Review: HP Mini 1000

HP’s newest netbook, the Mini 1000, is lighter, svelter, stronger, better tasting, and yes, even cheaper than its predecessor.

Earlier this year, HP released its first stab at a netbook, The HP Mini 2133. Sexy and sleek, the Mini had one big problem: a price tag that could reach $750.

HP hastily reworked its offering (the earlier 2133 actually runs Vista using a low-grade Via CPU) and came up with the Mini 1000, a slimmer, less expensive netbook that actually competes with other miniaturized machines on the market.

The 1000 is not only extremely thin (less than an inch thick, all around), it’s the lightest 10.2-inch netbook we’ve tested, at just under 2.5 pounds. For the most part, HP doesn’t skimp on features to hit this weight, either.: The model we tested includes the now-standard 1.6-GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1 GB of RAM, Windows XP, and an incredibly bright widescreen LCD. (Among netbooks, only the Acer Aspire One is brighter.) An SSD alternative is also available.

The only place where HP cuts corners is the 60-GB hard drive. Compare that to the Asus Eee PC 1000H, which fields an 80-GB version, while the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 offers a full 160 GB.

With its Mac-like good looks (the discontinued black Macs, that is), the Mini 1000 is a head -turner, but I found it more difficult to work with day to day. HP has admirably squeezed a 92 percent-size keyboard into the machine’s tiny frame, but typing on it is difficult. Why? Because there’s virtually no space between the keys. It’s tricky to touch-type because your fingers tend to wander from their proper position and you don’t realize it. Even after typing for hours, I never got used to it. The trackpad is another point of contention, with vertical buttons placed on either side of the pad, not horizontally beneath it. It’s not a problem if you’re a one-button kinda guy, but heavy right-clickers will often be frustrated.

Back to the most nagging complaint with the Mini 1000: the price. While it’s not $750 (thank God), the unit we tested still hits $550 as configured, which boosts the price well above its competition. On an otherwise solid netbook, you should carefully consider its drawbacks: a smaller hard drive, difficult typing and the price of the machine.

Also of note: The Mini 1000 is HP’s first version of this machine and runs Windows XP. Look for a Linux-based offering called the Mini 1000 MIE to arrives in January 2009. Its heavily customized version of Linux (courtesy of HP’s interface designers) will come with a $20 discount.

  • RAM Size: 1 GB
  • Clock Rate: 1.6 GHz
  • Hard Drive Size: 60 GB
  • Screen Size: 10 inches
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