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Since starting university, i have been looking for a smaller laptop. As i would be using it for my working and browsing the internet, i needed it to perform like a larger laptop. After some deliberation, i picked the HP mini. For a start, it was brilliant value for money, i paid about £260 pounds. Despite this value, the build quality is solid and it is really quick! It is capable of running many programs at once with no adverse affect. The screen is only 10.1", but it is really clear, and still very easy to use all programs. It is very lightweight and compact, so is perfect for commuting. The 8 hour battery also comes in very handy, and saves on charging up. The keyboard is of a usual size, despite the small overall size. Having bluetooth and a memory card slot are incredibly useful for quick information sharing. I would and will recomend this laptop to anyone!
For the past few weeks I have been battling with my current laptop who, I suppose quite rightly after years of use and abuse decided to to give up and stop working. Panic stricken, I reached for my car keys to go in search of a new laptop. How would I survive without access to the internet???
After a short while of trapesing around the shops I decided that this time I would buy a netbook. My rationale for this was that; a. they are cheaper than your original sized laptops and b. Now that I have finished university I don't need something with lots of memory and fancy features, just something I can access the internet on.
Thanks to my trusty iphone, I was able to look up reviews on the netbooks that had caught my eye and two of them stood out from the rest. The prices of the netbooks were all within the same range starting at around £199.99 and increasing to as much as £349.99.
The HP 210 mini and the Parkard Bell Dot were the two netbooks in the running for my affections and after reading many reviews, I still couldn't decide. The specification of the two were almost identical except that the HP had longer battery life and the comments people had made on their reviews were also very similar. So, in the end I let my girly instincts take over and decide for me and chose the HP 210 mini because I prefer the shape of it and it such a gorgeous shade of pink!!!
I bought mine from Argos as it is currently on offer for £229.99 reduced from £269.99 but prices vary depending on where you look. I rushed home with my new toy and couldn't wait to get it out of it's box and have a play.
***HP Mini 210-2004sa Specification:***
Intel Atom N455.
Processor speed 1.66GHz.
1GB DDR3 RAM.
250GB hard drive
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Secure Digital (SD), xD, Multi-Media Card (MMC) compatible.
3 USB ports.
1 Ethernet port. B/g/n wireless/WiFi enabled
0.3MP built-in webcam.
Up to 10 hours battery life
Size H3.2, W2.28, D19.1cm.
***The HP Mini 210-2004sa***
The set up instructions were very simple thanks to the step by step guide provided in the box.
Once set up the first thing I noticed was the speed of the netbook, it was much slower than I am used to. This is something that I expected though, as I had read about it on other reviews. My technical minded boyfriend informed me that it was due to the fact that it only has 1GB DDR3 RAM, which is better than a lot of other netbooks I have seen, most of which offer DDR2 RAM but still is less than what an average laptop would have and therefore makes a difference. However, the light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the speed is that you can increase the GB of RAM (Hooray) to 2GB which I have been told makes a big difference in the performance of the netbook so is something I am considering doing (although I have no idea yet how you would do this!?!?). Despite the speed (which probably isn't really as slow as a I seem to be making it sound) you can have several tabs open at a time on internet explorer and can still watch TV shows online with no difficulty.
I really like th size of the netbook, which boasts a shiney, reflective 10.1" screen which literally displays what you would see on a normal laptop screen but smaller. The screen is suitable for watching TV shows and does not hinder your viewing. There is a black border around the screen which looks lovely and stylish but if you touch it, it will show your finger prints and start to look less stylish and more grubby, so I give mine a good clean every day to remove any smudgy finger prints. The netbook fits easily into my handbag (although my handbag is quite big) and is light enough for me to be able to carry it around for the majority of the day without getting shoulder ache - I love being able to just take my netbook anywhere without having to lug around a big heavy laptop bag!
There is no CD/DVD drive (but you can always purchase an external one) or HDMI, so you can't connect it to your TV, but this i not something I was looking for in a netbook and so it isn't something that bothers me. There are three USB ports which I think is really useful, especially if you do have an external CD/DVD drive, Hard drive, ipod or USB stick as it mean you can have then all plugged in at once! There is also a 5 in 1 memory card slot and a headphone socket.
The netbook comes with an integrated webcam, however I still haven't quite figured out how to use it.
The mouse pad is easy to use and has left and right mouse buttons at the bottom of the pad, however, these are not completely seperat and so you can have your finger on one of the mouse buttons and still be able to move the courser, something that has, on ocassion lead to me clicking on the wrong thing, but this is only a minor problem and if you watch what you are doing, you should have an issue with it. The keyboard itself is silver in colour, something that I think goes really well with the pink top and bottom of the netbook. The keyboard is just like what the Apple macbooks have, I think it is called an island design keyboard and this is a feature that I really like.
This netbook comes fully loaded with windows 7 Starter, which is fairly good and provides you with all the basics that you need, however, I would personally like to be able to change the picture on my desktop but this is not something that Windows 7 Starter gives you the option to do. Of course you could always install another programme such as the original Windows 7 Home which would then allow you to do this.
I think this is a great little netbook and now that I have gotten used to it, it doesn't seem so slow. I love the fact that it has such a long lasting battery as it means that once I have fully charged it, I can take it anywhere and not have to worry about having to charge it for ages, so far the battery has lasted jut over 8 hours with quite a large amount of usage. The overall design of the netbook is very stylish and I adore the bright pink colour of the netbook! This netbook is also available in different colours which I think is great as it means there is likely to be a HP 210 netbook for everyone. This netbook does everything I need from a computer and looks good doing it while costing a fraction of the price! I would definately recommend it!
I have had my netbook for around six months now and everything was going well with it and it was achieving everything I needed to use it for, despite it being smaller and a bit slower than an average laptop. But about a week ago disaster struck....
I went to switch on my netbook as usual and a black screen with white writing appeared stating that I had a "Hard Disk Error". Now, I am not at all technically minded so I called my boyfriend into the room to take a look. He followed the instructions on screen and it seemed he was just going around in circles as the text on the screen just informed him that "hard disk cannot be detected". Thankfully, I had kept the receipt and packaging and took it back to Argos. I am still waiting to hear about whether or not it can be repaired.
I haven't downloaded anything onto the netbook that could have affected its function in this way and all my internet safety software is up to date and it has never been dropped or damaged in anyway, so I'm quite disappointed that my netbook that is only six months old could have a genuine fault . I'm hoping it can be repaired but in the mean time I have no computer of my own and I'm having to use my boyfriends. I am very disappointed with hp as I have always thought of them as a reliable brand.
I was bought this netbook as a birthday gift last year. I picked it out myself, due to three major characteristics:
(a) its size. I looked at lots of laptops before I considered a netbook, but decided that I wanted something a bit more portable - laptops seem to be getting bigger and bigger these days, and I sometimes used to struggle to lug my old one about the house, let alone take it our with me! When I first opened the package for the 10.1" HP mini, I have to say I was initially a bit worried it was too small, but one I got it on and adjusted the browser magnification on it, it was fine. Wierdly, I now find my other half's laptop way too much to take in! Its like going online in a cinema in comparison!
(b) its weight. Again due to laziness issues and the fact I have a dodgy back. The HP Mini weighs just about 1.2kg - you can carry this in your handbag all day and not even notice it, which is brilliant. Its also much lighter if you use it plugged in without the battery, although then obviously you have to carry the charger around.
(c) battery life. I actually couldn't find the official information on this anywhere, but I assumed that as a netbook it would be decent, and far better than a regular laptop. Mine goes for up to ten hours if I'm just surfing the web or its just sat downloading stuff for me, and the minimum I've noticed was at least five hours when I've been using heavy gaming software. This is brilliant for me, as my partner's from Glasgow, and we regularly drive up and down. Now, with the help of a dongle, I can check traffic and book hotels on the way there while he does the driving - and then I can play Zoo Tycoon to pass the time!
I have not come across any major drawbacks to my netbook - its a little slower than I'm used to when its running lots of stuff at once, but thats only to be expected I guess. It's never crashed on me yet (touch wood) and the only time I've had a virus get in it only took a system restore to make everything right again.
You may have guessed that I am not a techno guru, but I hope I have explained why I would recommend this computer to prospective purchasers. If you're hovering over the netbook/laptop conundrum, please be assured that size doesn't matter!
I have deducted a star for the fact its only available in boring colours (silver and black).
I am not a technical whizz so this review is written from the perspective of a light user without much knowledge of the things that go into making a netbook what it is, I will endeavour to do some research to back up my personal experience, and add details direct from the box at the end of the review for those that know what they mean. If you know what something is for that I don't have a clue about, such as the sim card slot, feel free to add your comment/information, I would be nothing but grateful. Thanks.
I have been complaining for some time that I never have access to a laptop when I need it, even though I technically have one of my own the family monopolise it to the point of recently messing it up with a coke tsunami so that it is almost unusable. I decided I was never going to be able to save up for a new laptop of my own so bought the HP 210-2004sa mini netbook, in crimson red from Great Universal catalogue, where it cost a little more than it would in a shop or on Amazon but I do get to spread the payments, and get 5% back on the purchase price. It costs £279.99 on Amazon at the moment.
There wasn't a lot in the box, the netbook itself, which had a black protective piece of what almost seemed paper but was in fact stiff cloth between the screen and keys. I use this as a cleaning cloth, but don't think that is its function. There is very little paper work with this laptop not even a quick start guide. The only thing that could be called a guide really is a large sheaf of paper with very basic details of where everything is on the netbook, and then tells you how to get into the online guide. I appreciate that people often complain about the phone book thick instruction booklets which used to come with laptops, but I would like some kind of hard copy introducing me to my machine. Personally I don't like having to search for everything in the pre loaded version, although I'm using the netbook I'm not 100% savvy in using the full range of functions and would like a book of some kind even if only a thin basic one that I can peruse and compare to my netbook at my leisure.
The netbook is very easy to set up, The on switch is on the bottom right hand side and is a slider then simply follow the onscreen instructions and you are ready to go in a few minutes. It has a glossy edge to edge screen with 10.1 inch display which is not High Definition, (you can get the 210 in HD), I have found this affected how my email is displayed, I have to use yahoo classic rather than the full newer version. Although I must admit I actually prefer this and didn't like it when using the old laptop my mail seemed to morph one day seemingly without any choice by myself. The mini connects to your wireless network (if that is what you have) with great ease, needing only your security code if you have one, on the initial set up. A key at the right hand side of the top row of keys lights up with the internet symbol when this is in use.
The keypad is an island design which I find very aesthetically pleasing. This part of the laptop is a 'flat' pewtery silvery colour, which personally I'm not terribly keen on, I prefer black or white but this is just personal taste. The keys are nice and responsive and the unit feels solid, the keypad is 93% full size. I touch type and I find no problem with the spacing of the keys. I do however sometimes find that some of the letters do not respond (contradiction after saying the key pad is responsive) when struck during fast touch typing as you do not always hit the key in the centre and in a directly downward motion. These keys respond perfectly well when poked down with a one finger action so perhaps this is something that needs ironing out, or it could just be an individual quirk on my specific machine, with my keyboard it is the A and M that often do not appear when they should.
The mouse/tracker pad? Is not delineated from the surrounded body and there is no distinction by feel between the pad and the left and right click buttons. There is also a gesture function on the track pad one of these functions is to expand what you are seeing on screen somewhat like the iphone zoom where you put two fingers close together and part them. This in theory should zoom what you see on the screen, and I find with the 10.1 inch screen that I do sometimes need this to read small text; I'm not as young as I was.... I find this can be a bit sluggish to respond. There is a small light in the top left hand corner of the track pad which is off when this operation is functional, when it is switched off the light comes on, which seems counter intuitive to me. You switch this gesture function off by tapping twice on this light. I also find the left click a bit unresponsive, I often find myself touching, then jabbing away at the right or left click button to no avail, and then tapping the main pad also to no avail. Sometimes it works straight away other times takes a few frustrating goes. I don't want to bother with an external mouse as it's a handy small portable device Ideal for use on the go, or in awkward spaces and I like having everything there in one small package ready to go.
I chose this netbook because it has 250gb of hard drive memory, whereas most other similarly sized netbooks for the same price or more had only 160gb. Initially after I had bought it I felt that maybe had made a mistake in this respect, as I don't store a huge amount of photographs, documents and music etc on my computers, but use them a lot for streaming and watching live T.V. and YouTube etc. I saw something after purchase that said that GB of ram is more important for this activity as it is the main thing that affects the speed of your machine (outside of broadband width), and this little netbook comes with only 1gb of DDR3 ram. However apparently it is quite simple to upgrade this to 2gbs of DDR3, which is the most this netbook will support. If you need to remove the bottom casing to access the RAM or hard drive it comes off fairly easily. When you remove the battery you will see an orange 'button' on the left hand side, utilise this to release and wiggle the metal cover up and away it should come away without too much force.
Despite being worried about the playback quality of this netbook, (especially as the family laptop can be very buffery with double the RAM at 2gb), but I have yet to have a problem. I can watch my favourite i-player, channel 4, YouTube etc with no or little buffering. I have to say that I am not a fanatical about playback quality, and I don't obsess over HD and absolute clarity of picture, as long as it doesn't keep stopping so that you miss chunks of the dialogue or action I'm fine. If you want visuals that are pin sharp you would probably do better getting an entry level laptop that has higher specs. To be honest if the budget were not balanced on a knife edge at the moment I would probably have spent the extra £50 or so to get a slightly more powerful machine, but I could not go a penny higher.
This netbook comes preinstalled with Windows 7 starter, which seems ok, one thing I would like to be able to do is customise my desktop, it seems that this can't be done with the starter version of vista. It is a small thing and doesn't really matter, but I quite like seeing a welcoming picture when I switch on rather than cool blue tones and hp logo.
I don't tend to install lots of programs on my netbook nor do I play games on it, though I have added Open Office, and use Mozilla Firefox browser. I must admit that this little machine is a pleasure to use, I have had no real difficulty with the smaller size of the screen, and as mentioned playback is fine and much better than many slightly higher RAM laptop, this may be in part due to the fact that the Intel atom processor has been upgraded to N455, and the 1GB of Ram is DDR3 not DDR2 as its recent predecessors had. Despite only having 1GB Ram this little machine can easily handle several tabs open at once, enough for me, but probably not for my daughter who is usually watching two programs at once, has YouTube running, and is producing gifs and emailing all at the same time. For moderate use this is just fine.
You do have an integrated webcam with this product, however I wouldn't use a webcam for anything other than to send a visual SOS, nobody wants to see my ugly chops while I'm ranting at them, or any other part of my body for that matter.... You dating site 'do you want to cam'? lotharios out there know who you are, it's not nice put it away it scares the pets (set my sister up on a site, not myself, honest!). I assumed the quality of the webcam being vga would be rubbish, but I have to admit my niece did get is switched on (I'm afraid I don't know how, sorry) to show of her mad techie skills and chat to her friend, and it looks pretty good, a little bit psychedelic where the movements may blur from one position to another if you move too fast, but overall it's pretty clear, and not too jumpy.
This comes 3 USB ports and a 5in1 memory card reader. There is no HDMI but it does have a VGA out. There is a Sim card slot behind the battery; I have no idea what this is even for? So please forgive that piece of ignorance, and if anyone could tell me, in simple language for the technically challenged I would be delighted.
The headphone jack is near the front of the left hand side and the power input port is this side too. The power input ...umm ..... plug?....Jack?.... tip Anyway it's a bit thin, but on my model the cable attached to the tip is contained in a L shaped casing which gives it a little more strength and makes it less likely to wear and break at this point over prolonged use.
The 6 cell battery gives excellent life; I have taken this out with me and not had to charge it until I got home nearly 8 hours later, and then the battery still had 10% life in it after moderate usage. That is another feature I like with this machine, in the display at the bottom right there is a little battery icon, if you click on this it will tell you the percentage of battery life left. I can't say just how long the battery lasts with moderate usage as I haven't run it right down yet.
You do have the option of HP quick start which allows you to access the internet without waiting for Windows to start up, I haven't used this option so I can't say whether it is worth doing or not. I am familiar with windows so am quite happy to wait the extra few seconds this may take to kick in. It all seems fairly fast anyway.
Apart from the lack of an integrated optical drive and HDMI which I wouldn't expect on a netbook anyway, for my needs this is just as good if not a bit better than my laptop. If I want to watch something without interminable buffering I would rather watch it on the neat 10.1 screen relatively smoothly than on my 15 inch screen and miss half of it. It gives me everything that I need from a computer and is much more portable. As evidenced by a couple of easy problem free trips via bus in my normal every day handbag - admittedly not a small neat ladylike bag - but a normal bag not a briefcase or lap top bag all the same. A very nice netbook.
This is a list of the technical specs that are printed on the side of the box as promised.
Intel Atom N455 processor (1.66GH).
250GB hard drive
1024MB DDR3 SDRAM (1 Dimm)
Genuine Windows 7 Starter (32 bit)
HP Quick Web
25.6cm (10.1") diagonal WSVGA HP BrightView Infinity
LED Display (1024 x 600)
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 with shared graphics memory
802 11 b/g/n WLAN
Multi-in1 Digital Media Register
6-Cell 66WHr Lithium-Ion Battery
I previously had a Samsung Nc20 12 inch netbook which I was generally happy with give or take a few little problems. Unfortunately a few weeks ago afer only having it for 13 months it just suddenly stopped working and there was nothing I could do to salvage it. I was really upset because I had a lot of pictures and files on it that of course I hadn't backed up and they were now lost forever but on the plus side it now meant that I had an excuse to buy myself a new laptop.
I didn't want to buy a cheaper 15 inch laptop as I had got used to being able to throw my computer in my bag and not be in pain at the end of the day but I didn't want a 10 inch netbook either as in the shop I had found them to be to small and they strained my eye trying to read the text.
To be honest the sheer choice of laptops was a little overhwelming. I saw the HP mini 210 and I completely changed my mind about buying a netbook. Even though it was 10 inches somehow the screen looked much bigger than this and it had a premium look and feel to it. From the specifications it looked to be more powerful than my previous netbook which as I said I had been happy enough with if a little frustrated at times with the lack of power.
=== SPECIFICATIONS ===
The HP mini is first and foremost a netbook so don't buy this expecting it to be a high performer, however for a netbook the specs are pretty impressive. I have the HP mini 210-2004sa which is the newest model and the specs for this one are better than the previous generation of 210. Be careful if you are thinking about buying one as the previous model is still being sold in a lot of shops for the exact same price as the newer upgraded one and the performance of that one won't be able to match the one I have.
The HP mini 210 has a new improved Intel Atom N455 processor where as the previous model had a N450 chip. The Atom N455 processor is a new chip specially designed for netbooks to allow them better processing power and faster speeds.
The HP mini 210 also has 1 GB DDR3 RAM instead of the 1 GB DDR2 which is more often seen on netbooks and has a large SATA 7200rpm 250GB hard drive for storing all your movies, music etc.
It comes with bluetooth, 3 USB ports and a 5in1 memory card reader for easy transfer of files. There is no HDMI but it does have a VGA out.
For connecting to the internet it has inbuilt WiFi 802.11 b/g and an ethernet port for those times a WIFI connection is unavaliable.
The screen is a 10.1in WSVGA LED BrightView monitor which is 1024 x 600, an Intel GMA 3150 Dynamic Video card, a Lithium Ion battery and it comes bundled with windows 7 starter.
=== LOOKS ===
My HP mini is crimson red and is gorgeous to look at. The outside casing is plastic but looks like metal and the red colouring is glossy and bright. There are no sharp square edges to the mini and it instead is curved and rounded t the corners and as I mentioned it has a really high end look and feel to it.
When you open it up the atention to detail is continued on the inside with a really nice screen and keyboard. The screen is framed in black and although it is plastic again it shines like glass.
The keyboard is nesrly full sized and all the keys are spaced well part from each other and it doesn't look crowded. The whole netbook just looks really neat and expensive and unless you tap your finger nail againt the screen or casing there is no way you would ever guess it is made from plastic and wasn't some high end metal and glass creation.
=== PRICE ====
I paid £299 for this netbook which to me equals great value. I bought mine from Very.co.uk as they had it in stock when I wanted it but you can also find it on Amazon and many other online and high street retailers. If you shop around you can find it for as little as £269 at the minute which is a bargain and if you are looking for one then I recommend you grab it at this price.
=== My experience of using the HP mini 210 ===
Using the HP mini has been an enjoyable experience right from the start. Setting it up only took a few minutes and I have been using it problem free ever since. The initial set up consisted of me having to insert the battery (which incedentally isn't one of those ugly monstrosoties that stick out) plug in the charger and turn it on. I had to go throught the set up screen and click a few times and that was it.
I mainly use this as an entertainment netbook meaning that it is basically used for internet, downloading movies and listening to music. I have no complicated programmes on it and nor do I intend to but for what I use it for it works fantastically.
The internet is a joy to use and I barely notice the fact that I am using a 10 inch screen. Ocassionally I will have to scroll to be able to fit in something onscreen but I now do this automatically and I never feel like the smaller screen is a hinderence. I installed firefox and use this as my main browser and It is really speedy with no notieable lag and I can quite easily have 5 or 6 tabs open at once and it never has a problem with keeping up.
Webpages load super quick and the mini can display them all with no problems including flash heavy sites. Sites like youtube are fine and I have never had any trouble with viewing a normal deifinition video on it.
The windows 7 starter that comes pre indstalled is fine for me and I haven't yet felt the need to uninstall and put in something else. It looks and feels like every other windows I have ever used and only has a few minor diffrences.
It did come with a trial of mcafee which I immediately uninstalled as this does nothing but continually ask you to complete set up and I didn't actually want mcafee on my computer. Other than this the rest of the software is quite good and it comes with HP's own media system for viewing pictures and movies. This is ok but I like using windows and VLC player instead and it is easy to do this.
I watch a lot of movies and TV on my laptop and this initially worried me that the screen wouldn't be up to scratch but so far I am enjoying watching them on it. It is so nice to be able to lie in bed with the laptop on my knee and watch something. videos look great and are nice and bright and the sound is also pretty impressive from such a little thing. Ocassionally there is a slight jerkiness to the video but this is rare.
You can upgrade the RAM with the mini to DDR3 2GB instead of the included 1GB as this is supported and to begin with I fully intended to do this straight away. I thought that the 1GB of RAM would just be too slow but I have never experienced this yet and that is with 5 or 6 webpages open and itunes running in the background along with utorrent. The mini has never struggled to keep up which is impressive as I upgraded my samsung to 2GB RAM and it would struggle with only half of what the HP can cope with.
I still intend on upgrading the RAM eventually but I really don't feel a rush as it is zippy as is but I am curious to see what I will be able to throw at it when it has the 2GB DDR3.
The 250GB hard drive is fantastic as I like to have a lot of things stored on my computer at once. I hve loads of movies, music and photos and still have plenty of room left. I really appreciated this size of hard drive on such a small computer. The memory card reader and bluetooth is great and I love not having to plug in cables to transfer files between my various devices.
Probably the best thing about the mini HP 210 is the battery life. Don't be fooled in reading reviews on the previous model which states batery life as being 3 and a half hours as the new model actually now gets nearly 8 hours. This is fantasic and is actually true as I have used it loads without the charger and it seems to last forever.
If I had one problem with the HP mini it would be it's lack of HDMI. I would love to be able to connect it to my widescreen TV and watch movies this way instead of having to connect an external hard drive to burn a dvd. I know there is a way to connect VGA but it seems a little complicated and the addition of HDMI would have made this netbook absolutely perfect in my opinion.
=== Conclusion ===
Most people will probably never think a netbook could replace their computer but for me this little HP mini has done pretty much that. I toyed with the idea of getting this and saving up to buy a macbook but since having it and using it everyday I really don't think there is a need as this does everything I ask of it with no problems whatsoever.
It is fast and a joy to use and it draws admiring glances when I am out and about with it and because it is so light and small it makes it extremely portable which I appreciate as I travel a lot.
The mini 210 2004sa is a fantastic piece of kit at a great price and I highly recommend it to you if you are in the market for a new netbook.