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HP Mini 210 Netbook Review

By on April 6, 2010
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Mixing a refresh of internals and external design, the Mini 210 is HP’s latest netbook.

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The Verdict:
A nice little netbook with a good keyboard but finicky trackpad.

Today we take a look at the refresh of HP’s mini series of netbooks- the Mini 210 to be exact which is based on Intel’s latest update to its Atom platform consisting of the Atom N450 CPU and Graphics Media Accelerator 3150. Besides the internals, HP has also made significant changes to the looks of their mini series. Lets find out if these changes are for the better or not.

Starting off, you still have the 10.1″ with a resolution of 1024×600, however an HD version is also available that increases the resolution to 1366×768. Screen viewing angles and colors are good but not great- looking at the screen head on produces good results but moving your head sideways makes the screen appear a bit washed out which is generally typical of netbooks.

As mentioned the CPU has been upgraded from the N270 running at 1.60GHz to N450 running at 1.66GHz. Yes, that’s just a .06GHz increase in speed but the new CPUs consume a lot less power and the graphics controller is now internal instead of a separate chip. Other specs
include a generous 320GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM.
For the Operating System, HP bundles the starter version of Windows 7 as well as their Splashtop instant boot OS for quickly accessing things like email, web and Skype.

The new Mini 210 looks quite nice. Its available in Silver, blue, red and black and we received the silver version for reviewing. While the outside is silver, the inside is black and looks pretty awesome. On the left you have the power as well as VGA and audio output along with one USB port while the right side has two additional USB ports, the network socket, a memory card reader and the power switch.

Looks wise, HP has adopted a chiclet type keyboard which I think works really well on the Mini. The keys are a tad bit tiny, but there is enough space between the keys to type at a reasonably fast rate without making much mistakes. As with all laptop reviews, I’ve written this on the laptop itself. Also gone is the trackpad with the left and right buttons on either side of the trackpad. Instead, you get a somewhat mac-style trackpad where the buttons feel part of the trackpad and multi-touch is supported. As long as you don’t rest the thumb on the left button area, the trackpad works well but I noticed it going a bit crazy if my thumb was placed on the trackpad.

For measuring performance, we have compared the HP Mini 210 to an older generation Atom N270 based Toshiba N200 which performs almost identical to the older generation Mini 110.

As you can see, there is not THAT big of a performance difference between the two netbooks. The 0.06Ghz speed difference is probably the reason for that and as we mentioned earlier on, its the battery life that these new CPUs should help most with. Speaking of that, we managed to get over six hours of video playback from the Mini which is pretty impressive. If you are doing regular Office work or Internet browsing, expect almost eight hours.

Overall, the HP Mini 210 is nice little netbook- provided you are comfortable using a netbook. While HP does a good job with the keyboard, I found the trackpad a bit finicky, especially if your thumb is resting on it which for me is its natural position. Currently selling for AED 1850/- (US$500), the Mini 210 is a tad bit on the higher side compared to some of the other netbooks.


About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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