HP Mini 1151NR Netbook Review

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Introduction and Hardware
Introduction

We were recently impressed with Verizon’s latest Mobile Broadband device, the MiFi 2200, as you could connect 5 devices to it wirelessly via Wi-Fi and all of them would be connected to the Internet.  Now Verizon has raised the bar with the introduction of the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook.  If you are not familiar with Netbooks, they are basically a smaller version of a laptop/notebook, and are mostly used for web access and email, but can still run most Windows applications.  The HP Mini 1151NR is no exception, except that it comes with a built-in Mobile Broadband data card (HP un2400) that connects to Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network, as well as quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band UMTS/HSPA while roaming.  There is also Wi-Fi 802.11b/g for people who have access to a WLAN.

Included in the retail package in the HP Mini, wall charger, 3 cell lithium-ion battery, and user guides.  No software backup DVD is included, but one can be ordered from HP for $15.

Hardware

The HP Mini 1151NR Netbook is relatively compact, measuring 10.3”W x 6.5”D and only 1” thick when closed.  Weight is just under 2.5 pounds.  While this is not the smallest netbook currently in production, it is still convenient enough to carry around with you while on the go.  We like the overall slim design, mostly black in color with an interesting circular pattern used on the top.  It is eye catching, but still professional looking.




Due to the overall size, it does place some constraints on the hardware that is used.  The widescreen display is 10.1” diagonal and has a resolution of 1024x576 pixels.  It uses LED backlighting, and there are 11 brightness levels the user can select from.  The display looks fine as long as you are viewing it straight on, as off-axis viewing does not look good.  We also wish the device came with the 1366x768 pixel display that is used on the HP Mini 2140.  The only time we had a real issue with the display was when trying to use it in direct sunlight, as the protective glass would reflect the sun into our eyes.  Though this is not the fault of the TFT itself, it was still impossible to view in this circumstance. Directly above is a mic and webcam capable of capturing 640x480 video at 30fps. 



Located on the sides are two USB 2.0 ports, power port, wired ethernet jack, VGA out (requires an accessory), combination headphone/microphone jack, and an SD/MMC card slot.  It doesn’t have a built in DVD/CD-ROM drive, but an external one is available that connects via USB.  While using the power adapter for charging, we noticed that it does not plug all the way into the Netbook, due to curved edge on the side.  Because of this, moving the plug a small amount will cause it not to have contact.  We found ourselves having to be extra careful and to make sure it was pushed in as far as it would go.



The HP Mini 1151NR Netbook uses an Intel Atom N270 processor operating at 1.6GHz, combined with 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive.  While we found the processor fast enough for Internet browsing and email, we wish the device had more memory and a larger hard drive, as other HP Netbooks are available with up to 160GB hard drives and 2GB of memory. 

The keyboard is also smaller than we’re used to, but it takes up the entire width of the device and works quite well after getting accustomed to it.  The touch pad uses capacitive technology, but it seemed to be a bit over-responsive at times.  For example, when moving your finger from side to side or up and down, the mouse would occasionally “jump” around on the screen instead of moving in a straight line.  We also noticed that some clicks were not recognized, even though we tapped the touch pad.  Going into the mouse settings menu and making adjustments did help some, but it did not completely resolve all the issues.  Since the touch-pad is the primary form of input for Windows, we’d like to see this looked into.





Software and Performance

The HP Mini 1151NR Netbook’s main function is getting you on-line.  This is done primarily though Verizon’s VZAccess Manager program, which we updated from version 6 to version 7.  When the program is launched, it lists all the available connections and their signal strength, which includes Verizon Wireless and any local Wi-Fi signals.  We selected “Verizon Wireless” on the list, as it showed 3 out of 4 bars of EVDO Rev A, and we were on-line within six seconds.  Normal web browsing in IE7 worked well, and complex sites, such as PhoneArena.com, only took 10 seconds to completely load.


We also ran a series of speed tests using three scenarios:

  1. The internal HP un2400 Mobile Broadband card using Verizon’s EVDO Rev A.
  2. Wi-Fi connected to the MiFi 2200 using Verizon’s EVDO Rev A.
  3. Wi-Fi connected to our home WLAN using Comcast cable modem service.

The first test we downloaded a 99.5MB video driver file from the Nvidia web site.  When using the internal Mobile Broadband card, the file downloaded in 10 minutes 5 seconds and with an average speed of 168KB/sec.  Then when using the MiFi 2200, the download took 15 minutes 20 seconds with an average speed of 110KB/sec.  And when using our home Wi-Fi connection, it took 2 minutes 5 seconds with a speed of 812KB/sec.



The second test measured the download and upload speed from Comcast Speedstest. The internal Mobile Broadband card achieved 1.6Mbps download and 0.4Mbps upload, while the MiFi 2200 speed was 1.3Mbps download and 0.4Mbps upload, and the home Wi-Fi connection speed was 18.5Mbps download and 7.9Mbps upload.





Internal Mobile BroadbandMiFi 2200Home Wi-Fi
99.5MB download

10 min 5 sec
168KB/s
15 min 20 sec
110KB/s
2 min 5 sec
812KB/sec
Comcast Speedtest

1.6Mbps down
0.4Mbps up
1.3Mbps down
0.4Mbps up
18.5Mbps down
7.9Mbps up

As expected, using a Wi-Fi connection, which is using home/office broadband, will have the fastest download and upload speeds.  However, this is not always possible, and that is when the internal Mobile Broadband card and Verizon service come into use.  For average web browsing and email, EVDO is fast enough, including the occasional file download, watching streaming videos from YouTube and Hulu, or using the webcam.  But if you’re going to download a lot of files, such as the 250MB download we had to do using Windows Update, then Wi-Fi would be best, as its faster and does not deduct from your Verizon data plan.

Since the device uses Windows XP Home Edition, you can do pretty much anything on the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook that you could on a standard PC.  Additional pre-loaded software includes: Adobe Reader, Flash Player, Microsoft Works, Sun Java, AIM, MigoMobile, Norton Internet Security, and Roxio BackOnTrack.  We installed Microsoft Office 2000, FireFox, RealPlayer, and QuickTime player without any problems.



The battery life is rated for up to 3 hours.  We would average around 2 hours 30 minutes with solid Internet usage.  An extended 6-cell battery is available that is rated to provide up to 5 ½ hours of usage.

Conclusion

We like the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook overall, as is it sleek and can do almost anything a standard PC can do.  Having a built-in Verizon Mobil Broadband card is a nice feature, but you can’t swap it out for another carrier.  The display is big enough for most web sites, but there is a lot of vertical scrolling with large pages.  The only problem we came across was with the touch-pad acting up at times.  We’d recommend the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook for the business professional who needs web access while on the go, without carrying around a large laptop or trying to view information on a Smartphone/PDA’s tiny screen.



Pros

  • Supports Verizon EVDO Rev A and global roaming
  • Compact size
  • 10.1” Widescreen display
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Loud speakers
  • Webcam
  • Windows XP

Cons

  • Touch pad issues
  • Only 1GB RAM and 80GB Hard Drive
  • No DVD/CD-ROM drive included
  • Power users will want the extended battery

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

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