hp mini 311 unboxing

The HP Mini 311 is one of the first notebooks to hit the streets with NVIDIA ION graphics. The laptop features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, an Intel Atom CPU, and ION graphics. And the folks at NVIDIA just sent me one to review.

While there are a few other ION-based laptops, including the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 and the upcoming Asus Eee PC 1201N, the HP Mini 311 is by far the cheapest, with a starting price of just $399.99. The base model comes with Windows XP, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, and a 6 cell battery. Many of those specs can be upgraded, but that raises the price. My review unit, for instance, shipped with Windows 7, which is a $50 upgrade.

At first glance, the Mini 311 looks like an oversized version of the HP Mini 110. It has the same basic design, with a swirly pattern on the glossy black lid. It even has a nearly identical keyboard, even though the chassis is large enough to accommodate a full sized keyboard instead of a 92% full size one. But the folks at HP say they’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the HP Mini 110 keyboard so they decided to stick with a good thing.

The real test isn’t how the HP Mini 311 looks, but how it 311 stacks up against the competition. But even if you don’t need the advanced graphics capabilities, the HP Mini 311 has a higher resolution display than most 10 inch netbooks, which could make it worth the $399.99 asking price. Over the next few days I’ll be running a few tests on the laptop to see how it compares with an average netbook and how it stacks up against some of the 11 and 12 inch notebooks with Intel CULV processors and integrated GMA 4500 graphics that I’ve tested recently.

You can check out my unboxing and first-look video after the break. My Asus Eee PC 1000H and Asus UL20A laptops make cameo appearances toward the end.


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19 replies on “HP Mini 311 unboxing and first look – Video”

  1. I have this netbook and it’s the best. My previous netbook was the Asus Eee PC 1005HA-b (3 cell, no bluetooth, blue gloss finish). I loved that netbook, but when my contract went up with Verizon and saw that they offer this netbook I went for it. I got $50 off for my two years, plus $100 off for signing up online, only cost me $149. Sweet deal 😀

    I upgraded that one Asus netbook to 2 GB of memory and Windows 7 Home Premium, which it took on very well. It got me decent performance in almost everything I threw at it. Even fullscreen flash video on Hulu and Youtube was decent, but I did notice them slow down once I did anything else. But for those who can’t spend more than $300 the Eee PC is pretty solid.

    The HP Mini 311 is a better deal though, since you’re getting an nVidia ION gpu and DDR3 memory. Plus the bigger screen!

  2. I am confused is the ion better than gma x4500? I mean better for using for htpc…WMC, DVR, Boxee & Orb.

  3. cool. did HP send you a review unit? if so, why do late? you do a great job at reviewing! 😉

  4. is it just me, or does it look like the cover at the bottom is sticking out from the middle?

  5. everything i ever read at this blog directed me towards this netbook. previously had the mini 1000 and the 2140. the 311 is definitely my favorite seeing as how it has win7, ion, 320gb and hdmi output

    1. I’ll have a detailed review within the next week or so, but just so you
      know: It’s not all sunshine. The touchpad is way to sensitive, and it’s very
      easy to accidentally swipe it while you’re typing, which can wreak all sorts
      of havoc (letters showing up in the wrong places, switching browser tabs,
      etc). The only way I’ve found to prevent this so far is to disable tapping.
      But I like tapping, and I find myself continually tapping at the touchpad
      before remembering I have to press down on the left button instead.

      And while ION is great for programs that can use the GPU, I’m starting to
      think that the 1366 x 768 pixel display and Intel Atom N270 CPU are a
      generally sluggish combination for other tasks. I feel like it takes a
      little longer than I’m used to with a lower resolution netbook to scroll
      through some web pages, for instance.

      If graphics matter more than anything else, than ION is probably a few steps
      ahead of a similar notebook with an Intel CULV/GMA 4500 chipset. But when
      you’re not playing video games, CULV notebooks definitely feel more
      responsive than the HP Mini 311… so far. But keep in mind, I’ve only had
      it for a few hours so far.

      1. Of course CULV notebooks are far faster than the ION ATOM versions. The Atom is crap. Yes, agreed that it is faster for graphics stuff but most people hardly do graphics stuff whilst travelling.

        People want power, speed and mobility. And CULV is that.

      2. (1366 * 768) / (1024 * 600) = 171%

        Does the HP unit come with the typical bloatware? When you do a review, do you as a policy try to uninstall as much of the crap as you can, or do you benchmark it at the factory software configuration?

        1. There’s some software from HP including HP QuickSync, HP games, HP Update,
          and HP Support Assistant. As a general rule, I don’t uninstall these apps on
          review units because many users won’t uninstall these. My reviews are of the
          computer as close to its factory default state as possible (although I do
          install a few apps such as Google Chrome and/or Firefox as well as my
          benchmarking tools of choice).

      3. I will be interested in your text results. So far the 311 impresses me with general responsiveness, but it is my first Win7 machine. Chrome displays websites and scrolls very fast. Lightroom is very responsive, no lags on sliders, even graduated filters snap into place. And it plays streaming video very well! Your mileage may vary. Interested to see.

      4. Brad it was my understanding that all touch pads, or at least the ones with Synaptic drivers, had PalmCheck and Touch Sensitivity controls? Have you tried to alleviate your touch pad problems with those? I found using a combination of both on does have an effect.

        1. There’s no PalmCheck control. I think there’s a touch sensitivity control,
          but I’m not near the Mini 311 at the moment, so I can’t check.

          I’m not the only one with this problem. A quick Google search showed lots of
          other people complaining about the touchpad.

          1. Bummer, when I said it works I meant on my Samsung. Its really a bummer this HP doesn’t have the full suite of controls…maybe they need time with Win 7?

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