by Kevin O'Brien
The HP Mini 1000 is the much hoped for Intel Atom based update to the VIA platform Mini-Note 2133. With a complete refresh this netbook is thinner thanks to a smaller hard drive and lithium polymer battery but still keeps the same great full-size (or "nearly" full-size) keyboard. Offered with two screen sizes, 8.9" and 10.2" the Mini 1000 has a configuration for any budget and including WWAN 3G capabilities for users on the go.
HP Mini 1000 specifications:
Build and Design
The HP Mini 1000 looks just like a condensed Pavilion notebook, with a sleek and smooth body, glossy Imprint Finish, and color coordinated design. Compared to the older Mini-Note 2133 HP took extra steps to reduce the thickness of the body; removing the VGA port in favor of a thin proprietary connection, using a 1.8" hard drive instead of a 2.5" model, and switching to a lithium polymer battery instead of the older lithium-ion cylindrical pack. HP also reduced the number of external connections, removing the ExpressCard slot, combining the microphone and headphone jack, and even hiding the LAN connector under a soft rubber cover. Compared to the other netbooks on the market, the Mini 1000 easily wins in the design category.
Build quality is above average with high quality plastics used throughout the body. The plastics don't creak or squeak when you are carrying it around, and when closed it has a very solid feel. The display cover provides more than adequate protection for the LCD, which can help out if you like to store heavy books in the same bag as your electronics. When open the palmrest and keyboard section are very stiff, but with thin notebooks this is normal with the reduced internal space.
When it comes to upgrading a netbook on your own there are netbooks that make it difficult and there are netbooks that make it easy ... and then there's the Mini 1000 that makes it ridiculously easy. While some netbook and notebook manufacturers go the route of "warranty void if removed" stickers HP goes the extra mile with a special spring-loaded RAM cover. After you slide over the battery lock switch, you expose a hole big enough for a pen tip. Simply flick it over to the side and the RAM cover pops up with no extra tools needed. This is one of the coolest things we have seen on a notebook and a first for netbooks. The other internal components take a bit more work to get at, needing two screws under the battery removed before the keyboard can pop off.
The BrightView Infinity panel on the 10.2" Mini 1000 model has very good color and contrast, but at the cost of being overly reflective in anything but a dark room. This style of screen is becoming more common on multimedia notebooks, but on a netbook which might be used while traveling or outside it adds a level of annoyance that is hard to overcome. Black levels are good in the optimal viewing range, fading slightly to a light grey as you tilt the screen closer or farther away. Backlight intensity is strong to be viewable outside but easily overcome by glare from the Infinity panel. Viewing angles rate average, with an acceptable viewing sweet spot before colors start to invert. Horizontal viewing angles are better, but at the steeper angles the screen fades out and all you see is the reflection of the surrounding area.
One thing that cropped up is small marks on the plastic layer over the screen from the keyboard keys pressing on it with the lid closed. This is caused from oil on your fingertips, but most notebooks have a panel is recessed far enough to prevent the keys from touching.
Keyboard and Touchpad
By far the best feature of the HP Mini 1000 is the keyboard, which is the most comfortable compared to any other netbook we have reviewed. The key size and shape is very close to what you would find on a fullsize notebook and you just don’t feel cramped while typing. With most netbooks it takes time getting used to the smaller keys, which if you have large fingers can be difficult to accurately type on. HP first released this keyboard on the Mini-Note 2133, which would have been a hit if it wasn’t slowed down by the early VIA platform.
Key spacing is minimal to fit the full-size keys into the small area, but once you get your palms aligned properly on the small palmrest it is a breeze to type on. Individual key action is smooth with a barely audible click when pressed. The keys feel very solid and durable, something that you would expect from a great keyboard. Keyboard flex is non-existent because of the tight clearances in the super thin chassis.
The Synaptics based touchpad is easy to use once you get used to the buttons located on either side of the touch surface. Sensitivity is great with the default settings, leaving the only adjustment of narrowing the scrollbar area. The surface has a semi-gloss paint which is easy to slide your finger around, but really shows off the accumulated oils from your fingertips. The buttons are easy to trigger, with moderate feedback and a short throw.
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