keys swapped from their normal positions. The trackpad and mouse keys are pretty stellar also, although I must admit the pad itself could stand be a little larger, this is not a deal-breaker however. Bundled Windows 7 software seemed to work adequately well, however I did get rid of the massive amount of bloatware that comes with any piece of HP hardware. Soon after purchasing, I installed Macintosh OS X, which I greatly prefer.

Only caveat I can think of is the power-switch located on the side of the device can be tricky sometimes for people that are avid nail-biters, (like myself). A power-button would have been preferred, but it’s not the end of the world.

One thing of note is that this page says that the RAM limit is 1GB, however this is not true. I was able to swap out my old 2GB DDR2 stick from my bricked Mini 9 and it was immediately recognized and functioned properly. Installation was fairly painless, although HP is very stingy on instructions on how to do it. If you are tech-savvy whatsoever it will not be an obstacle.

Happily recommended!

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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars Very good machine, but…, November 8, 2010 This review is from: HP Mini 110-3130NR 10.1-Inch Netbook (Black) (Personal Computers) The HP Mini is a good netbook – great keyboard, fine machine, great battery run time. However, there are some cons:

– The position of the USB connections does not allow me to connect a trackball mouse to the keyboard lateral part.
– The QuickSync software they advertise about only works if the “master” PC with which you want to sync runs also on Windows 7! I found no information about this detail before on the website.
– The netbook does not come with Microsoft Outlook! It has a started version of Word and Excel only and you have to buy whatever else you need, including a full version of Windows 7! A rip off!
– The upper part or cover part of the netbook does not have a handle to enable you to hold to while opening up. It is rather difficult to open it.
– The two keys on the netbook mouse are not elevated enough and too thin. Sometimes it is difficult to reach properly, in constrast with the wonderful keys of the keyboard, the perfect size for my fingers.
– The screen came with a little flaw right underneath the webcam.

These are important items to me when buying a netbook and were not aware of them. For that I took 2 stars off the product.

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