- Let’s start with the obvious. The HP Mini-Note screen blows away the Eee PC 701 screen, and the Eee PC 900 screen for that matter. It’s amazing how crisp, clear, and well lit the Mini-Note display is. In fact, it’s so sharp that at first I was worried it would drive me crazy. But after spending some time tweaking the display settings, I’m amazed at how much easier it is to produce documents and read web pages on the Mini-Note.
- The keyboard is much, much larger. HP describes the Mini-Note keyboard as being 92% full keyboard sized. The interesting thing is that I haven’t really decided if it’s easier to type on the Mini-Note keyboard. I was pretty fast on the Eee PC keyboard, partly because my fingers had less distance to travel. But my fingers definitely got tired more quickly on the Eee PC.
- The battery works like a typical laptop battery. This is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. The Eee PC 701 is designed to be ultraportable more than efficient. The battery charger looks more like a cellphone battery charger than a computer power brick, and fits easily into any bag. But it takes a really long time to fully charge an Eee PC 701, especially if the unit is powered up. Asus has reportedly addressed this by using a larger, higher voltage power brick for the Eee PC 900. But HP skipped this headache by releasing a standard battery and charger. While the 3 cell Mini-Note battery will only last about 2 hours (compared with 2.5-3 for the Eee PC battery), you can fully charge the battery in about 1 hour, even if you’re using the computer. And unlike Asus, HP made a high capacity 6-cell battery available immediately so you could get a 4-5 hour battery the day you buy your computer. The Mini-Note also does a better job of tracking how much battery capacity you have remaining. While the Eee PC power meter counts down in increments of 10, the Mini-Note wil let you know if you have 92%, 27%, or some other odd bit of your battery power left.
- While the Eee PC 900 includes a large, multi-touch touchpad, the Eee PC 701 touchpad is incredibly tiny and has a difficult to master rocker button instead of separate right and left click keys. While I found it didn’t take that long to get used to the touchpad, many users have complained that it’s just too tiny. HP has a nearly full-sized trackpad, with the unusual design decision to include the left and right click buttons on the sides of the touchpad rather than below it. I thought this would be horribly inconvenient, but it turns out it’s not. You use the left click key far more often than the right, and it’s easy to hit. But it also takes just a fraction of a second to hit the right key if you need it.
- Finally, let’s face it. The HP Mini-Note is far more professional looking than the Eee PC.
Sure, they’re both made of cheap plastic, but the Mini-Note has a sleek metallic look, The Mini-Note case is made of aluminum, not the cheap plastic you’ll find on the Eee PC. And the Mini-Note’s keys don’t look like they were designed for toddlers, and a glossy, high resolution display. While not everyone likes a glossy screen, I think the shiny display in the pretty black frame makes the HP look a lot more attractive than the Eee PC.
Again, the Mini-Note is far from perfect. Like the Eee PC, it has a sluggish processor. Unlike the Eee PC, the Mini-Note doesn’t come with a restore disc, slip cover, or anything but a warranty and user guide. But in a lot of ways, HP shows that they learned from Asus, and then improved upon the Eee PC concept.