New netbooks: HP Mini 1000, Compaq 7000, Vivienne Tam edition

Just when you thought the netbook market was congested enough, in comes HP with not one, but three new models

Just when you thought the netbook market was congested enough, in comes HP with not one, but three new models. The company recently unveiled the Mini 1000, the fashion-oriented Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam edition, and the slightly cheaper Compaq 700.

Details are sketchy on the latter, but we can tell you about the Mini 1000 and Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam. Both ditch the ponderous Via C7-M CPU seen in HP's previous netbook -- the 2133 Mini-Note -- in favour of a more trendy 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 chip. The Mini 1000 gets a choice of 8GB or 16GB solid-state drives, while the Vivienne Tam model gets a 60GB hard drive.

All three netbooks sport the same 1.1kg chassis -- bar a few cosmetic tweaks. They also use 10.1-inch screens with 1,024x768-pixel resolutions -- a change from the 2133 Mini-Note's 8.9-inch 1,280x768-pixel panel. All use the same glossy screen finish, so you'll struggle to use them outdoors.

HP wants to keep the prices as low as possible, so Windows XP is a no-no. Instead, all three get a Linux operating system with a 'Mobile Internet Experience' graphical user interface. This, we're told, is split across several categories, including Internet applications, Web sites, video, music and email.

There are a few notable cock-ups innovations you should be aware of. Firstly, HP appears to have removed the video output from all three machines, so you can't connect them to an external monitor. Then it decided to use a single dual-purpose audio port instead of discrete mic and headphone ports, so apps that need an external mic and headphones simultaneously are a no-go. Then it went and supplied just two USB ports and turned what should have been the third into a proprietary USB socket, which you can only use with HP's own Mini Mobile Drive.

Well done, HP. That's just what the public wanted. Thanks.

The Mini 1000 will be available mid-February 2009 for approximately £400, the Vivienne Tam edition comes out in January for the same price, while the Compaq Mini 700 will be released mid-December for around £300.

We're aiming to get a full review of all three machines shortly. In the meantime, click 'Continue' to see more pics. 

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