I have recently been invited to participate in the Back To School: Better Together computer promotion sponsored by HP, Microsoft, Timbuk2, and Syncables which includes a review and giveaway (more on this in a future post) of four products: the HP Pavilion Dv6 with Windows Vista, the HP Mini 110 with Windows XP, a Timbuk2 computer bag, and Syncables computer synchronizing software. Todays post is a review of the HP Mini 110.
So far, the HP Mini 110, my first netbook (a small computer designed for internet access and portability), has thoroughly impressed me. Although it is the smallest computer I have ever used, it is faster and more versatile than the old desktop PC I used in 2003.
Although it lacks the power required by graphics artists and media users, this netbook excels in completing the tasks required by most college students: internet browsing, word processing, and email checking. Because this computer lacks much media functionality (low sound, small screen for videos, and low-quality graphics), it is best used in conjunction with the HP Pavilion Dv6 which comes with excellent sound, ATI graphics, and blu-ray functionality.
The world of computers has come a long way. Just ten years ago, a ten-pound laptop was called portable. The HP Mini 110, however, is so much smaller and lighter that it makes the old laptops look like giants. Weighing less than three pounds, this tiny computer can be carried without any noticeable difference in weigh.
In addition, the size of this netbook (10 by 7) is much smaller than the average college textbook! In fact, it is so small that I have heard it even fits inside large cargo pockets. Because of the small size and weight this computer can easily be carried around campus and used to take notes during the day. Then, after classes finish, you can quickly sync it up to the larger screened, more powerful Pavilion Dv6 and use the larger screen for studying at home.
The screen on the HP Mini 110 is perfectly suited for student use. Larger than most netbooks, the ten inch screen enables you to see more at once and reduce the strain on your eyes. In addition, the screen is not very reflective, so it can easily be used even in higher light environments (e.g. when the sun is at your back). This feature is very handy when you are going from class to class and cant control where the sun is relative to your seat.
Great Battery Life
The best feature I have found on this netbook is the stunning battery life. When purchasing this computer, you have the choice of getting it with a 3-cell battery or a 6-cell battery. My review copy came with a 6-cell battery, and it has exceeded all my expectations. Although the large battery does stick out from the computer and can be somewhat awkward, the battery life is well worth a few difficulties.
I have used this computer for about half an hour a day for the last five days and, even though I have never recharged it, it still has 60% charge remaining! In addition, much of that time I used it with the screen on full brightness, but the battery still lasts for quite some time. I have yet to use the battery to its limit, but I have heard of it lasting for 6 to 8 hours! The battery on this computer is excellent.
A Few Difficulties
To tell the truth, I have not found a single major problem with this netbook, but there are a few minor frustrations. First, although the keyboard is amazingly large for a netbook (92%), I was disappointed by the location of the Home and End keys. These functions can only be accessed by pressing Function/ < or >. I use these buttons all the time, so the extra step can be annoying at first.
I also was slightly disappointed by the quality (or lack there of) with the built-in webcam. However, I do not use webcams very much (read ever) so this is not really a problem for me. Besides, the Pavilion Dv6 has a great built-in webcam!
The only other problem I have experienced so far is the lack of a built-in CD/DVD drive. This lack is necessary because of the small size, but it can be somewhat frustrating at first. However, it can easily be fixed by using an external drive, downloading from the internet, or transferring via a USB thumb drive.
Who Is It For?
Starting at just over $350, the HP Mini 110 is an excellent choice for any college student who needs a versatile, portable computer. This netbook works perfectly for the basic computing needs of a normal college student. It is designed to work better in conjunction with the HP Pavilion Dv6 I reviewed last week.
Be sure to ready my six month review.