Will tablets sound the death knell for netbooks? There are people with strong views on both sides. For the moment, though, enough people want Windows and a keyboard to keep these low-powered laptops afloat. HP is committed to netbooks and recently updated its Mini line – the entry-level product in which is the HP Mini 210 3000sa.
Sturdy build quality
The HP mini 210 3000sa is a tough little customer. It weighs a somewhat hefty 1.39kg, and feels overly heavy for its size of 268x191x32mm (wdh). That might make lugging it around a bit of a chore, but a fair bit of the weight has been expended on a very solid chassis, with the lid section in particular benefiting. You could throw this netbook around in a bag and be pretty confident of its ability to withstand knocks and bumps.
You might not be blown away by the inclusion of Windows 7 Starter Edition on this device, though that’s par for the course for netbooks ingeneral. And there’s a secondary ‘mini’ OS that can be booted into thanks to a second on/off switch sitting next to the main one above the keyboard area.
This mini OS offers you access to the web and audio playback, but not much more. We’re not that impressed, to be honest. Going back to the tablets comparison, booting any tablet is fast and gives you the full range of features. Here, it takes a minute to get into Windows, and only then do you have access to everything the HP mini 210 3000sa can do.
A few nice extras
Netbooks never offer the most exciting range of specifications. So, here we have the usual 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 and 1GB of RAM. Things run a bit slow – and again, during testing, we were mentally making comparisons with the tablets we use regularly and we just felt the HP mini 210 3000sa was at a bit of a speed disadvantage.
There’s a 10.1in screen and a predictable range of ports and connectors, with an external monitor connector, three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, SD, microphone and headphones jacks. The 250GB hard drive might be useful, ditto the webcam, but there is, of course, no optical drive – so if you want to watch DVDs on the train, you’ll have to lug around and connect up an external drive.
We like the inclusion of Beats audio, which delivers reasonably good quality sound even at high volumes, and the ability to disable the touchpad by double-tapping a small indent in its top left corner is a stroke of genius. It’s far too easy to accidentally hit the touchpad when typing and this disabling system is so easy to use that we took advantage of it a lot.
Contact: HP on 0845 2704142
- Solid build; easy to disable touchpad; good audio.
- Like all netbooks, lacks and optical drive; somewhat slow at times.
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the HP mini 210 3000sa, and if you need Windows and a keyboard it may suffice. Its solid build could be alluring too.