HP Mini Launched in Singapore yesterday. After listening to so much online buzz, I finally got a chance to get my hands on the product. Previously, I played a little bit of Sabrina’s ASUS EEE PC, I thought Mini would weigh equally light, but I was wrong. The machine felt rather sturdy, with the metal casing and acrylic protector, but that was at the cost of the weight. In my hand, it felt almost as heavy as my MacBook Pro. I was contemplating on the idea that putting Mini into my bag and forget about it, and take it out to use whenever I want to, now, my dream was shattered by the sheer weight of this device.
The price for the Mini was out of my expectation as well. $999 for the usual version with Vista Home Basic version, and $1399 maximum for the high-end version with Vista Business, 2G RAM and Bluetooth. And to make things worse, the battery only lasts about 3 hours on a 3 cells and 5.5 hours on a 6 cells, and the keyboard is still plastic. If I have to purchase the device at that price, I would already start thinking of the alternative products like Sony VAIO: 4 times the price, 4 times the battery length with internal DVD burner and a fairly fast CPU.
So much for the dark size of the story, there were quite some bright spots I saw from this laptop.
Designing started last August, initially for kids in the classroom, this laptop is simply kids-resilient: you can pour water on the keyboard (I tried with Soda water), you can try dropping the PC a few times, and you can pretty much sit on it, I guess, if you are not that overweight. HP put another piece of acrylic board in front of the LCD so that you can make sure that the screen is not that easy damaged when you use your ball-pen writing over it.
And it has skins, no longer naked! I saw a lot of skins yesterday. According to HP, these skins are provided by a Singapore vendor. I think these skins will really help in kids’ showing off game. “I’ve gota cooler skins than you, dude! Oh man, this dude has no skin!”
And this Mini has an interesting design for the power connector, a modified Apple connector in my eyes, where the connector could provide you (or rather the computer) with some useful information about the current power adaptor, therefore showing your charging time more accurately. And it has an accelerometer built in to provide damages to the hard disk from moving around.
So in conclusion: I love the form factor of Mini, but the relatively slow speed of the CPU and expensive price tag are killing me. Since HP chose VIA to avoid rapid update from Intel, I have no intention of buying it so soon. And the UMPC war has just started. With Dell, ASUS and HP (and perhaps more) participating, I am just looking forward to the day when I could enjoy a 12 hour long UMPC at below 1000$
There are some images and stored at HPMini.wordpress.com