Gearing Up, Mobile Social Style

HP Mini 210 1080-NR Blue Netbook

HP Mini 210 1080-NR Blue Netbook

Of all the new 1.66 Ghz Pine Trail-powered netbooks we got our hands on at the Consumer Electronics Show last month—and there were many—HP’s Mini 210 felt the best. Some might argue that by now netbooks are a commodity. All a PC manufacturer has to do is create a cheap, tiny body and pack it with cheap, tiny components. Just pop in the new Pine Trail—the newest flavor of Intel’s Atom puts the graphics and memory controller system right onto the processor chip, which is more energy efficient than the old version that had the controllers on a different chip.

HP did that, too, but the way it executed its design, along with a few software extras, makes the Mini 210 ideal for stowing and going.

The Mini 210 is available at Newegg for $349.99.

Read customer reviews of the HP Mini 210

Let’s start on the outside. Instead of a glossy finger-print smudged body, the 210 features a smooth, matte shell. It is tough, scratch-resistant, and attractive. The silver and black versions of the laptop feature an inlaid pattern, but the other available colors—blue and red--are more subtle with a solid shimmer. We especially like that the colored body appears on the bottom and top of the netbook.

The notebook itself is one of the lighter and thinner models we’ve seen—coming in at just under an inch and 2.7 pounds. Wrapped around the sides we found three USB ports (one on the left, two on the right), a VGA video port, headphone jack, Ethernet jack, power slider, and 5-in-1 card reader (3G service is available but wasn’t included with our review unit). Jutting out of the back is a prominent 6-cell battery which tilts the netbook to a slight downward angle when sitting on a flat surface.

A smaller, weaker battery is available, but we’d rather have the fat battery—it gave us all-day power. For a computer designed to be used on the go, battery efficiency is of utmost importance. We think the Pine Trail chip contributed to the fact that we were able to use this netbook for a full work week’s worth of night-time sofa veg-out sessions without charging. We think it is reasonable to say that it could last at least eight hours of normal use.

Upon opening the 10-inch netbook we found a Web cam and a glossy LED backlit display with a resolution of 1024 x 600. The black keyboard reaches 92%, which was just big enough to make our (admittedly smaller than average) hands fly over the keys. That, coupled with the fact that the keys are of the “chiclet” variety—they’re spaced out like individual islands rather than cramped together plateaus—gave us speed and comfort. In fact, we’d go so far as to say the 210 features the most comfortable keyboard of any 10-inch netbook we’ve tested.

The touchpad, however, is merely average with the entire thing acting as one giant button with stripes dictating where the right and left buttons go. It is better than having vertical buttons along each side of the touchpad, as some netbooks do, but we still prefer two real buttons.

On the software side, though the 210 comes with Windows 7 Starter Edition, we liked the option to start up HP’s Slashtop QuickWeb tool, which grants speedy access to a Web browser and Internet applications without booting into Windows. Other bits of software you probably won’t uninstall include HP’s CloudDrive online storage tool for music, files and photos, and MediaStream for streaming to another PC.

When factoring in looks, price, battery life and comfort (what else would you ask for in a netbook?), the Mini 210 is our choice for mobile bloggers.

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  • drip50291
    If my lifestyle was as such, the most important thing i would want to know is how fast i could get recording. Because the worst thing is where you see something happen and you cant pull out your camera in time or you cant get it up running and recording video fast enough. Next time toms does a review of this nature i want the "in the bag to recording video in your hands" time. That's what a blogger or anyone who wants to share an experience that happened to them wants to know. There needs to be a button on every camera, camera phone, and video cam for instant record or pictures. Just pull out your recording device, hit this button (whether the device is on or not), and you got a picture/vid of whatever you just saw instantly. No going through menus and what not. The bag in a review like this should almost have a video camera holster so that the camera can be protected when on the go but can be quickly drawn out to "shoot". No body thinks of these things, but when a split second accident occurs your gonna have no time to capture it when your Kodak camera takes 10 sec to boot up. Still a great review btw
  • Tomsguiderachel
    Anything for you.
    I just tested this feature on the Vado HD. 3.3 seconds.
    2.8 of those seconds is to press the button to power it on and have the ready screen appear. Half a second to go from ready to actual recording.
    I'd say that's pretty darn quick but I will compare it to the Flip Mino HD tomorrow! If I recall correctly, this is faster than the Flip.
  • drip50291
    Thank you!!! That's some impressive feedback!! Much
  • JohnnyLucky
    That's a lot of extra stuff to carry around. I don't think I want to do that.