Product Type: Hewlett-Packard Netbook
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HP Mini 210-1003sa
Member Name: Teena2003
HP Mini 210-1003sa
Date: 14/06/10, updated on 14/06/10 (617 review reads)
Advantages: Small and sleek, light, portable, big hard drive
Disadvantages: small screen, no optical drive
HP Mini 210-1003SA Netbook, 1.66GHz with 10.1 Inch Display, Pacific Blue, Intel Atom N450, 250gb hard drive, Windows 7 Starter
My first computer was a laptop, the very first Sony Vaio. It had a 12" screen, ran on steam or hamster power and had the, then, brand new Windows 98 operating system.
My 17" screen size laptop died six weeks ago (after a short life of just 14 months) suffering a short in one of the USB ports fried the motherboard. While waiting for the expert report and repair, I had to find a replacement as I needed a computer for my studies. Considering that my research was stuck on the now dead laptop, and not backing up on an external drive (I wanted to, honestly, but never got round to it) I was panicking.
I invested in a Netbook, something I would not normally have considered, but there were time restraints and price issues. In the end I decided to invest in an HP Mini that I had sourced on the Tesco Direct website. I had seen a Toshiba Netbook £70 reduced but I did not have enough money in the account to afford it and by the time I could, the price had gone up to its normal price again. In the end I settled for an HP Mini 210-1000 series Netbook. I had a choice of colours, I thought that blue was something that would go very well with anything I own.
Using a couple of money off coupons, online discount and free next day delivery (between 7am and 7pm) I went for it. In the end I paid a smidge over £200.00 but the Tesco Direct price was £249.00 at the time. I could have opted for store pick up but would have had to wait until after 4pm the next day. The delivery was at 11.30am and I was glad I had chosen to stay inside as it was chucking it down with rain.
HP Mini 210-1000 series, as said before, is available in 5 colours, Pacific blue, Sonoma red, Glossy black, Black with crystal pattern, Crystal silver . I went with Pacific Blue, as black and silver is too common and red is really not my colour.
=== What's in the box? ===
Unpacking the new Netbook was a bit of a surprise and also a let down. I had expected a little more, but what was in the box was the actual Netbook, separate battery and power cord and adapter (which incidentally does not go with anything I already own so can't swap it if it should go wrong - which I hope it won't). There was also a very slim instruction booklet and a quick start guide. As the Netbook does not come with an optical drive, there was no back up or recovery disc included.
=== Minimal assembly required ===
The actual Netbook is incredibly small (but cute) and by no means will ever replace a proper full size laptop or desktop computer. But it looks ideal for travel and using while out and about.
The battery pack was separate and had to be inserted into the back of the Netbook computer. There were no problems, you easily see what bit goes where and to secure the battery you slide the locks to a closed position.
Then all you need to do is to plug the unit into the mains and wait for it to power up.
=== Setting the stage ===
As always, when you have a new computer of sorts, you have to go though the initial set ups, entering you name, address and email (or however much information you are prepared to divulge) and set up the Netbook for first use.
This takes a little while but should not bother you too much. Just a word of advice, during the initial set up of the Netbook you won't have access to any external hardware, i.e. mouse. I had attached my mouse the Netbook as I don't like any touchpad on any laptop and rather work with a mouse. Only after I had set up all the initial settings, the mouse started working and I have had it attached to my Netbook via one of the 3 USB ports ever since.
=== Keyboard ===
This HP Mini Netbook claims to have a 93% size keyboard. The keys are raised and while there is no room for a full size keyboard with numbers board to the right, the keyboard is very easy to use and big enough to fit even the worst 'big finger syndrome' user. The keys are raised, and the whole keyboard is very responsive. To be honest, as a touch typist, at no time at all did I have problems hitting the right keys. The keyboard is a nice and comfortable size and very easy to use at all times. I didn't feel I had any problems, the only thing I am missing is the number keys to the right on a full size keyboard but that's not really an issue.
=== WiFi internet access and the likes ===
I used to have a wireless router but it started to play up a few months ago and has since given up its ghost. I now have to rely on my talktalk modem (wired). While I had a chance to use the installation disk with my, now dead, laptop, I was very worried that there was no chance of me getting onto the internet without a disk. And as the HP Mini does not have an optical drive, there was no chance of me being able to load the installation disk.
I should not have worried. As soon as I attached the wire between modem and Netbook, it fired up without problems. I was able to log onto the Internet without problems. I never needed to upload the software and still, the Netbook found the correct settings.
=== Operating on bare minimum ===
The HP Mini Netbook operates on Windows 7. However, it is not the full version but what they call 'Windows 7 Starter'. While I'm not too familiar with with new operating system, I did not see much difference from Windows XP or Vista (at least not in the starter version). While this version is a very scaled down version of Home or Professional, it is very restricted in what you can do with it.
One of the first things I noticed was that I could not change the background. I was restricted to just the background it came with. I do like to change it but if it's not possible, I have to put up with it.
I have not noticed much difference from XP or Vista while using the operating system and if you know Windows, you won't have many problems getting used to this Windows 7 Starter version.
=== Software ===
The HP Mini Netbook is loaded with a 60 day trial version of Office 2007. As a mature student I was able to buy a full version of Office 2007 but managed to lock the key to the programme on my now dead laptop, hence the backup copy of the programme I bought is useless.
I never activated the trial version of Office, neither did I bother with Norton that came pre-installed. I prefer installing my own anti virus, firewall and other security.
As I need to do a lot of work for my Open University courses, I needed a programme that would allow me to work and save projects as if they were written on and Office software programme. I was aware that there are free downloads available for a number of word programmes and in the end I decided to download OpenOffice to the HP Mini. As I had never worked with a programme other than Office, I was a little worried at first but as soon as I opened the 'Word' application, I saw a lot of familiar things and wasn't too worried any longer.
After a couple of weeks I was very used to the free OpenOffice version and I don't think I will be going back to Microsoft Office any time soon. This free programme is more than adequate for what I need to do on my computer.
=== Everyday Use ===
I would not recommend this Netbook as a main computer but it will be fine as an additional computer for travel and being out and about.
It takes a little while for the computer to boot up but that is not something you should worry about. The Netbook is easy to work and responds well.
It has two small stereo speakers at the front and when playing music, it does sound a little tinny. But you will not get this Netbook to play music. I keep my iTunes library on here and on the odd occasion I do play something it is mainly podcasts or audio books. Using headphones will improve the sound quite considerably.
I use a digital camera and the memory card was one of the 5that is supported by the HP Mini 210. I was surprised that I could just slot the card into the slot and the computer recognised it immediately. But what I have been more surprised with was bluetooth. I had never used bluetooth on my phone before but managed to synch the netbook and my mobile phone and I can now send photos easily from the phone to my netwook as well as connect to the internet if necessary. I am well impressed as the whole set up was easy and painless.
I use my Netbook mainly to log onto my email, check websites and of course try and stay on top of my reviews on various review site. If you are not expecting too much from your netbook the HP Mini 210 will surprise you as it is quick and easy to use as well as containing a massive hard drive to store all sorts of photos and movies, 250GB is a pretty large storage compared to other netbooks where the average is 160GB.
While I am waiting for my 17" laptop to be repaired, I am happy to use this HP netbook as my substitute computer. The speed is very acceptable and when out and about, it will not weigh you down. On a number of occasional I have now taken it out and used it to log on in London while out on mystery shopping assignments. It is fun to start filling in the paperwork online while still in the store you are visiting.
The HP Mini 210 does not weight you down when in your bag or backpack. Use it to your heart's content and make the most of it.
Audio Features Analogue output
Blank Discs Case Included No
Built-in Webcam Yes
Card Reader Type 5 in 1, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro
Hard Drive Size 250 GB
Hard Drive Type 2.5" SATA 5400rpm with 8MB Cache
Number of USB Ports 3x USB 2.0
Operating System Microsoft Windows® 7 Starter Edition
Processor Intel® AtomTM
Product Depth 26.8 cm
Product Height 2.29 cm
Product Weight 1.22kg
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Summary: small yet powerful mobile computing