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HP Mini 1001TU

HP Mini 1001TU

A good looking netbook that doesn't have enough to justify its price.

HP's Mini 1001TU is a netbook with plenty of style; it's black and it has a 10.2in glossy screen and a swirly pattern on its lid. It has an Intel Atom N270 CPU and runs the Windows XP operating system, and it has plenty of storage space for work files, music and videos. But it's far from perfect.

HP is targeting the mainstream market with this model, so it can't be directly compared to the 2133 Mini-Note PC (FH441PA), which is aimed at business users. But just for kicks, we'll do it anyway. The Mini 1001TU has a bigger screen (10.2in compared to 8.9in), but a lower resolution (1024x600 compared to 1280x768); it has a 1.8in 60GB hard drive compared to the Mini-Note's 2.5in 160GB hard drive; it runs Windows XP instead of Vista; it has an Intel Atom CPU and 1GB of DDR2 RAM instead of a VIA CPU and 2GB; and it lacks an ExpressCard slot.

These are the main differences between the two products, and at a glance the 2133 does appear to be the better, albeit slightly pricier, proposition. However, the 2133 does run much hotter, which can be uncomfortable when using it on your lap. The Mini 1001TU is cooler, and it is the ideal travel companion due to its smaller size and weight and longer battery life.

The Mini 1001TU didn't get overly warm after prolonged periods of use, and the majority of the heat was towards the front of the unit, near the RAM and wireless networking module. It's quite a comfortable unit to use while on the road: it's small and light but has bigger-than-normal keys for a netbook. It has a full complement of keys and they are easy to press, despite the unit being quite narrow. The only small keys are the arrow and function keys. The one thing that will take a lot of getting used to is the touchpad, which gripped too much. It's also shorter than usual, and its left- and right-click buttons are located on either side of the pad rather than above or below it. All these factors make it a little hard to use.

In our battery test, the Mini 1001TU's 3-cell, 24Wh (Watt hour) battery lasted only two hours and 20 minutes, which isn't a good time. We tested the battery by looping an XviD-encoded movie (640x352 resolution) while the screen brightness was at full blast and the wireless module was on.

On the bright side, videos were run without any stuttering or tearing and they looked good on the 10.2in screen. However, the screen is glossy and prone to reflections in brightly lit environments. If you encode your DVD collection to XviD or DivX, you can take a decent collection of films with you while you are on the road, making the Mini 1001TU a fine portable video player.

The Mini 1001TU's 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of RAM and 60GB, 4200rpm hard drive allowed the system to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s in 8min 4sec, which is a slow time. The ASUS Eee PC S101 performed the same task in 7min 18sec. But the ASUS has a solid-state drive, which indicates that the Mini 1001TU was let down by its slow conventional hard drive.

Nevertheless, the Mini 1001TU was responsive during everyday use, and it will perform relatively swiftly when browsing the Web, creating documents, playing music and displaying photos. You don't want to overload it with multiple tasks, however; even though its CPU is Hyper-Threaded, it will slow down to a crawl when you try to listen to music while browsing content-rich Web sites and simultaneously running a virus scan, for example.

The unit isn't easily user-serviceable, as plenty of screws and the keyboard need to be removed before you can access the drive and memory. In addition, the specifications say that 1GB is the maximum amount of memory that can be installed, and 1.8in drives can be hard to obtain; don't buy this netbook with the hope of upgrading or tweaking it easily in the future.

Connectivity is also limited: it only has two USB 2.0 ports and a shared microphone/headphone jack, which is odd. There is an expansion port for HP's external optical and hard drives, and also an SD card slot. You don't get the fastest networking options; there is a concealed 10/100 Ethernet port and an 802.11g wireless module. For the price you are paying, 802.11n should have been included. Bluetooth and a built-in webcam round out the features list.

While the HP Mini 1001TU looks good, it's underdone. It needs one more USB 2.0 port, faster wireless networking and a better battery, as well as a video output port. The fact that a proprietary port has been included, sacrificing separate headphone and microphone jacks, hampers the unit's multimedia capabilities. It's worth considering the Mini-Note over the Mini 1001TU, even if you're not a business user.


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