The 3D surface technology adds multiple layers to the design with things floating around and casting shadows.
If you look at the specs of most of the netbooks out in the market today, you’d be hard-pressed to separate one from another. Almost all of them are based on the Intel 945G chipset with the 1.6GHz Atom CPU and 1GB RAM. You might have slightly more RAM or hard disk space on one compared to the other, but they’re pretty much identical otherwise. The HP Mini 110 “Studio Tord Boontje” edition that we’re looking at today expectantly boasts similar configurations as noted above. What does set it apart from other netbooks is its beautiful design. HP offered me a choice of selecting between the black, white and pink models for review purpose. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate the pink version but to keep the occasional gal interested in our review, I asked them to send the white version across.
Using the industry’s first three-dimensional surface technology, the external lid on the Mini 110 certainly looks like it has multiple layers to the design with things floating around and casting shadows. The artistry is from a Dutch designer Boontje, hence the name of the netbook.
As I mentioned at the start, the specs on this 110 aren’t much different than your usual standard netbook. It comes equipped with the N280 Atom CPU running at 1.66GHz, 2GB RAM and a 250GB Hard Drive. The 10.1″ screen has the standard resolution of 1024×600 and is powered by the Intel 945G chipset that takes its memory from your system RAM. You have the usual array of ports such as three USB ports (one on left and two on right), power, SD/Memory card reader, Ethernet and VGA output. HP uses just one jack for audio input and output which is a bit of a shame. There is a built-in microphone if that is any compensation. WiFi and Bluetooth are built-in and so is a webcam on top of the screen.
The Keyboard on the 110 is quite nice- the keys are large and soft to type on which proved to be quite comfortable. Unfortunately, the same can not said for the trackpad. Like the older version, the left and right buttons are placed on the left and right side of the trackpad instead below it which makes it harder to get to them. The power switch also feels a bit flimsy but that could very well be our unit. We received the higher capacity six cell battery with the 110 which, instead of sticking out horizontally like most high-capacity batteries, sticks out vertically giving a nice tilt to the netbook when placed on a desk. The higher capacity battery gave the Mini 110 an impressive battery life of over five hours.
There are two Operating Systems installed on the 110- Windows 7 starter edition and the extremely quick to load Splashtop desktop that allows you to do common tasks such as checking your mail or browsing the web without getting into Windows. Windows 7 takes it sweet time to load and I do give HP credit for making that extra effort of skinning Windows slightly to match the look on the netbook but I really think that you need a dual core CPU to enjoy Windows 7. The 2GB configuration helps a bit but even then the unit feels a bit sluggish running Windows 7.
Performance on the 110 is similar to most netbook we’ve tested . Windows 7 gave it a Windows rating of 2.2 because of its 954G graphics throughput but the CPU wasn’t too far behind scoring 2.3. PCMark scored 438 in Audio/Video Multi-tasking and 0.66 in Web Page Rendering- about average for notebooks with the 1.6GHz Atom CPU. Pictures dont necessarily do justice to the 3D surface technology so I would highly recommend checking one out at a store near you to get a feel of it and that really is what the Mini 110 Tord Boonjte edition is all about. Priced at AED 1,899, this netbook should be available at most leading electronics stores.