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HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition (white) review: HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition (white)

HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition (white)

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Dan Ackerman
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Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a semi-regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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4 min read

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Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Holiday Roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.

OVR
6.4

HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition (white)

The Good

Small footprint; excellent keyboard; unusual design.

The Bad

Chunky body; awkward touch pad and mouse buttons.

The Bottom Line

HP's excellent workhorse, the Mini 110, gets a cool graphical makeover, but you can get similar components for less.

The HP Mini 110 originally offered a decent combo of cool design, typical Netbook components, and a reasonable price. In the months since its initial release, we've seen other Netbooks do more for less, and without the Mini 110's most damning compromise, an awkward elongated touch pad with mouse buttons pushed off to the side.

This particular retail configuration, the HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition, is different only in that it features a graphical treatment from Dutch industrial designer Tord Boontje (who also designs products for Target stores). The white floral print, on stacked semi-transparent layers that give off a slight 3D effect, is pleasant enough, but not so much as to justify a $50 price increase (to $399) over identical configurations in plain solid white.

Other than that, we found a standard set of Netbook components, including an Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM, Windows 7 starter, and a 160GB 5,400rpm HDD. HP's own newer Mini 311 offers an HD screen and Nvidia Ion graphics for the same starting price, so while we're very fond of the Mini 110, this model makes sense only if you can find it at a reasonable discount.

Price as reviewed $399
Processor 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
Memory 1GB, 533MHz DDR2
Hard drive 160GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel 945GM Express
Graphics Intel GMA 950 (integrated)
Operating System Windows 7 Starter
Dimensions (WD) 10.3 x 6.6 inches
Height 1.2 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 10.1 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 2.6/3.2 pounds
Category Netbook

The Mini 110 mixes up typical Netbook dimensions, adding some thickness, but reducing the front-to-back depth, making for a smaller desktop footprint than usual. It feels chunky in the hand (and in your laptop bag), but when open, the keyboard tray has essentially zero wasted space.

While the new inlaid graphics are attractive, we found it somewhat bizarre that HP reps, when originally showing us this Tord Boontje design, kept breathlessly repeating that it was expressly for the purpose of attracting female customers. Perhaps because they thought it looked like a wedding invitation?

The excellent keyboard, with wide, flat keys, is still one of our minilaptop favorites, but the wide-and-short touch pad surface is awkward and makes scrolling a pain. The mouse buttons are pushed to the far left and right sides, rather than sitting below the touch pad, and are also inconvenient. Since we first saw this design, most Netbook-makers (including HP) have settled on a traditional touch pad/mouse button layout.

The 10.1-inch wide-screen display offers a 1,024x576-pixel native resolution, which is slightly lower than the 1,024x600 standard for a screen this size. That's generally fine for most Web surfing, but newer Netbooks have traded up to 1,200x768 screens, which provide more readable real estate.

  HP Mini 110 Average for category [netbook]
Video VGA VGA
Audio Combo headphone/mic jack headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion None None
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive None None

The Mini 110 has a reasonable set of ports and connections, but watch out for the split single headphone/mic jack, which can cause problems if you want to record and monitor audio at the same time.

Intel's single-core 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU offers enough computing power for the basic tasks for which Netbooks are designed--namely Web surfing, working on documents, and some basic multimedia playback. Keep in mind that the next generation of Atom chips is around the corner, and even some current or very imminent models include the dual-core Atom and Nvidia's Ion graphics chip; so the standards of acceptable Netbook performance may be about to change.

Juice box
HP Mini 110-1131dx Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.55
Sleep (10%) 0.61
Idle (25%) 6.43
Load (05%) 16.13
Raw kWh Number 24.57
Annual Energy Cost $2.79

Annual power consumption cost
HP Mini 110-1131dx
$2.79 

In our video playback battery drain test, the Mini 110 ran for 2 hours and 26 minutes, using the included three-cell battery. Many models, including the Asus 1005HA, manage to fit in a 5-hour-plus six-cell battery without adding much in terms of size or weight. For a very portable system such as this, anything less than 3 hours is a letdown.

The system includes an industry-standard, one-year, parts-and-labor warranty from HP. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and driver downloads.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Mini 110-1131dx
3,364 

Microsoft Office productivity test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Mini 110-1131dx
1,181 

Jalbum photo conversion test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Mini 110-1131dx
187 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Mini 110-1131dx
146 

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

HP Mini 110-1131dx
Windows 7 Starter; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Samsung 5,400rpm

Toshiba NB205-N325BL
Windows 7 Starter; 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 215MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1005HAGB
Windows XP Home Edition SP3; 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270; 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 950; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

OVR
6.4

HP Mini 110-1131dx Tord Boontje Edition (white)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 6Performance 7Battery 5Support 6