Rumors of the death of the Netbook may have grossly been overstated. At least the folks at HP seem to think so. Generally, I’m not a big fan of Netbooks, they don’t fit into my computing lifestyle and I find the screens to be too small and generally the processor underpowered. HP sent me an HP Mini 210 to play with that features the latest generation Intel Atom chipset and I’m sort of impressed. The design is sleek, I love the nearly 10-hour battery life and it has a cool little instant start feature that boots up into an HP’s Quick Web that lets you start surfing the web right away.
I love the design of the hardware it’s small sleek looking, but it’s not as thin as I would expect a Netbook to be and feels a little “heavy” in my bag due to the solid build quality. It seems like I could drop kick this Netbook into a wall and it’ll still keep on going.
This unit uses an Intel Atom 1.8 processor. It’s painfully slow and takes awhile to launch applications and worst of all after only a few minutes of power it starts to run hot. For what it’s worth has a Windows Starter Experience rating of 2.7, which means it’s average. The 10.1 inch WSVGA LED BrightView Infinity Widescreen Display (1024 x 600) is crystal clear and video looks very crisp on it. It played several test videos without any problems with nice picture quality. The screen did have a bit of a glare on it.
The Mini 210 is one of the quietest Netbooks that I’ve ever tested, it’s as if it’s not even turned on. It’s sad when a $300 Netbook has more ports than my $1,500 Macbook! But this one comes packed with 3 USB Ports, Ethernet, and an SD Card Slot but no DVD Rom drive.
Colors are our friend; the Mini 210 comes in several different colors including White, Blue, Red, and Silver. The Netbook comes with a built in Web Cam and some decent speakers.
The battery is ridiculously oversized and heavy for this machine. It claims to achieve 10 hours of battery power. In my limited testing it went over 3 hours pretty easily while doing a simple video rundown test on Lord of the Rings. At the end of the movie it still had about 75 percent of power left.
I love this keyboard. It uses chicklit keys and typing on it feels natural. The trackpad takes a lot to get used to. It uses touch gestures so you can pinch/zoom, use two finger scrolling and more. Because Windows runs so slow on this machine there were times when I wasn’t sure if it was responding to my touch or not when I tapped to open programs.
I love the idea of QuickWeb. When you power on the Mini 210 it immediately goes into QuickWeb view this let’s you do the things you would do with a Netbook – Instant Web Access via it’s custom browser, you can check your photos, listen to music, instant message, use or use Skype. QuickWeb is completely separate from Window so it’s almost Instant On and there’s no boot time involved. If you feel you must go into Windows 7 Starter, you can click a button to do that or configure the machine to bypass QuickWeb.
I don’t know, I love the idea of Netbooks, but I feel like if I’m going to carry a computer around then I’ll just go with a full-featured 13-inch lightweight machine as opposed to something that has a very small screen and a gimped operating system like Windows 7 Starter. As far as Netbooks go the Mini 210 does it’s job fairly well and think it’s a solid Netbook choice.
Final Grade B-
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 09.12.2010