Most of the HP Mini-Note reviews and writeups have focused on its performance with Windows Vista or XP. And while I ordered the version running SUSE, I installed Windows XP within a few hours of opening the box. So I never got the chance to compare the out of the box Linux experience on the HP Mini-Note with the out of the box experience you get from an Eee PC. Fortunately, Mini-Note User has posted a video comparing the startup times on each machine.
As is stated in the video, the comparison isn’t really fair. The Eee PC 900 loads a simple user interface in just a few seconds while processes continue to load in the background, while the Mini-Note loads a full desktop environment. But the net effect is that the Eee PC is usable about 20-25 seconds after you hit the power button, while you have to wait up to 90 seconds to get a usable desktop on the Mini-Note running SUSE.
While it’s not clear from this video which Mini-Note we’re looking at, SUSE only comes on the $549 and $499 models, which means this unit has either a 1GHz or a 1.2GHz processor. If it’s the $499 unit, it might also have the 4GB SSD option instead of a hard drive, which would actually speed up the boot a bit.
The comparison is fair enough to frighten me away from the Mini-Note. I greatly admire style of the Mini-note and its keyboard. But I own a Eee PC 701 and have gotten quite spoiled by the speed of its boot time. By the way, I run the full Xandros desktop (not the even quicker default one) and the full Linux desktop is up and ready to use in 30 seconds. This is now the standard I use for assessing ultraportables: an I-want-to-use-it-now computer which is what the EeePC with its SSD and optimized Linux distro is. 90 seconds seems an awful long time to wait when I am standing in a hallway and want information about a class schedule or check to see if my students have emailed me a cancellation. An ultraportable for me should replace both a laptop and PDA. I may still get a Mini-note but it will have to fill a different niche in my computing life than the one the Eee PC does.
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