HP Mini 210 HD Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (88,860)
Editor's Rating
7.29

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 9
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 5
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.29
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • WXGA resolution 10-inch screen
    • Optional GPS, WWAN or Broadcom CrystalHD
    • One of the better button-less touchpads
  • Cons

    • Short battery life
    • Sluggish

Quick Take

The HP Mini 210 HD is a good alternative to a bulky notebook, but still uses the rather slow Intel Atom processor.


The Mini 210 HD is the latest netbook from HP, offering a full 720P-compatible 1366×768 resolution on a compact 10.1-inch display. This model includes the 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 processor standard-with the faster 1.83GHz N475 for $25 more-as well as Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics. In this review we see how well this netbook holds up against the competition and if you should consider this over a slightly more powerful CULV notebook.

Our HP Mini 210 HD Specifications:

  • Windows 7 Starter (32-bit)
  • Intel Atom N450 Processor 1.66GHz (667MHz FSB)
  • 1GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • 160GB 5400rpm SATA Fujitsu HDD
  • 10.1-inch diagonal (1366×768)
  • Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics
  • Broadcom 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
  • 4-in-1 media card slot
  • Dimensions: 10.55 in (L) x 6.9 in (W) x 0.9-1.11 in (H)
  • Weight: 2.69 lb with 3-cell battery (not including weight of AC adapter).
  • Power: 3-cell 28Wh battery
  • Warranty: One-year standard warranty
  • Price: $409.99 (current price with standard, 7200RPM hard drive)


Build and Design
The new design of the HP Mini really helps to enhance its looks and raise the expectation that this netbook isn’t a toy but rather a full-fledged designer notebook. The new Mini uses painted panels for the screen cover and bottom cover, adding a touch of color to each model. Compared to normal designs that leave the bottom with bland, unfinished black plastic, this really helps in the looks department. The interior was also given a facelift, featuring a flush-mount Synaptics touchpad with integrated buttons. It also makes use of a redesigned Chiclet keyboard with integrated function-key lights to show when certain features are activated. The new look is nothing short of astonishing.

Build quality is very good even with the bottom panel that snaps into place. When completely closed the HP Mini 210 has a sturdy feel and doesn’t show much flex under pressure. The screen cover does a good job of protecting the LCD and the bottom cover doesn’t creak or feel loose when properly reinstalled. On the inside the keyboard feels solid in its tray with very little flex or movement. The palmrest also holds up well, although if you have adult-sized hands your palms are hanging over the notebook and almost resting on the desk surface. In short, it is a pretty solid netbook with all things considered.

The HP Mini 210 has one of the most DIY-upgrade friendly designs we have ever seen in the NotebookReview offices. You can access all internal components without ever using a screwdriver … and the same can’t be said about other notebooks. HP designed the Mini 210 with a bottom panel that comes off using old-fashion finger power. With the bottom panel off users have access to the Wi-Fi card, open mini-PCIe slot for a Broadcom HD or WWAN card, system memory and hard drive. Any upgrade can be performed in seconds, and is much less intimidating for even the most basic of users.


Screen and Speakers

The display on the HP Mini 210 HD is unlike most other netbooks. It has a higher WXGA (1366×768) resolution instead of the usual 1024×600 panel found on other models. This is useful in a number of ways, including properly displaying menu windows and reducing excessive horizontal or vertical scrolling. Another added benefit is being able to watch 720P video, although it also relies on you having a Broadcom CrystalHD decoder card configured with the system. Without that card the system would be unable to play the content, let alone display it on the higher resolution panel at reasonable framerates.

The panel itself is easy to read–at least with my eyes–and text doesn’t appear to be that small compared to other mobile devices. If you can read small text on a mobile phone, you should be able to view the screen without any problems. Color and contrast are very nice, although at times I felt reflections off the all-glass surface seemed to obscure part of the panel. Backlight levels were great for viewing the screen in bright office conditions, but outdoor viewing was out of the question. Viewing angles were average compared to other notebooks, with colors starting to invert or distort when the screen was tilted about 15 degrees forward or back. Horizontal viewing angles were better, but the reflections seemed to obscure the panel past 45 to 50 degrees.

The small speakers on the HP Mini 210 HD are located on the front edge of the palmrest, angled downward towards your lap. On a flat desktop they easily filled up a small room with music but once you placed the netbook in your lap they became muffled and easily blocked by clothing. Sound quality was average compared to other similarly sized netbooks, with weak bass and midrange.


Keyboard and Touchpad
The HP Mini 210 HD features a 93% fullsize Chiclet keyboard. For short term use the keyboard is comfortable to type on and feels as strong as typing on a regular notebook. The size though can feel slightly cramped depending on if you are used to typing on a larger notebook. For short term travel or light usage in the home for web browsing you probably won’t have any problem. If you intended to use this as your primary system, you might want to consider moving up to the 11.6″ ultraportable form-factor which is closer to standard full-size while still being very portable.

Function keys on the keyboard are direct access, meaning you don’t need to press the “Fn” button to adjust the screen brightness or enable Wi-Fi. Another feature is built-in indicator lights for the mute and wireless on/off buttons. While there is no performance different between this and side mounted lights, it helps in the aesthetics department.

The touchpad on the Mini 210 HD is a button-less Synaptics ClickPad with multitouch support. Compared to the twitchy variant found on the HP ProBook recently reviewed, we found no such problems on this particular version. Unlike the earlier version, if your finger was resting on a pre-defined left/right button box, any movement on the main touchpad section would activate pinch-zoom. Now those areas are dead zones, preventing a lot of frustration we previously had. The touchpad surface was very smooth and almost glossy in texture. Sensitivity was excellent without any adjustment needed and acceleration on both axes was equal. It’s hard to say if the touchpad has reached the same ease of use level of the one found on the MacBooks’, but it is getting very close.


Ports and Features

The HP Mini 210 HD features three USB 2.0 ports, VGA-out, one audio headset jack, and Ethernet. The system also includes a SDHC card slot. Optional features include GPS, WWAN, and a Broadcom CrystalHD card for HD video decoding.


Front: Nothing


Rear: Nothing


Left: DC-input, VGA-out, HDD activity light, one USB 2.0, headset jack


Right: SDHC-card slot, Power switch, 2 USB 2.0, LAN, Kensington lock slot


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