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Maximum PC Staff Mar 25, 2009

HP Mini 1001xx

At A Glance

Mini Cooper

Great keyboard, best-looking netbook weve tested, decent battery life.

D.B. Cooper

Small hard drive, only two USB ports, proprietary VGA port.

The HP Mini 1001xx is easily the classiest-looking little netbook we’ve come across. Like most of HP’s recent computers, from the Blackbird to the HDX 18, the Mini 1001xx opts for subtle design flair instead of solid colors—in this case, faint gray spirals on a glossy black clamshell lid. The interior is smooth and matte black, and the keys are soft and very square but still provide an audible click—no mushiness here.

The keyboard is the most comfortable we’ve ever used in a netbook; it doesn’t feel cramped at all, although those with large hands will still find their wrists dangling off the end of the board—a familiar story in this category.

Like the other netbooks we’ve tested, the Mini 1001xx is built on Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom processor, runs Windows XP, and has 1GB of DDR2 RAM. It has the smallest hard drive of any non-SSD netbook we’ve tested, but we suppose 60GB isn’t terrible. Like the Lenovo S10, the Mini 1001 ships with only two USB ports, and the Ethernet port is so well hidden as to be virtually invisible, but it is there, behind a thick rubber cover.

On the performance front, the Mini shuffled through our Adobe Photoshop CS3 script in 802 seconds, nearly two minutes slower than the Lenovo IdeaPad S10, but it had no problem playing H.264-encoded MP4 files without stuttering. It lasted two hours and six minutes in our battery-rundown test, a few minutes longer than any non-SSD-based netbook we’ve reviewed, but certainly nothing to brag about.

Interestingly, the Mini 1001xx actually (eventually) managed to play Quake Live, something no other netbook we’ve tested has done. We think this is more likely the result of updates to Quake Live’s still-in-beta code than anything HP’s done, since the Mini has the same architecture as all those other netbooks. Unfortunately, the 1024x600 monitor just isn’t tall enough to fit the entire Quake Live game screen, so this ability is of questionable value.

Perhaps in an attempt to make the Mini 1001xx thinner, HP removed the industry-standard VGA port in favor of a proprietary port, which allegedly fits a VGA-out dongle; however, one wasn’t included with our review unit, so we were unable to test this setup.

The Mini is neither the fastest nor, at $490, the cheapest netbook we’ve tested. But it’s the first netbook that didn’t look like a honey-I-shrunk-the-laptop version of a bigger device—it’s comfortable being a netbook. And we’re in favor of that. The Acer Aspire One still hits our price/performance sweet spot, but if you want a netbook that makes a style statement and don’t mind paying a bit of a premium for it, the Mini is your model.

Benchmarks
Photoshop (SEC)
802
H.264 Yes
Quake Live
Yes
Battery Life (Hrs: Mins)
2:06
Specifications
Display 10.2" TFT 1024x600
Processor Intel Atom N270 1.6Ghz
Chipset Intel 945GSE
Graphics Intel GMA50
RAM 1GB DDR2/667
Storage 60GB Toshiba 1.8" HD
Ports Two USB, audio in/out (single jack), multicard reader, propietary video port
Wireless Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g
Lap/Carry Weight 2 lbs, 8 oz/3 lbs, 1oz
THE VERDICT

HP Mini 1001xx

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