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Review: HP Mini 110 10-Inch Netbook

I have a crush on this computer. It’s so cute, and sometimes I think it’s even flirting with me! (And yes, my boyfriend is totally jealous.) Oh little 10-inch netbook, how I adore you!

HP Mini 110_Left Front Open

As a part of the Better Together giveaway, presented by HP and Ivy Worldwide, I’ve been loaned the same models of the notebook and the netbook that I will be giving away next week. I’ll be using these laptops over the course of several months and offering you guys completely honest reviews about the value of these products.

This bundle is being billed as the perfect combination for students who need performance and screen space while in their dorm rooms, but are also looking for mobility so that they can work in class, in the cafeteria, in the library, etc.. My focus with this site is to help you spend your hard-earned money on things that are of value to you. So how well does this bundle live up to its claims, and is it really perfect for college students on the go?

Last week I gave you guys my review of the HP Pavilion dv6, so today I’ll cover the adorable 10-inch netbook.

The HP Mini 110

HP Mini 110_Front OpenSpecs:

• Intel® Atom™ Processor N270
• Genuine Windows® XP Home Edition with Service Pack 3
• 10.1” Diagonal SD LED Anti-glare Widescreen Display (1024 x 576)
• Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 (shared) with up to 128MB total available
graphics memory
• 1024MB DDR2 System Memory (1 Dimm)
• 160GB (5400RPM) Hard Drive (SATA)
• HP Webcam
• 802.11b/g WLAN(10a)
• 6-Cell Lithium-Ion battery
• 1-Year Free Hardware Technical Support

In somewhat plainer terms: The screen is about 10 inches (measured diagonally), it’s got 1gig of system memory (RAM), a 160gig hard drive, a webcam, and wireless. You’ll notice that there’s no CD/DVD drive – that’s to save space.

Portability

The main function of this laptop it to be portable, and it excels at it. Weighing in at less than three pounds, I barely even noticed it was in my backpack! And it’s great for moving about. Even during the summer I’m constantly on the go, so this is perfect for me.

During the school year, I would literally run all over campus, all day. It was my job – to go from classroom to classroom, counting the number of occupants. This was a bit of a problem for me, because as a commuter student I needed to have my laptop on campus with me. Everyday I would have to rent a locker for my laptop in the library, and even then it didn’t fit real well in those lockers! The Mini would have been perfect though – light enough that I could have kept it in my backpack while working, and small enough to easily fit in the locker if I wanted.

The 6-cell battery helps a great deal with portability, as well. If you go to customize the laptop,  you get the choice of a 3-cell or 6-cell battery. Using the 6-cell battery that HP sent me, I was able to run the computer off of battery power for 4 and a half hours before it warned me that battery power was down to 10%! That’s way better than my regular laptop, which has trouble lasting 2 hours on battery power.

Functionality

This laptop is built for portability, not speed or performance or anything else, really. But it gets the job done for most things. The keyboard is smaller, about 92% of the size of a regular laptop keyboard. My parents kept asking if it was hard to type because I have looooong fingers. When I first put my hands on the keys, it was an adjustment, but after about five minutes of surfing the web I was typing with my usual speed and accuracy.

The mouse is a little strange – the buttons are to the left and right of the touchpad, instead of below. This was also an adjustment, but I adapted pretty quickly. I actually like having the buttons where they are, because it means I won’t accidentally click the wrong one!

Even though it doesn’t have as much processing power or memory as the dv6, it still runs pretty well. I haven’t noticed any lag at all, even when broadcasting video over the internet from the laptop. Things load fairly quickly, and its certainly faster than my old laptop in waking back up from hibernation.

Webcam

Some other reviewers have reported that they don’t like the webcam on the Mini – that it gives a lower quality image. I didn’t notice anything like that when I tested the webcam myself. And I tested it by setting up a Tokbox chat with both computers and other people in the chat room to give me feedback on the two images. The live feeds broadcasting from the Mini and the dv6 were nearly identical.

Neither was super-high quality (you won’t be winning any Oscars for cinematography!), but each is good enough for long-distance video chat or secretly filming your roommate doing something embarrassing!

Look and Feel

The Mini comes in three colors: swirl black, swirl pink chic, and swirl white. The model I was sent was the swirl white, and I like it quite a lot. It’s got a shiny white lid with a neat pattern on it. The keyboard and surrounding plastic is more of a matte white, which is good because it doesn’t show fingerprints or anything (unlike the dv6). The touchpad is also white.

HP Mini 110_Right Rear Open

If you get the 6-cell battery, it juts out from the bottom of the computer. This is actually soft of good, because it props up the computer a little when you have it on a table, making it easier to use.

Odds and Ends

The Mini has an on-switch that seems specifically designed so that the thing won’t turn on in your backpack, even if the lid comes open (nice!). Most of the other functions are controlled not by switches, but by function keys. I prefer this for the volume control, as opposed to the dv6’s touch-sensitive volume control.

There are three USB ports, so you’ll have no trouble plugging in a thumb drive, a mouse, or even an external DVD drive, all at once! There’s a five-in-one card reader, which is great for getting pictures off an SD card. It’s also good if you want to expand the Mini’s 160gb of hard drive space. There’s an ethernet port for if your dorm, like mine, still has you tethered to the wall instead of using wireless. And there’s a VGA port, which is great if you want to use an external monitor instead of the Mini’s 10-inch screen, or if you want to hook it up to a projector to show a presentation in class.

Value

I’m a pretty big fan of this little computer! (Could you tell?) Selling for about $350, it’s not the cheapest netbook on the block, though. And I haven’t tested any other netbooks to tell you how it compares. But I’m quite taken with it, and it’s just the type of computer I would buy for my hectic on-the-go lifestyle. Especially if I were buying it as a compliment to a more powerful computer to stay on my desk at home. For highly mobile college students, I give the HP Mini 110 my stamp of Recommended.

Special Offer

Do you want a Mini of your very own? Well, you can stick around for a little while and try to win one when I do my giveaway on August 18th (and I sincerely hope you do). But if you’re a pragmatist that needs a computer for school, and can’t wait around to see whether you win one or not, HP’s got you covered. As a part of this whole Better Together promotion, they’re also offering really special deals to the readers of the sites involved (that’s you).

Each offer is different and for a limited time only. Here’s the current offer:

  • Offer valid only August 13-15
  • Get $500 off on a bundle of the HP HDX 18T Premium laptop + HP mini 110 XP netbook
  • Stay connected anywhere with the Mini netbook
  • Huge 18” screen for gaming & Blu-ray

To take advantage of this offer, customize your bundle at the HP Shopping site, and use coupon code NBY4876 at checkout to redeem  discount off of bundle.

Valid for HP Home & Home Office (www.hpshopping.com) internet and call center purchases only. Coupon valid on first 100 redemptions, or while supplies last. Any unused portion will be forfeited. Each coupon code is limited to one usage per customer; one coupon code per checkout. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Non-transferable. Not valid retroactively on previously purchased items. Not valid for any resale activity as defined by HP Home & Home Office Store. Coupons may not be used to purchase gift cards. Not valid on clearance sales. May not be permitted with certain bundle offers. Not valid on: Academic and Employee purchase programs, HP Employee purchase program, Refurbished products, Extended Service Plans. For complete coupon conditions, see “Coupon Information” in the “Customer Service” section at www.hpshopping.com.

19 responses to “Review: HP Mini 110 10-Inch Netbook”

  1. matt s

    is the mini in the giveaway a 6-cell or 3-cell battery?

  2. Hannah

    I’m new to this blog and I can’t believe how many cool giveaways there are. I’m trying to find some kind of statement of what content is/is not sponsored. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!

  3. Deanna

    “Using the 6-cell battery that HP sent me, I was able to run the computer off of battery power for 4 and a half hours before it warned me that battery power was down to 10%!”

    I’m sold! ;) My laptop will only last a matter of minutes on battery power. :O It is not very portable when it always has to be plugged in.

  4. Anon@ Portable Tap Dance Floors

    I personally like this notebook but i hope they can offer more colors.

  5. David Z

    That’s quite an endorsement! I’ve often wondered if these are any good, but it seems they are based on what you said. I do like the fact that they are even more portable.

  6. Win an HP “Better Together” Back to School Bundle

    [...] Review: HP Mini 110 10-Inch Netbook (Poorer than You) [...]

  7. Dave d.

    I needed a laptop for a while and could not afford one. when thy are on sale they are sold out… I just bought a hp mini 110 at an “office store”. One hour after opening they only had the disply left and i bought it! very fast on line cool toys, JUST LIKE MY HOME DEL. However, when I opened a word doc. it said there was only 25 times i could open the program unless i purchased edition +/- $114. WTF??? I CALLED THE “HELP LINE”…. not much help the code on the back of the computer was invalid. I was told this happens sometimes. I will be back at the store in the AM! except for the word and powerpoint thing, it is a good laptop. hopefully i can find software online to repace word. open office?

  8. jordan

    i really need a laptop (or a mini netbook) for school! this blog helped a lot in choosing what one to purchase, thanks so much! it sounds good, and i like the white swirl and the pink chic patterns…but the black swirl looks like eyeballs! but yeah, it sounds like the netbook for me! thanks!

  9. jordan

    sorry, me again…what do you mean by six cell battery “juts out” a little on the bottom? and, if i get this it’ll be mostly for writing…if word processor doesn’t come with it, how can i install it (buy)? thanks!

  10. Sol

    Just to add to Stephanie’s excellent suggestion –

    As well as a word processor- Open Office also has a spreadsheet program, a database program, a drawing program and a power point presentation program too.

    Not bad for a free piece of software!!

  11. Sol

    Oh and Open Office is also compatible with .doc files too. So people who have Microsoft Word will be able to open the Open Office files you send them :)

  12. Jill

    WOW this looks really sleek. It kind of looks like a macbook pro. I am looking for a bit longer battery life though. Other than that, this looks like a solid buy.

  13. Ronald Loves Nike

    i think what is even more impressive about these is that they come with their such long battery lives. That is very impressive!

  14. Nadja

    I’m happy i have one…swirl pink chic, love it!

  15. Sis B

    This review was Great! I’ve had my HP mini for a few years now, picked it up at Walmart when hubby’s laptop quit working when we were on a long road trip 3k miles away from home, mine’s red. It’s slow but gets the job done. The review above was most excellent and I concur. What I didn’t know about was the free word processing so I will definitely download that and see how it works, thank you so much! I always just used the Notepad provided, but I need a little more now, thanks again :) Sis