HP goes big with Netbook, thin with laptops

Hewlett-Packard unveils its first Netbook with an 11.6-inch screen and Nvidia's Ion chipset.

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday announced its first Netbook with an 11.6-inch screen and Nvidia's Ion chipset as well as two inexpensive "ultrathin" laptops.

HP Mini 311 Netbook uses an 11.6-inch screen and Nvidia Ion chipset
HP Mini 311 Netbook uses an 11.6-inch screen and Nvidia Ion chipset Hewlett-Packard

The Mini 311 is the first HP Netbook to use a large screen--11.6 inches exceeds the upper limit of 10 inches on standard Netbooks--and is the first to get high-octane Nvidia Ion graphics--the same graphics used in laptops such as the Apple MacBook Air.

The 11.6-inch diagonal LED display is available in high-definition 1366x768-pixel resolution. It includes HDMI and VGA video connectors.

Nvidia's Ion chipset is a graphics processing unit (GPU) that works together with the low-power Intel Atom processor to generate standard-laptop-like graphics performance.

"By processing data-intensive applications in parallel with the CPU, ION-based Netbooks offer many of the same capabilities of full-sized notebooks including support for all versions of Microsoft Windows," Nvidia said in a statement.

HP ultra-thin ProBook 5310m
HP 'ultrathin' ProBook 5310m Hewlett-Packard

Analysts believe that getting mainstream-laptop level of performance in a Netbook is important. "Our research shows that most people who buy a netbook expect it to behave like a full-sized notebook," according to a statement that Nvidia provided from Tim Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies. "With Ion-based Netbooks like this one from HP, consumers can expect a well-rounded experience and the ability to handle nearly all of their everyday computing needs," he said.

The Mini 311 will start at $399 in the U.S.

HP also introduced a couple of relatively inexpensive "ultrathins," the ProBook 5310m and Pavilion dm3. The ProBook 5310m is 0.9-inches thick, weighs in at 3.7 pounds, and sports a 13.3-inch diagonal LED high-definition display. It is offered with a Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 (low-power) processor and combines durable, black anodized aluminum with a magnesium frame.

The HP Pavilion dm3--also classified as an ultrathin--comes in an all metal design, with up to 10 hours of battery life via the standard six-cell battery. The dm3 uses a 13.3-inch diagonal LED screen and offers AMD or Intel processors and a discrete graphics chip.

HP Envy 13 laptop is a higher-priced, higher-performance thin laptop
HP Envy 13 laptop is a higher-priced, higher-performance thin laptop Hewlett-Packard

The HP ProBook 5310m starts at $699 with an Intel Celeron dual core and $899 with Intel Core 2 Duo. The notebook is expected to be available in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region on Oct. 22 with the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

The HP Pavilion dm3 starts at $549 with an AMD processor and $649 with an Intel processor and is expected to be available starting Oct. 22 with the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

The higher-priced and higher-performance sub-one-inch-thick "Envy 13" laptop bears some of the hallmarks of the MacBook Air, such as an aluminum body and a robust graphics chip. The Envy 13 will come with an Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400, ATI Radeon HD 4330 graphics, and a 1,366x768 display. It starts at $1,699.

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