Until the release of Windows 7 and the next generation of Atom processors (or until CULV processors take over the market), Netbooks have hit a wall. That being said, you know what you're getting when you're shopping for a Netbook these days: 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Windows XP, and a 1.6 GHz N270 Atom processor in 9 out of 10 cases. Prices are dropping and battery life is increasing on average, but it's a war of design and occasional feature creep.
Into this crowded landscape, which it seems every manufacturer has plunged into except Apple, comes newcomer Hannspree. Known for novelty-shaped TVs and not much else, it's hardly recognized as a player in the PC market. We were skeptical when its me-too Netbook arrived in the office, looking quite generic and black.
The surprise is this: for $379, the Hannsnote not only has a good set of features, but it happens to be very usable. The keyboard is very comfortable, the screen is bright, and a number of features sometimes missing from budget Netbooks (Bluetooth, 802.11-n Wi-Fi) are actually included here. Are we saying to jump and buy the Hannsnote? Not exactly, but we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn't blindingly mediocre. Unfortunately, it's not exactly groundbreaking, either.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$379|
|Processor||1.6GHz Intel Atom N270|
|Memory||1GB, 533MHz DDR2|
|Hard drive||160GB 5,400rpm|
|Chipset||Intel 945GSE + ICH7M|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 950|
|Operating system||Windows XP Home SP3|
|Dimensions (WD)||12.3 x 8.7 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||10.1 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||2.9/3.6 pounds|
You'd be hard-pressed to pick this generic-looking Netbook out of a lineup. A glossy, fingerprint-loving finish on the outside adorned with chrome touches recalls the Asus EeePC 1008HA look. Inside, matte black rules the roost, closely resembling the formal look of the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2. A hinge, which opens smoothly, raises the Hannsnote's somewhat thick lid up and slightly behind the keyboard, affording a little extra distance from the screen. It's a solid-looking but professionally generic design--not ugly by any means, but black in the way that is this decade's beige. What is slightly surprising is that a company like Hannspree, once known for ridiculous consumer electronics designs, didn't decide to push the envelope on novelty Netbook designs here. The company clearly went for respectability over flash-in-the-pan, but it was perhaps a missed opportunity: ironically, several other manufacturers are starting to create novelty or heavily stylized Netbook designs, moving away from boring black.
The edge-to-edge keyboard isn't full-size, but its tapered keys are really responsive and surprisingly comfortable to type on. We had no problems writing this whole review on the Hannsnote without wanting to tear our hair out, which is no small achievement. In fact, this might be one of the better keyboards on a Netbook outside of Lenovo and HP. The touch pad, too, is both unassuming yet well-performing. There's no multitouch and the smooth matte pad is a bit too small, but it has excellent response. The two small buttons below are firm and have good click. The Hannsnote feels well-constructed, even down to the somewhat bulky yet nicely weighted frame. Its battery, rather than hanging off the edge like the IdeaPad S10-2, has been semi-integrated into the bottom. While the Hannsnote is far from superslim, the added padding gives it a certain bulk that made it pleasant to lap-type on.
The Hannsnote has a 10.1-inch LED screen with a resolution of 1,024x600, which is standard for a screen this size. One big addition--to some people--will be the matte screen, as opposed to the almost-ubiquitous glossy. While some of us here don't mind glossy, the Hannsnote's bright screen was very readable and exhibited almost no glare at all in office-use conditions. The internal speakers are fine for a Netbook, and were louder than average.
|Hannspree Hannsnote SN10E11BUF||Average for category [Netbook]|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks||headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||3 USB 2.0, SD card reader||2 USB 2.0, SD card reader|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
The Hannsnote has a standard selection of ports; you won't find HDMI or an ExpressCard slot. However, the Hannsnote does have both Bluetooth and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, much more important features in our opinion in a cloud-computing age.
In terms of configurations, the only decision to make is color. RAM can be upgraded to 2GB, like almost all Netbooks, but must be done after ordering. Our review unit came in Pearl Black, but the Hannsnote is also available in Pearl White.
The N270 processor inside the Hannsnote is exactly the same as many other Netbooks we've reviewed. Performance on our benchmark tests was about the same as any other Netbook we've recently covered, which is to say perfectly decent for regular office document work or basic Web browsing/e-mail, slightly less than ideal for video viewing and multimedia, and lousy for multitasking. For those looking for a basic-performing machine that will handle simple, everyday tasks, the Hannsnote is more than capable.
|Hannspree Hannsnote SN10E11BUF|
|Raw (annual kWh)||33.14|
|Annual operating cost (@$0.1135/kWh)||$3.76|
The Hannsnote's included six-cell battery ran for 5 hours and 9 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, which is better than average and actually matches what is advertised by Hannspree. However, there are Netbooks out there that are getting absolutely stupendous battery life, like the Asus EeePC 1005HA (another hour and a half better than the Hannsnote). If battery life is a deciding factor, there are better solutions out there.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)