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I bought this little Gem going on 3 years ago and i've never looked back.
To start with i was forced into the purchase really as my old laptop had an overheating issue that turned it into a glorified paperweight, but regardless of HOW i made the purchase i'll tell you why i'm STILL using it 3 years later.
Firstly, when you're surfing, working on documents, doing some light gaming (yes you CAN run call of duty 4 on this machine) you can't go wrong with this little wonder of technology.
You get a crisp 720p 1366x768 widescreen display, it's a proper 16:9 one, perfect for youtube and movie watching, great for reviewing digital photos and lovely for using for extended periods of time, not once in 3 years have i EVER had eyestrain using this machine for hours and hours on end.
You also get bluetooth, wifi, 1gb ram, a 160GB hard drive with a restore partition of Windows XP for your convenience, with your product certificate serial number located at the bottom of the laptop stuck with adhesive.
A lovely addtion is the dedicated graphics in the form of a Nvidia ION chip, comes in handy when running Call of Duty 4, decoding youtube full hd videos at 1080p, and for watching blu rays! Yes, i have an external drive and they run flawlessly!
Drawbacks would be the lack of a physical drive, but that can be got around with by a slim external one, i find that it would have been nicer to have a larger hard drive too, 160gb isn't much, but again, you can buy external hard drives for pennies these days and memory cards in 16 or 32gb flavors are just the ticket for storing movies or mp3's instead of sucking up that hard drive space.
Load times are quite reasonable, just over a minute and 30 seconds for XP, programs run snappy, chrome is a joy to use, fast, responsive, the perfect internet browser.
Winamp for music, chrome for browsing, open office for document editing, you can do it all on the mini, with light multitasking too with several tabs open, music playing or streaming and editing documents, it's replaced my other full laptop and rose to the challenge each time.
Of course modern gaming wont work on this machine, the specs are too low and you shouldn't have this expectation, instead you should know that you can get 5 or so hours of battery life from a single charge on the supplied 6 cell battery, close to 8 hours on an extended 9 cell 7800 mah battery from China, fast responsive browsing, light multitasking and great versatility combined with portability.
I wouldn't trade this 3 year old netbook for any new one on the market now, this one is just TOO good to give up, if you can find one still GRAB it with both hands and thank your lucky stars you have it, and HOLD ON TIGHT to it!
An 11.6 inch netbook that is worth the upgrade from a 10 inch one or a good choice if you are looking to buy a netbook. Although the screen is obviously bigger, it's the resolution on the 11.6" that really makes you feel as though you have much more screen space.
This netbook would perhaps be unremarkable if it wasn't for the Nvidia ION as it allows you to play HD (yes 1080) and a greater range of games. The playback unlike most netbooks on the market is smooth due to the ION graphics chip and it does make a significant difference! Some tweaking is still necessary but it will play 1080 videos fluidly unlike the stuttering slideshow that most netbooks display when they attempt to play any sort of HD files. If you want to play HD videos or play some 3D games on a netbook then this is a good choice. HP seem to have been on the ball with this one as it includes a HDMI port and not just a regular VGA port which is the staple on most netbooks.
If gaming is your main priority, then a netbook isn't the choice you should make. That said, this netbook with let you play some new games although you will have to compromise by playing them at the lowest setting. Older games play work fine. If you have gaming in mind, consider a more powerful machine as beefing up the ram and unlocking the ION LE still leaves a weak N270 Atom processor.
Don't be put off by the 1gb ram, and despite varying information on this it can be upgraded. Well the 1gb ram is soldered so you can not alter that but you can add another 2gb ram stick. A netbook with 3gb ram! That is more like the spec I wanted to see. Make sure you use DDR3 ram though. This upgrade is something I'd recommend doing if you anticipate doing more than simple tasks. It's just a shame that when you upgrade the Atom N270 processor is what will limit you. However, this is something you would have accepted when you made your purchase.
This netbook seems to respond quite well to overclocking. When overclocked you can notice a marginal difference. You can convert the ION LE into a full ION graphics but that really only useful if you use Vista or Windows 7. I've not needed to overclock as it meets all my needs.
The keyboard is very good and responsive although this is as mcuh down to personal preference. What is not good, in my opinion, is the lettering on the keys, especially for the function and not letter keys as they print on the buttons is very small. May not been an issue to most but I would've prefered a large print on the buttons.
The one thing that does let it down somewhat is the battery life. Although, 6 hours is stated, you are more likely to get 5 and whilst that sounds like a lot of time compared to other netbooks it isn't very impressive. If you are happy with 5 hours then this netbook is a good choice.
Two other minor downsides are that this netbook isn't the quietest and the trackpad isn't great. When using my Samsung NC10, I was seldom aware of any noise it was making but the fan in this HP netbook wants to and does get heard. Not particularly noisy but compared to other netbooks, it shouts! The trackpad is down to preference I guess but I am not too fond off it and would've prefered a matt to a glossy touch area.
A great netbook which is has some clear benefits over the standard 10" range. More screen space and HD ability are the key benefits. This is definitely a good purchase as it meets more of my requirements on the go and still fits into the case I had for my 10" Samsung NC10.
Be warned whilst this may seem like a great netbook due to the ability to overclock and upgrade, it could be more cost effective and less hassle just to get a more powerful netbook (i.e. Acer Ferrari One). Obviously depends on the deal you get but something to consider.
The Compaq Mini 311c burst onto the scene with style. One of the first netbooks to offer NVIDIA ION as standard, now netbooks can deliver good gaming capability on the netbook platform.
Out of the box, it looks great. Very thin measuring 289.0mm x 204mm x 30.6mm at its widest point and be aware that the design is angled so at the nearest edge, it is much, much thinner. Combine this with more connnectivity options than ever before seen on a netbook and its a winner:
3 USB ports
Microphone / Headphone Input
Card Reader: SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMedia Card, MultiMedia Card Plus & xD-Picture Card
Web Camera with integrated Mic
92% Full size Keyboard
11.6" Widescreen Delivering 1366 x 768 Res
All this and it weighs 1.5Kg
Lets examine the specs in more detail:
CPU is the power/heat friendly Intel Atom. This delivers good performance, not great, just good. As expected this is not going to run photoshop like a hot knife through butter, but it will do what its meant to do, exceptionally well. Single basic application use is where this processor shines: internet, MS Office, email etc.
NVIDIA ION is the graphics unit. This is the star of the 311, it allows the playing of games, display of flash and HD movies with ease. Whereas previous netbooks had the problem with such files, the NVIDIA Ion has no problem. Granted you wont be able to play Call of Duty 4 at maximum settings without viewing a slide show but you will, if you are sensible in toning down your settings enjoy a satisfactory gaming experience. This on its own is a truly amazing achievement. I personally found the gaming use of the 311 a joy when travelling, simple yet graphically intensive games can now be played whilst on the move - great for those long plane journeys!!
Which brings me to another point. Battery use. Expect 5-7 hours. Which if you are a frequent netbook user will realise that is impressive for the specficiations.
In addition this product is customizable and there ae plenty of hacks out there if you are feeling adventurous (Yes the CPU can be overclocked!!)
However there are two downsides to this great product. I am not a fan of the touchpad controls and never have been on laptops. My recommendation would be to use a standalone mouse for extensive use. Secondly, it is advisable to upgrade the memory. 1GB is standard and soldered on to the board, buy a 2GB stick, install and you will have 3GB. This will make applications run that much quicker.
All in all, simply the best netbook on the market and easily rivals the lower end laptops.