HP Mini 110 Review with Broadcom Crystal HD, Specs

HP Mini 110 is a great mini laptop that excels in almost all areas, except when you talk about battery runtimes. Its 3 cell battery will give you under 2 hours of runtimes making it a waste for somebody who likes to work on the move. If you take that out of the way, the HP Mini 110 is very good. It has excellent keyboard, probably the best on a 10.1 inch mini notebook. Read the review to find out more about it.

HP Mini 110 Review

HP Mini 110 Specs

10.1 inch 1366 x 768 matte display
Atom N280 processor (1.6GHz)
Intel GMA 950 graphics
1GB RAM (2GB max)
250GB HDD (2.5” SATA)
802.11b/g Wi-Fi
10 / 100 LAN
3x USB 2.0, 5-in-1 card reader, VGA, combo headphone / mic jack, Kensington lock, Wi-fi switch
3-Cell 2,500mAh, 10.8V, 28 Wh battery
Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
0.3MP webcam
Windows 7 Starter
1.16 kg / 2.55 pounds weight (3-cell)
262mm x 171mm x 28mm – 36mm / 10.3” x 6.7” x 1.1” – 1.4” size

Keyboard

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Note that I have a Japanese keyboard so the layout varies slightly.

Fantastic keyboard. Takes up the whole HP Mini 110 chassis with zero wasted space. It’s a flat styled keyboard but not totally flat like on the Asus Eee PC 1201T / Acer Aspire One 751 / 1410 / 1810T notebooks. Each key is slightly curved to catch your fingers. Tactile feedback is excellent. No undersized keys. Overall fantastic keyboard and not once did it ever feel cramped.

Touchpad

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HP is using the same touchpad as they did with the original HP Mini 1000 netbook. You can also see it on the original Acer Aspire One A150 mini laptop. I’ve used a lot of netbooks with this style of touchpad that I am used to it but if you’re new to it, it might take a day or two to get used to it. No multi-touch on this touchpad.

Would have been nice if they made the touchpad a little larger vertically. Heck, there’s a lot of wasted space above the touchpad where the on/off button for the trackpad used to be on the original HP Mini 1000. HP got a bit lazy here.

Surface is slick enough, but like with most glossy or semi-glossy surfaces, it’s not as slick as a matte surfaces. I haven’t had any issues yet on this touchpad however like I have had on the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA series or other netbooks that have really glossy touchpads.

Display

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I have a pre-configured model with the HD 1366 x 768 display and I have to say this is the best netbook screen I’ve used, bar none. It’s not glossy however it does not have the subtle anti-glare grit you have on matte displays, so the display is smooth with no loss in sharpness. It’s the same kind of screen you get with a lot of desktop monitors. Sadly this type of display is very rare on netbooks and I have only seen it previously on the Sony Vaio X netbook.

Colors are a bit blue-ish without any calibration like most displays but good once that is done. I measured a maximum brightness in the center of the screen at 282 cd/m2 which is extremely bright for a netbook and I’ve only seen the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA series, using EeeCtl, beating that.

The HP Mini 110 is one of the brightest netbooks on the market:

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Before my first ever experience with a 1366 x 768 display on a 10.1” display, I thought that I would never want to use one in real life, that it would be really hard on my eyes. It hasn’t been this way and I can easily overcome small text by zooming in on webpages and for outside of the browser, I can set larger text globally in the control panel appearance settings.

Mind you, not everything is perfect. Zooming in on webpages slows them down slightly and without plugins you have to zoom in on every new website you visit. When you globally increase text size in Windows, text size increases as well as icons. Some icons don’t inflate gracefully and become blocky. However it’s a rather minor issue for me and the benefits of having more resolution far out way this issue.

Opening range of the lid is quite decent at 129 degrees (measured flat on a table). There were no positions where I could not get an optimal viewing angle.

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Noise
Noise levels are pretty decent on the HP Mini 110 when you’re just web surfing. Definitely not quiet and you can easily hear the fan. In a quiet room web browsing for several hours, it’s perfectly fine for me. Once you once really stressing out the CPU with HD YouTube, or something take will tax the CPU close to 100% the fan goes full blast and it can be a little annoying. Once Adobe sorts out the Flash drivers this shouldn’t be an issue with YouTube videos, as long as you have the Broadcom HD Decoder card inside.

Heat

I had my HP Mini 110 left idling for an hour and the bottom gets slightly warm and the top remains cool. After 20 minutes of stressing out the CPU with some HD YouTube the whole top section feels warmer (especially the right palm-rest) than when it was idle but the bottom remains slightly cool. Overall pretty good temperatures.

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Top temperatures

Top left palm-rest: 97 F / 36 C
Touchpad: 86 F / 30 C
Top right palm-rest: 100 F / 38 C
Bottom temperatures:

Bottom left: 95 F / 35 C
Bottom right: 86 F / 30 C
Top left: 91 F / 33 C
Top right: 80 F / 26 C
Sound
The speakers are actually located at the bottom of the display bezel, something I haven’t seen before on a netbook. Despite that sound quality is very decent. Of course it could use more bass / clarity like most netbooks but I am not cringing as I’m listening to tunes with the in-built speakers. Volume is good too.

Webcam and Microphone
Webcam quality seems pretty good for a 0.3MP webcam. Images are sharp even with dim lighting. Refresh rates are quite smooth but that doesn’t really matter. Resolutions go up to 640 x 480 (VGA) resolution. I used ArcSoft WebCam Companion 3 which was bundled with the HP Mini 110.

I used Audacity to test out the microphone. With every setting maxed I didn’t get as loud a voice as I’d hoped but I think it is fine enough. There was no noise or hissing and my voice was clearly heard.

Battery Life

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I have a 2,500mAh,10.8V 3-cell battery. I was unable to get a 6-cell battery, not that I really want it, as it sticks out like a tumor and makes it very difficult to slip into a case.

Here are some battery life figures. You could probably make it to 2.5 hours by reducing the backlight, a little more by turning off Wi-F and BT. Web browsing involved checking out various sites, no videos and music.

2 hours, 19 mins    Web browsing    Wi-Fi and BT on / 63% brightness
2 hours, 8 mins    480p video playback    Wi-Fi and BT off / 63% brightness
1 hour, 38 mins    720p H.264 video playback    Wi-Fi and BT off / 63% brightness
1 hour, 33 mins    1080p H.264 video playback    Wi-Fi and BT off / 63% brightness
Overall, for the 3-cell battery, you’re looking at over 2 hours of battery life for web browsing. 1.5 hours for watching HD video – if you have the Broadcom HD Accelerator card installed.

Upgrades
You can easily upgrade to 2GB RAM via the access panel. If you want to access anything else (storage, free PCI-e slot, Wi-Fi) you’ll have to open up your HP Mini 110. HP provides a manual with step by step instructions. I’ve followed the guide and it’s pretty straightforward with just a few catches you need to be aware of. I’ve noted these in the video below:

Broadcom Crystal HD Accelerator
Once you’ve taken it apart you can easily place a Broadcom Crystal HD Accelerator card inside the free mini PCI-e slot. They cost about $25 on eBay and come with a little CD with drivers, but it’s best the get the latest software and drivers from HP and Broadcom.

With the card installed you can now play smooth H.264 / WMV videos in either 720p or 1080p resolution. You can use AcrSoft TotalMedia provided by HP however it’s better to get MPC-HC, since that works as well, as long as you get the freshest build.

You can also now play HD YouTube videos quite well. The Flash 10.1 drivers are still in Beta and haven’t been perfected just yet.

Here’s a test of 720p H.264 video using MPC-HC player:

For a more complete list of compatible players and drivers:
http://www.broadcom.com/support/crystal_hd/

Size and Weight

The HP Mini 110, with the 3-cell battery, is a bit slimmer overall since there’s no bulging battery, it’s completely flush and not as heavy as with the 6-cell battery, which makes it really nice to carry around. Weighs 1.16 kg / 2.55 pounds with the 3-cell battery. Dimensions: 262mm x 171mm x 28mm – 36mm / 10.3” x 6.7” x 1.1” – 1.4” size. The thickness includes the extra height added by the rubber feet.

Power brick is very small, on par with the Eee PC power bricks.

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Keyboard measures 252mm x 99mm in size.

HP Mini 110 Review Summary

Pros
HD 1366 x 768 display (bright too)
Smooth anti-glare (matte) coating w/ no loss in sharpness
Easy to disassemble
Free PCI-e slot (for Broadcom HD Decoder)
Large keyboard
Wi-Fi switch

Cons
Gets slightly noisy when CPU stressed
3-Cell Battery – ~2 hour battery life
6-cell Battery – sticks out like a monstrous tumor
Touchpad buttons on sides / could use more vertical space

Posted on June 3 2013. Tagged with Tags:, , ,

About the Author

Jasmeet Kaur is one of many news editors at Mytechpartner.com Jasmeet is passionate about writing, drawing, gaming, music, and of course mobile technology.