Netbooks are fairly new to the market. It was only a year ago that the first ones became available, and since then they have grown in popularity. They became very popular very quickly because of their small size and small price tag. Not being one to be left out, HP has also come out with their own Netbook — the HP Mini 1000.
- Genuine Windows XP Home
- Intel Atom processor N270
- Optional edge-to-edge display
- Integrated webcam & microphone
- 92% full size keyboard
Many Netbooks run Linux only which is great because Netbooks are designed for surfing the web and checking email. The HP Mini 1000 not only has Linux, but it can also be configured to run Windows XP Home in case you are more comfortable with that OS.
The Intel Atom processor is an extremely low power processor. This really helps to improve battery life, but with low power comes low performance.
The edge-to-edge screen on the HP Mini 1000 is a bit misleading. When I first read this I thought the LCD screen would cover the entire inside of the lid; however, it is actually a piece of plastic that HP puts in front of the LCD screen that goes edge-to-edge. The plastic acts like a protector for the LCD screen, but it also is very reflective.
The integrated webcam and microphone are great for video conferencing while on the road.
The keyboard on the HP Mini 1000 may not be full size, but at 92% it is pretty darn close. Most of the buttons can be found in the normal locations, so it is not too difficult to type.
The HP Mini 1000 comes with restore disks. Not just the standard restore disks that put it back to factory settings, but an actual Windows XP SP3 install disk with a separate disk with drivers and apps. So, it is possible to install just the OS if you just want a clean install, and then add Drivers and Apps from the other disk as you see fit. When you use the Driver and Apps disk it has a nice menu that lets you choose which apps and drivers you want to install.
The small size of Netbooks is partly why they are so popular, and the HP Mini 1000 is very small. The small size of the Netbook also limits the options that it can have. I am reviewing the 10.1″ HP Mini 1000 so everything I describe below is only for this model. The dimensions of the HP Mini 1000 is 10.3″ (L) x 6.56″ (W) x 0.99″ (H) and it only weighs 2.5 lbs.
On the right side of the HP Mini 1000, starting in the front, there is an SD card slot, a USB port, and an expansion slot for the HP Mini Mobile Drive. There is quite a bit of space between the USB port and the expansion slot, it would be nice if HP could fit a couple more USB ports in the space.
On the left side of the HP Mini 1000, again starting in the front, there is an Ethernet port (covered up with a rubber plug), Headphone / Microphone jack, Video out, USB port, and the power plug. The video out is unique because it is not a standard VGA plug. Instead HP uses a new plug that is smaller and with the help of an adapter it is compatible with VGA. Not using a big VGA plug helps reduce the size of the Mini 1000.
There is only one USB plug on each side. If you have a device that requires two USB plugs, you will have to get an extension cable and stretch it around to the other side. There is space on the right side of the HP Mini 1000 for one or two more USB ports, I wish that space had been used better. Fortunately for me, the External DVD drive I purchased for this Netbook works great with just one USB plug.
The front of the HP Mini 1000 Netbook has only two switches and two small lights. The two switches are for power and wireless. The two lights are for hard drive activity and power. I had a problem with the two switches on the front. Both the power and Wi-Fi switch are designed exactly the same. They are flat with a little bump where a light is. The problem is that they are small and slick and I could not get a good grip to turn them on or off. I finally ended up using my fingernail in order to get them to move.
On the bottom you have the battery and the memory compartment. At first it is not very obvious how to get the memory compartment to open; however, once you find it, it is not hard to do. Under one of the battery release switches is a small switch that when pulled will open the memory compartment. I would also like to see a compartment for upgrading the hard drive. Unfortunately, upgrading the hard drive is not possible unless you take the whole thing apart.
Opening up the HP Mini 1000, we can see the keyboard and screen. The keyboard is 92% full size, and for the most part it is laid out the same as a regular keyboard. The screen is a 10.1″ diagonal SD LED BrightView Infinity Widescreen Display with a resolution of 1024 x 576.
Because of the small size of the Netbook the buttons on the touchpad are not in the best position. Instead of being below the touchpad they are on the side. I had a hard time using the left button and the touchpad with the same hand. Luckily, I could use the touchpad itself for most of my left clicking needs. The touchpad can be tapped once to make a single click and twice for a double click. If you don’t want to use the touchpad there is a small button above the touchpad that can turn it off.
Lifting the screen also reveals the speaker that is built into the hinge, right below the screen. One thing that is missing is a volume switch.Fortunately, a few of the F buttons serve double duty as volume controls. The only other way to adjust the volume is to use the control that is built into the OS or to use headphones with a volume control.
So how does it all come together, and does it perform well enough to be a worth-while purchase? The HP Mini 1000 is very well-built. During all my testing, I never once got the impression that it was poorly built or that any part of it was flimsy and would break.
The screen on the HP Mini 1000 is very sturdy. I was able to open and close it with one hand, and it never bent. I was able to bend the screen slightly if I twisted it with two hands, but since no one in their right mind would ever do this in real life, it does not concern me. There were only two problems I had with the screen. The first one is that the screen does not tilt back as far as I would like. When I have a laptop on my lap I like the screen to go way back so that I can get the best angle. The screen, or rather the hinge, on the HP Mini 1000 only allows the screen to open up to about 135°. The second problem is that the screen is very narrow. When viewing web pages it is only possible to see a little at a time.
The keyboard on the HP Mini 1000 Netbook is also solid. The keys feel very responsive when pressed. They are also very quiet, they do not make any sounds when typing, especially the annoying clicking noise that desktop keyboards are notorious for making. My only negative comment is about the size. At 92% it is slightly smaller than I am used to, so I had a harder time typing. I would often press the wrong key when typing because of the size of the keys; however, with a little effort I was able to adjust.
As far as performance testing goes, I did not have a lot of high hopes. I know that the Atom processor sacrifices performance so that it can use less power. So to start on a good note, the first thing I tested was battery life.
The way I tested battery life on the HP Mini 1000 is to turn the screen brightness all the way down, disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and to disable all sleep, hibernate and other power saving features. Then I run a program that simulates real world usage. This program, MobileMark 2007, uses programs like excel, power point, outlook, and others by opening them, loading files, letting it pause to simulate reading, and then closing them. It also tracks how long it has been running and what the current battery life is. I let the battery run all the way down while this program ran and when the battery finally died it had been running for 174 minutes. This is actually fairly good in my opinion considering this laptop only has a 3 cell battery.
I tried to run a performance testing program, but it would fail every time. The HP Mini 1000 Netbook is definitely not built for speed of any kind. It may be partially the fault of the 16GB SSD, because after I installed the testing software there was only 208MB of free space.
One thing I noticed during this test is that the programs were very slow to load, even though the CPU hardly ever reached 100% usage. I also noticed this during normal use when I was surfing the web or reading email. The Atom processor seems to have a hard time loading web pages and programs. Like I mentioned above, the processor is sacrificing speed for low power usage.
Playing videos on the HP Mini 1000 NetBook is not a problem. I was able to play 480P HD trailers from the Apple Trailers website and it only used up about 50% of the processor. I did not try playing anything bigger because they would not fit on the screen.
Power usage on the HP Mini 1000 NetBook is very low. As you can see from the screens below, the idle usage is about 16 watts. I was able to get it to go to 20 when I applied a load to the CPU, and I even got it to go to 31 by plugging in an external DVD drive. So if you wanted to watch a movie from a DVD while running the HP Mini 1000 on a battery you can expect the battery life to be almost half.
The HP Mini 1000 comes with a 1 year warranty which covers problems with the hardware. In addition to it being a very short warranty you have to mail in your Netbook to get service. Fortunately, HP pays for shipping both ways, but you are still without your computer for several weeks while it is being serviced. It is possible to upgrade to a 3 year warranty with accidental damage coverage, but it is going to cost you $289.99. That is more than half the cost of the machine which I think is way too expensive.
I really like the HP Mini 1000 and I think for someone who is always on the go it would be a great companion device. The keyboard and screen are small, but that is what keeps this Netbook lite and easy to carry. I am giving the HP Mini 1000 my 5 star award, this is really a great Netbook, and with a little work it could be an excellent Netbook.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|