Review: HP Mini 1000

I’ve been playing with the HP Mini 1000 for 2 months already. I usually don’t have the luxury to review a unit for so long. This is just one of the exceptions and I’m enjoying it.
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The first thing that I notice about the HP Mini 1000 is the looks. The HP Mini 1000 got to be one of the best looking netbook around. The outer casing is covered with beautiful prints that makes the whole netbook looks like an expensive piece of device. The edges are curved to make it look thinner. But one drawback about the HP Mini 1000 looks is it’s glossiness, or rather, over glossiness. While the glossy finish makes the netbook look beautiful, it is also a huge fingerprint magnet.
The specification of the HP Mini 1000 is almost identical to most of the netbooks currently in the market. 10.2 inch screen (1024 x 600 pixel), 1.6GHz Intel Atom, 1GB RAM, 60GB (4,200rpm) running on Windows XP. Pretty normal specification for a netbook. The dimension is 26.16 x 16.66 x 2.513 cm and it weighs 1.08 kg. Pretty handy and lightweight. Comes with 2 USB slot, a well hidden ethernet port, a combo headphone/mic plug and a proprietary port for VGA.
The best thing about the HP Mini 1000 is the keyboard. I’ve tried several netbooks before and none of them come close to the HP Mini 1000’s keyboard. The 92% keyboard makes typing very easy and comfortable. It is so comfortable that you wouldn’t mind using it to type long emails or blog entries. In fact, I’ve written quite a number of blog entries using the HP Mini 1000. Love the keyboard.
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I had a great time playing with the HP Mini 1000 for the past 2 months. It’s super light weight allows me to carry it everywhere I go. Its a pity that there isn’t any built in 3G broadband. Given its size, it would be a perfect machine if there is build in 3G. Good thing is that it works perfectly with my 3G dongle. I tried surfing net while on MRT and the experience was great. And the HP Mini 1000 is an attention grabber. It never fails to attract a couple of envy stares from other patron at Starbucks whenever I’m using it. And all along I thought this sort of things only happens to MacBook users.
It took me a while to get used to the 10.2 inch screen. That’s because I’m being pampered with a 20 inch iMac at home and a 14.1 inch Thinkpad. The form factor is great. The HP Mini 1000 is small and handy that you can try holding it with one hand and typing with another. (Don’t expect to type fast on 1 hand). And after a while, I became the official movie ticket booker among my group of friends because the HP Mini 1000 is so handy. Here is a picture of me trying to book movie ticket while the rest camwhore around me.
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By the way, I discovered that Google Chrome is most suitable for netbook with such small screen. It has a simple interface and the taskbar only take up a small percentage of your screen, leaving you more space for the webpage. So if you got a netbook, why not try using chrome as your browser.
I love the keyboard a lot. (Oh, I’m repeating myself) It took me less than 2 days to get used to the 92% keyboard. If only the touchpad is just as good as the keyboard. I have no problem with the awkward positioning of the left and right button. But the button feels a little plasticky when clicked. Would prefer a more solid click.
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The curve edges of the HP Mini 1000 makes it look thinner. I love the curve edges but it make accessing the SD card reader impossible when the device is placed on the table. You need to lift up the device from the table in order to access the SD card. (Unless you have very small fingers) But since we don’t use the SD card frequently, this is not really an issue.
The HP Mini 1000 is currently selling at S$799.
In Short:
Stylish design, complete with a comfortable keyboard.
Likes:
Beautiful design with curved edges
Great keyboard
Windows XP
Dislikes:
Fingerprint magnet
Plasticky mouse click
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For more pictures, check out my first look at HP Mini 1000.
Many thanks to Binny, Melissa and Paul from Edelman and HP for passing me this HP mini 1000.

15 comments

  1. Xizor: Well, I’m not lying when I said it’s glossy.
    The glossy screen and casing really make the netbook look nice. But need to maintain it by constantly wiping the fingerprint off. πŸ˜€

  2. Hi DK,
    This is 2nd netbook which i shortlisted, ( well the other is s10)
    But what stopping me in getting a Mini 1000 is the absence of ethernet port. I went to a local store and checked, but i did not find any ethernet port. It is of 80GB (4200 RPM). Does this RPM matter ?? coz other netbooks offer 5400 RPM. Will there be any effect on performance??
    Regardign Ethernet port, i read in some websited, that it is hidden behind rubber slot on the front side. Have to go to the store and check out again.

  3. Sateesh: There is a Ethernet port. Its very well hidden by a rubber cap. A lot of people thought there isn’t a Ethernet port. Haha. I think its great that they hide the Ethernet port with the rubber cap. It makes the netbook looks beautiful when the Ethernet port is not in use.
    The harddisk is slower, but I didn’t notice any significant difference.
    You might want to check out my recent blog entry that compares the Lenovo S10 and HP mini 1000.
    http://blog.dk.sg/2009/03/12/hp-mini-1000-vs-lenovo-s10/

  4. Thanks for your relpy! I already read that post.
    Am planning to buy it today ,mostly HP mini.
    Your posts really helped me a lot.

  5. I am from India. I was a software Engineer in Wipro Technologies. But now I am between jobs. I think you are from singapore !! aren’t you?
    And what do you do?

  6. I truly wish hp will quickly produce a HP Mini with 11″ or even better 11.2″ display asap without increasing the overall dimensions of the set; so that it will be easier for me to use Excel 2007 with its ‘thick ribbon’ and toolbar; I am a heavy Excel user.
    I believe the battery life of Mini 1000 now is also a concern (2-3 hours?); probably you can’t even find a 6-cell battery or, if available later, it will make your set look less attractive or less handy. It’s also good that HP Mini should have solid state drive having a capacity of 80G-120G, the current 4200rpm HDD might be too slow if you run a large and complex Excel file.

  7. By the way, I also wonder whether HP Mini is going to adopt N280 Intel Atom processor with the GN40 chipset. I hope it will and quite soon. On the other hand, probably our budget should also increase to about SGD1000 with all the improvements I mentioned here and in my earlier message.

  8. Harry: I think what you need is a normal laptop. The idea of a netbook is small screen, low power processor meant for the cloud. If you are a heavy Excel user, a normal laptop will be more suitable for you. πŸ™‚

  9. dk, your points understood but previously I used pentium M laptop at 1.6GHz processor, XP os, and ran Excel quite well. Don’t look down on netbook. I think the Intel Atom N280 should be better than Pentium M, especially if it has 2GB 667MHz DDR3 ram and GN40 chipset. That’s the beauty of advancement in technology.
    About display, my view is that whether laptop or netbook, good efficient design should give the biggest screen size possible given a certain dimensions of the set. No one chooses small screen for the sake of its small size. That’s why HP developed Mini 1000 and 2140 after 2133. Unfortunately, they didn’t do it all the way, there is still room in both 1000 and 2140 to increase its screen size both vertically and sideway (without increasing the size of the set).
    For netbooks, there is another factor which I feel important; that’s the thickness of the set. The slimmer it is the merrier. It affects the comfortability and convenience in keeping the set in our briefcases/document cases and carrying it around. In this respect, Mini 1000 is indeed better.
    I really wish we could directly communicate with the designers of HP. Their products are in fact quite close to being “perfect”.

  10. Hi dk, yes. that’s definitely the case. We can’t just milk the cow without feeding it. But I think it shouldn’t be much more expensive; perhaps $50 more??? The bigger concern shoud be its effect on battery life; my understanding is that bigger screens will consume more power.
    At the moment, only 3 cell battery is provided and usage time is already less than impressive. I heard that 6-cell battery in the market will make it look bulkier and weird. I really hope HP will get it all right once and for all the next time round.

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