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CNET First Look
HP Mini 311HP's Mini 311 adds a larger, high-definition display and advanced graphics to a basic Netbook, while keeping the price very appealing. Once it starts shipping with Windows 7, this could become our favorite Netbook.
>> Dan: I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here with the HP Mini 311; this is a NetBook that is a couple tweaks away from possibly becoming my favorite NetBook. As you can see it's an 11 inch system a little bit bigger than its typical 10 inch NetBook an 11.6 inch display that is an HD display in that the screen resolution is 1366 by 768 instead of the usual 1024 by 600 that you find on most 10 inch NetBooks. Like a lot of the other HP systems it's got these slightly scalloped wide-faced keys on the keyboard, so we like the keyboard though the keys tend to wiggle just a tiny bit. The touch-pad less fond of it's a nice big size but it's made of the same material as the rest of the wrist rest. It kind of gives you a little bit of finger drag there. There's 2 little buttons down here that are kind of sliver like and a little hard to hit. Again, not super fond of that. So why do we like the Mini 311 so much it's because it's the first NetBook we've seen with NVIDIA's ion graphics chip. That is advanced integrated graphics. Not quite a discrete graphics chip that they can now put in low power systems. Now, other than that NVIDIA ion chip you're gonna find a fairly standard NetBook set of components an Intel Atom processor, Windows XP, 1G of RAM, but obviously we all want to see what this NVIDIA ion can do. So we've got a 720P HDWMV file. If you're trying to play this on a regular NetBook it would just stutter if it would really play at all. And you can see after a little jump at the beginning it plays really smooth, very pleasantly surprised to see that. So gaming for NetBooks is never really been much of an option. With the integrated Intel graphics in most NetBooks you'd be lucky if you can do a browser-based game like Glams [assumed spelling] versus Zombies definitely not any kind of, you know, 3D first person shooter. So we loaded up Call of Duty 4 on here. We had to knock the resolution down to 800 by 600, turn most of the graphic settings to low quality, but you know what we end up with a fairly playable experience right here. It's not a great gaming experience. It's not gonna replace either your Xbox or your big gaming rig but for a little kind of Warcraft on the go it's certainly a major step forward for a low-cost portable NetBook style system. So why is the HP Mini 311 a couple tweaks away from being our favorite NetBook? Well, 2 things, 1 right now it comes with Windows XP. Obviously at the end of October Windows 7 is gonna come out and as NetBooks are exempt from all those free upgrade offers you'd certainly be pretty stupid not to wait a couple of weeks and get the Windows 7 version, which will also allow you to have more than one gig of RAM will definitely help with your gaming as well. Number 2, even though the NVIDIA ion graphics are great for watching HD video files they're not gonna help you much with online streaming Flash Video like you find at Hulu. That's because Flash Video and these semi discrete video graphics don't really talk to each other yet. That's actually gonna be fixed sometime in the next month or so with an upgrade to the Flash platform, so once that rolls through and once we get Windows 7 on this guy I can definitely see this being my new go-to NetBook. I'm Dan Ackerman and that's the HP Mini 311. ^M00:02:58 [ Music ]