HP has a habit of releasing new netbooks with the same model number as earlier versions. So while you might think you know all about the HP Mini 210 since a mini-laptop with that name was launched earlier this year, you’d be slightly wrong — because HP recently relaunched the Mini 210 with a new design and a number of new configuration options.

The new HP Mini 210 is available with 4 different CPU and graphics options:

  • 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455
  • 1.83GHz Intel Atom N475
  • 1.83GHz Intel Atom N475 + Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator
  • 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 dual core CPU + Broadcom HD video accelerator

Unlike most other netbooks, HP also offers users a choice of operating systems (Windows 7 Starter or Home premium), up to 2GB of RAM, and a choice of a 160GB or 250GB 7200RPM hard drive. You can also choose between a 1024 x 600 pixel or 1366 x 768 pixel 10.1 inch display.

The netbook now comes standard with a 6 cell battery. There’s no 3 cell battery option. And HP has given the case a slight redesign, although the key elements are much the same. You get an island-style keyboard, a touchpad with integrated buttons, a glossy screen with edge-to-edge glass, and a back panel that can be completely removed without a screwdriver. In fact, it’s far easier to pop off the back cover than it was on earlier HP Mini 210 models.

HP recently sent me a demo unit to review — and while I was expecting a model with an Atom N550 dual core CPU, I actually got a model with a single core Atom N455 CPU. I suspect overall performance will be quite similar to what I experienced with the HP Mini 210 HD I recently reviewed, so I suspect my full review will focus more on the netbook’s design than its performance. But I’ll wait until I kick the tires a little more before making any final judgments.

You can check out my unboxing video after the break. Bear in mind, I thought I was getting a dual core model when I opened the box, so there might be a few mistakes in my description.

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9 replies on “First look at the new HP Mini 210 netbook”

    1. There is probably at least four reasons…

      1) Cost, adding a discrete GPU can add $100 or more to system price and that can negatively effect the appeal of what should be low cost system.

      2) Power and Heat, discrete GPU will reduce battery run time significantly and generate more heat that the system will have to deal with. Something that will negatively effect the appeal of a system that normally offers long run times and low heat generation.

      3) Intended Market, most who get these netbooks don’t do much more than consume media content and for that the Broadcom Crystal HD is well suited without impacting the system as much as a discrete GPU solution would.

      4) There are design limitations imposed by Intel that makes it very difficult to add much to the basic netbook design. The inability to use the Intel DMI or the lack of a South Bridge with a proper 16 lane PCIe for adding a discrete solution for example makes it almost impossible to add a discrete GPU solution.

      Even the NG-ION is a compromise solution that has to deal with a 1x PCIe bottleneck connection that handicaps its performance.

      So most netbook systems are stuck with just the Intel GMA, with the Broadcom Crystal HD being one of the few options they have to offer anything more.

        1. Terrible is relative, for those these devices are targeted for it fills their specific needs and it’s not like they have much choice in the matter with the limitation imposed by Intel. While alternatives like AMD’s upcoming Bobcat won’t come out till early next year.

          My main issue with this model is the pricing, which is a bit high for what it offers. But I like how they designed the battery to not stick out and how they made it so easy to access the main components for upgrading.

  1. Any word on how the GPS is? this thing already seems like a ideal travel machine, and a at least usable GPS chip would be the icing on the cake.

    1. Doesn’t seem to be any up to date tests on this model’s GPS but laptop GPS navigation tends to be iffy at best. Dedicated GPS systems are usually far superior.

      One of the problems is GPS software for regular computers aren’t well done, many seem like ports from dedicated devices and work better with a touch screen. Also the GPS receivers are pretty basic, while the dedicated GPS devices have additional sensors like digital compass and accelerometers and don’t just rely on GPS signal data. Also GPS signals don’t go through barriers well. So signal strength is another problem…

      Though a modern Smartphone can be linked to your laptop for better GPS option, since they now include accelerometers and digital compass, as well as AGPS features thanks to cellular network, but a good map program is still hard to come by…

      However, for just planning trips most laptop GPS systems can manage just fine. And you can check sites like the following for more detail…


  2. I’m an admirer of the new design, especially the ease by which the bottom can be removed to give full access to all the major components for upgrading.

    The integration of the Broadcom Crystal HD with the motherboard to keep the remaining Mini PCIe slot free for other upgrades is also a nice touch. But the pricing is a bit high for this model and the fully loaded setup raises the price enough that you might as well get their Pavilion DM1z with K625 instead.

    Though I hope it sets a precedent among netbook makers to adopt similar case design as many have become very hard to upgrade or mod than earlier generation models.

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