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.
HP is changing it’s public image, they want to move away from being known as a maker of staid, boring laptops to creating the new hotness that laptop buyers are looking for. In May the company updated their entire laptop design to be leaner, meaner, sleeker and affordable. Last week they sent me one of their newly designed Pavilion lappies and I have to say, on first blush the machine is impressive and comes at a very reasonable price. The configuration they sent for testing retails for under $800 and features a hefty AMD Quad Core Processor.
I’m one of the people AMD is targeting with their new marketing message of “What can a laptop do vs. the Specs.” I’m through with the processor race, who can tell the benefits of one of Intel’s many chips Vs. AMD? All I want to know is can the PC Laptop I buy handle video production, be thin, light, have a large hard drive and do more than 4 hours battery powered of computing. In my initial testing the new HP DV6 is more than capable of meeting my needs, although it fails in two critical areas – pitiful Hard Drive size (320) and battery life (under 3 1/2 hours). This of course is the stock model, you can configure it just about however you want for an additional cost. “It is designed for families and students. Someone who wants performance and capabilities, we’re able to give you a nice quad core processor. AMD keeps on working on improving their processors; they have better power management and enabled us to put multi-core processors into mainstream notebooks” said Kevin Wentzel, HP Product Manager.
Anyone who knows me is aware how conflicted I am over the whole PC vs. Mac thing. Ok, I hate Apple and like Vista. I know it’s not cool or popular to say that, but Vista works fine for me. I bought into the peer pressure and went ahead and purchased a Mac. The problem with going back and forth between different computers is I always have to remember to move files from one computer to the next. That’s where having a centralized home server would appeal to someone like me. I never tried setting one up in the past because I always thought it’d be too involved. The folks at HP have simplified this process with their new line of “HP MediaSmart Servers.” The model I tested was the LX195 and has 640 Gigs of room to play with.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get the whole Netbook thing but after spending a week with the HP’s sexy little Mini 1000, I understand just a bit more. It still not for me but there is a certain appeal to the idea of having an almost full-featured computer for $299. The first thing that I noted right away was how beautiful the slick 10.2 screen is and you have to like the fact that it weighs 2.4 lbs. It’s bright, beautiful and had no noticeable background glare, the machine is whisper quiet, something I now take note off after my crappy Dell started to sound like a Jet engine two days after I got it – my next lappy will almost certainly be an HP. HP’s build quality has been superb in the last few years.
Continue reading NETBOOK REVIEW: HP Mini 1000 Almost Convince Michelle Netbooks are Cool!
HP used to be a company that made stodgy computers that only your 60 year old father would like – if he knew how to use it. In the last year they have really gotten their act together on the design front and are coming out with some pretty slick hardware these days. Leading the pack is their innovative all in one Touchsmart PCs, which takes aim directly at Apple’s popular iMac line, adding slick touch-screen functionality in the process. I’ll start by saying, that I’m not a fan of touch screen anything. I think the iPhone’s interface is really slick, but I hate the fact that you always have to take it out of your pocket and watch what you are doing whenever you use it. I also hate the idea of getting fingerprints all over your beautiful iPhone screen and frankly every touch screen device I’ve ever owned eventually has calibration issues. So for all of these reasons I wasn’t sold on the idea of bringing this technology to a desktop computer.
Multimedia, Browsing and Touching
To reiterate the beautiful screen point, HP sent me a 22.5 inch HP TouchSmart IQ506 to review. The minute you turn it on, you are in for a treat. This 1680 by 1050 pixel screen is absolutely stunning. The viewing angle is fully adjustable with no glare or mirror effect at all. Why would you want to mess this up getting finger prints all over it? I’ll tell you why, HP has strung together a really nice touch screen interface that lets you control all of the machine’s multimedia media with the touch of a finger. There’s a little home icon that when pressed brings up a unique, some pieces of which were taken straight from apple. You can view your entire music catalog in using a cover flow style interface. You just scroll your finger across all your album covers to select what you want. It’s a blatant rip-off of Apple. But it works brilliantly and is fast. The HP Home Screen contains all of your apps including a customized Browser that needs a lot of work, I.E., a Video Player, Photo Viewer, Games, Digital Clock and other dockable items. You can set the screen so that you have three main apps on top and a scroll bar at the bottom. The onscreen keyboard works pretty well with the custom Notes app.