The HP Mini 2133
was one of the most stylish not-quite-netbooks we saw last year. It was one of the few that looked like a real notebook, but at the time we bemoaned the inclusion of Vista. So it’s pleasing to note that the new Mini includes XP Home as the installed operating system.
|The HP Mini 1001TU - the price is steep for the performance and feature combination, but it looks the goods.|
Microsoft’s XP licensing deal means that as a result the RAM in the Mini 1001TU is reduced to 1GB, rather than the 2133’s 2GB, but XP with 1GB performs better than Vista with 2GB, as our recent RAM performance tests show
While we benchmark all the netbooks and notebooks that come through our labs, we’ve found such amazing consistency for the Atom N270 processor that it’s hardly worth mentioning the performance results. 0.41 is right in line with all the other netbooks we’ve seen bearing this processor – The Eee PC 901 scored .39, for example -- and it’s not in performance that the Mini-note stands out.Design
Instead, it’s style and usability where HP has focused its efforts. The lid has a silver spiraling pattern across the piano black surface [see photo gallery], making it the most attractive netbook we’ve seen. Keyboard
The Mini-note 2133 had a beautifully stylish silver keyboard, and the only way in which the 1000 is inferior is in colour – the keys are matt black rather than lush silver, which looks cheaper, but comfort doesn’t come with a silver finish and this keyboard is as intuitive, spacious and easy to use as the 2133.
Not only that, but it’s 90% the size of a full sized keyboard, with full-sized keys and there are no odd key placements to throw your usual typing rhythm off-kilter.Trackpad
The trackpad, as with the Acer Aspire One
, features the left and right click buttons on either side. Here though, the HP starts to show its class – not only is the trackpad itself larger, but the buttons are more than twice the size, and considerably less stiff to use. On the Aspire One, navigating was most easily managed with two hands, but the HP makes it comfortable to use one-handed. The trackpad also includes a scroll function.Screen
The screen is an impressive 1024x600 widescreen, with good contrast through shades of grey and detail, and excellent clarity. It compares favourably with the high end DV7, HP’s 17in entertainment notebook screen, and performed exceptionally in our tests. Extras
The Mini also comes with a few additional features that don’t go astray on a netbook: webcamera, two USB ports, an SD/MMC card reader, 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth.Battery not so great
With the good points out of the way, we can address the less fabulous aspects.
First of those is the battery life – the Mini 1001TU managed 2hrs 13mins for our intensive use battery test, which features a slew of applications pushing the netbook to its limits.
On light use, where the laptop does not much more than look pretty with its screen at half-brightness, it managed less than an hour more, hitting 3hrs and 1 minute.
It’s as expected for a 3-cell battery on a laptop with this configuration, but the battery’s placement on the base of the unit means it’s unlikely you can upgrade to a 4- or 6-cell version.Price
Additionally, the price is steep for the performance and feature combination – you can get the Eee PC 1000H
for around $100 less, with a larger4 hard drive and draft-n wireless to boot. Not only that, but the 1000H has considerably more battery life – from 4-6 hours in our tests, compared to the 2-3 hours for the Mini 1001TU.
Given that the Eee PC 1000H
is the one of the more expensive netbooks, the Mini 1001TU looks a bit lightweight in specs in comparison. That doesn’t take away from its selling point: the usability is fantastic, and the design makes this one netbook you’ll be happy to show off. We’re only too happy to recommend it, but it might be a bit much for your wallet.