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.