HP Mini 1000 Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (183,609)

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:

  • Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor
  • 60GB 4200 RPM PATA Hard Drive
  • 1GB of DDR2 RAM (667MHz)
  • Windows XP Home operating system
  • 10.2″ WSVGA LED-Backlit 1024 x 600 LCD
  • Ports: 2 USB 2.0, 1 VGA monitor out, headphone/mic jack, SD card reader (SDHC compatible), Ethernet 10/100
  • Webcam (1.3 MP)
  • Battery: 11.1v 26Wh 3-cell battery
  • Wireless: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth
  • One-year warranty
  • Size: 10.3 in (L) x 6.56 in (W) x 0.99 in (H)
  • Weight: 2lbs 7.7oz, 3lbs 1.8oz with AC adapter
  • Price as configured: $499

 

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.

Display

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.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Intel Atom-based netbook platform gives a speedy user experience, handing everyday applications with ease.  Everything from web browsing to movie watching can be handled with little effort, leaving only HD content and gaming to your larger machine. On the Mini 1000, with the slower 4200RPM 1.8″ PATA hard drive, some disk intensive applications were sluggish at times. Boot times felt slower than what we were used to and moving files around from external drives took longer than expected.  Looking at our HDTune image below you can quickly see the problem, with much slower data transfer speeds than what you would find on a 5400RPM 2.5″ SATA drive.

wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
HP Mini 1000 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 125.788 seconds
ASUS N10 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 126.047 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 1000HA (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 117.577 seconds
Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 127.172 seconds
Acer Aspire One (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz)  125.812 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 901 (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 123.437 seconds
MSI Wind (Intel Atom @ 1.60GHz) 124.656 seconds  
ASUS Eee PC 900 (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz) 203.734 seconds
HP 2133 Mini-Note (Via CV7-M ULV @ 1.6GHz) 168.697 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 630MHz) 289.156 seconds
ASUS Eee PC 4G (Intel Celeron M ULV @ 900MHz) 200.968 seconds
Everex CloudBook (VIA C7-M ULV @ 1.2GHz) 248.705 seconds
Fujitsu U810 Tablet PC (Intel A110 @ 800MHz) 209.980 seconds
Sony VAIO VGN-G11XN/B (Core Solo U1500 @ 1.33GHz) 124.581 seconds
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.2GHz) 76.240 seconds
Dell Inspiron 2650 (Pentium 4 Mobile @ 1.6GHz) 231.714 seconds

 

3DMark06 comparison results:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
HP Mini 1000 (1.6GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 88 3DMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 73 3DMarks
ASUS N10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, NVIDIA 9300M 256MB) 1,417 3DMarks
ASUS Eee PC 1000HA (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 95 3DMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad S10 (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) N/A
Acer Aspire One (1.60GHz Intel Atom, Intel GMA 950) 122 3DMarks
Sony VAIO TZ (1.20GHz Core 2 Duo U7600, Intel GMA 950) 122 3DMarks
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,055 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 532 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

 

HDTune hard drive performance results:

 

Speakers and Audio

The speakers on the Mini 1000 sound very nice,  and easily win out over other netbook models. They are located right underneath the screen, so they don’t get blocked with your hands on the keyboard. Bass and midrange are weak, but this is common even on much larger notebooks. Peak volume levels are adequate to fill a small room with a movie or podcast, but headphones might be the better alternative out in public.

Ports and Features

Port selection is sparse from what we have seen on most netbooks, with only two USB ports, LAN, one combo headphone/mic plug, and a proprietary VGA connector. To have video output the purchase of a separate adapter to get VGA is required. The Mini 1000 also has an SD-card reader and for models that do not have a hard drive, a special USB port for storage expansion.

One odd feature is a missing Kensington lock slot related with a proprietary connector that looks more like a lanyard hook than a security attachment point.

Heat and Noise

While the older Mini-Note 2133 with the VIA platform that scorched pants and fingertips the newer Atom-based model is cool to the touch. The palmrest and keyboard are slightly above room temperature and the bottom panel is finally lap friendly. The only hotspots were above and below the stick of RAM, which included the touchpad, since it is right above that area. Noise from the cooling fan was minimal even under stress. The temperature readings below are listed in degrees Fahrenheit:

Battery Life

With the screen brightness set to about 60 percent and wireless active the HP Mini 1000 managed 2 hours and 55 minutes of battery life before it had to go into sleep mode. This is a big step up when you look at the Mini-Note 2133 which only managed 2 hours and 15 minutes on the same size battery. The downside to the slim battery design and location on the Mini 1000 makes it nearly impossible to design an extended battery for it.  For travel use, especially with 3G WWAN, you are really living life one outlet at a time.

Conclusion

The HP Mini 1000 is a clear winner on the netbook front, offering a great design and being very user-upgrade friendly. It offers the best keyboard out of the entire netbook crowd, only matched by the earlier Mini-Note 2133 which uses the same design. We are delighted HP finally decided to refresh their netbook with the Atom platform since it increased battery life over the VIA model and greatly reduced the amount of heat thrown off the processor. With great build quality, a spring-loaded RAM slot, awesome keyboard, and super slim design it is easy to give the HP Mini 1000 our Editor’s Choice award. We feel it is well deserved even with the missing VGA port and limited battery options.

Pros:

  • Best netbook keyboard
  • Upgrade-friendly spring-loaded RAM slot
  • Good looking design with excellent build quality
  • Very good speakers for a netbook

Cons:

  • Highly reflective screen if you have the Infinity 10.2” panel
  • Proprietary adapter needed for VGA out
  • No clear option for an extended battery


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