Let’s make no bones about it.
The name of this site is mobile-broadband-reviews.com. As such, the focus has been more on mobile broadband services rather than actual devices that you and I used to access them.
With the entry of mobile broadband netbooks such as the Verizon HP Mini 1000 (or 1151NR to be exact), we’ll be taking a look at mobile broadband from a built-in perspective.
However, before we delve into the specifics of the Verizon HP Mini 1151NR, let’s run through some basics about netbooks.
The term netbook, coined by Intel, conveys little useful information about this category of machines. Sure, they all have wireless networking, but so does every other laptop. What the term originally helped to identify was a class of small, ultra lightweight, cheap-as-dirt mobile PCs.
Netbooks are tiny–usually between half and two-thirds the size of a garden-variety laptop–and they typically weigh around 2.5 pounds. With their cool, slim designs, they outclass some fancy ultraportables. And best of all, these diminutive laptops start at around $200 (in some cases $100, when purchased as part of a mobile broadband promotional deal).
But that doesn’t mean a netbook is for everyone. These are basic computing devices that will meet only basic computing needs. If you’re looking to do a little bit of word processing, maybe edit a few simple spreadsheets, and want to surf the Web, a netbook will suffice. But if you’re looking to edit high-resolution photos or work with video, a netbook isn’t for you: These systems have seriously limited processing power. You can listen to some tunes, but don’t expect first-rate sound. And you might be able to watch a few online videos, but you’ll be looking at a relatively tiny screen.
The guys over at PCWorld.com have a really good article on how to buy a netbook. The above quotations were taken from it. You can take a look at the full article here.
If you’re considering built-in mobile broadband in a netbook, you’ll have some special considerations. For instance, you’ll most likely be on the go, maybe working in sunlight, all while functionality & portability will be important. Naturally, since you’re reading this article on a site about mobile broadband it’s pretty safe to assume that you want to get online.
Based on that, here’s what we’re going to cover regarding the HP Mini 1151NR:
- Design and Build
- Keyboard Size and Layout
- Screen size, Resolution and Coating
- Operating system
- Hard drive, Processor and Installed Memory
- Mobile Broadband Options
- Where To Get It Super-Cheap
The HP Mini 1151NR is the successor to the HP 2133 Mini-note.
If you take a look at the HP 2133, the first thing you’ll notice it’s shiny aluminum finish that makes for a very sturdy look and feel. Unfortunately this is no longer present in the 1151NR as HP decided to replace the aluminum exterior with a hard plastic casing.
The HP Mini 1151NR has a hard plastic casing with a swirl finish. Not visible from afar, it becomes quite visible close up.
With the most obvious reason being cost, they’ve sacrificed a meatier feeling laptop that might be able to take a drop or two for a laptop that looks nice, is cheap but can’t take a hit. It’s like the difference between American muscle car and a Honda Civic. The old-time muscle cars were made of pure metal and felt heavy and reliable. While newer Honda Civics and Accords are cheap, look good and even last long, if you had to choose which of the two cards you were going to have an accident with you probably choose the American muscle car.
With all that being said, you shouldn’t be dropping your laptop anyway so this shouldn’t be a big concern.
Also very noticeable is the design patterned finish that HP has been putting on all of its consumer brand laptops. While it’s not the Vivienne Tam edition, it’s quite nice for black on black finish.
The design together with the size and convenience of the laptop becomes a real head turner. Your other laptops or desktops might just start getting jealous from the attention it’s going to get when you guys go out and joyriding.
Weighing in at 2.4 pounds & 10.3 X 6.5 X 0.9 inches, the Verizon HP Mini makes for very convenient travel partner. Thanks to its weight, you can’t expect to be build your rippling biceps as you lug around all day. In addition to that, if you got a laptop sleeve you could probably fit into any pre-existing fact that you already have.
The HP Mini Verizon is much smaller and more portable than your regular laptop. It’ll fit in a book bag or purse easily.
When people first started calling laptops and notebooks I think this was the site that people envisioned. As a matter of fact, it’s so small that Xavier at notebooks.com was able to fit it into his car’s glove compartment. Now that’s portable.
Can your laptop fit in there?
To get an even better feel for the design and build, check out this unboxing video of the 1151NR.
The keyboard on HP’s netbooks have been the subject of many a blogs’ attention. The Mini is heavily advertised as having 92% the size of a full keyboard. In other words they’re trying to say that you won’t really feel the difference between typing on this really really tiny laptop and a really really big computer.
That’s a good thing.
As a matter of fact, it’s quite unprecedented for a netbook such as the 1151NR to have a keyboard that’s more full-sized than some 15 inch and 12.1 inch laptops. I know because I’m typing on a 12.1 inch screen laptop right now. Unlike my current laptop, the HP Mini 1151NR feels very close if not better than the real thing. In case you haven’t noticed, most laptops keyboards are more comfortable to type on due to soft cushioning. Thankfully, this is done right with the Verizon HP Mini. While some have a few qualms about the number 1 key being a bit smaller than the rest, it’s pretty much smooth sailing.
Now if we could just get a regular touchpad on the thing and not this flanked button design…
The HP Mini has a 10.2 inch, 1024 by 600 pixel (resolution), glossy screen. If you are looking at this in a store, you just might be tempted to reach out and test to see if it’s touch screen. However, glossy screens tend to look very nice inside stores until they are absolutely covered in fingerprints. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the bane of our existence.
If you’re an outdoors person like myself, the first thing you’ll notice is that your glossy screen becomes a personal vanity mirror in broad daylight. That’s not my intended purpose for my laptop screen and neither should it be yours. Thankfully, it seems like HP has finally started to get the hint with the new line of HP Mini 110’s. Unfortunately, that realization didn’t happen in time for the 1151NR.
While a 10.2 glossy screen isn’t completely useless, it’s just hard as hell to use outside. So long as you stay indoors, though, you’ll be fine.
One final word of caution.
While netbooks like the HP Mini 1151NR were not intended for heavy duty work, some programs like to be finicky about the screen resolution that they accept. While most programs will work fine, some specialty programs such as those in video editing (which would be near impossible on a Mini anyway), may not be able to load the program. Remember, a netbook is not meant to be your primary computer. Rather, it’s meant to be a secondary or supplementary workstation that you carry on the go. In some ways, it’s like the spare tire in the back of your car. It’s not meant for you to go speeding down the freeway at 80 miles per but it can get you home safely if you need it to.
The 1151NR sports Windows XP Home Edition. It’s safe, stable and reliable.
Here’s the rundown on what the Verizon HP Mini ships with:
- 80 Gigabyte Hard Drive
- 1 Gigabyte RAM
- Built-in Webcam and Microphone
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Shared Headphone/Mic jack
- 10/100 Ethernet Jack
- Two 2.0 USB ports
- SD card reader
- Proprietary dongle port for Video out to VGA ($30 extra)
- Wi-Fi b/g
- Verizon Mobile Broadband radio
Again, it’s enough to get you home comfortably but not necessarily enough to go joyriding for months on end.
80 Gigs of storage is enough to comfortably save a lot of information on. If you’re a media junkie like myself, then you probably need an external hard drive of anywhere from 250 GB to 1 TB.
Like most built-in Webcams and microphones, you shouldn’t expect studio quality production. On a higher quality note, the built-in Bluetooth is a nice touch. This is especially so if you have a smart phone such as a Blackberry that you like to sync wirelessly.
Two USB ports on the other hand can be a bit stifling. If you plan to be a serious road warrior with the HP Mini by Verizon you probably need some USB hub of some sort or perhaps a mobile docking station. Thankfully, the HP Mini 110 & The Compaq Mini 110c both have 3 USB ports.
Finally, the juicy stuff we’ve all been waiting for.
Since the HP Mini 1151NR has built-in mobile broadband by Verizon, here’s what you can expect in the way of mobile broadband plans, speed & 3G coverage.
Besides a 250 MB plan and a 5 Gigabyte plan, there’s also a Day Pass plan for those who only need mobile broadband occasionally.
In all honesty, the 250 MB plan isn’t for heavy users. Read on to find out why most people will end up with the 5 GB plan.
Like Sprint, the maximum download speed is 3.1 Mbps while the max upload is 1.8 Mbps.
One might ask, why is it that Sprint and Verizon’s speeds are practically identical on paper? Read on for the details on Verizon’s 3G speed.
With the only coverage tool that compares coverage with another provider, they must feel pretty bold about their standing.
Read on for the details on Verizon Wireless Coverage.
Naturally, a full review on Verizon Mobile Broadband is available for your educational pleasure. Be sure to know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line. For that reason I encourage everyone to sign up for Mobile Broadband Buyer’s Guide. It’ll explain what you need to know about mobile broadband, before, during and after you buy.
If you’re a regular mobile-broadband-reviews.com reader then it will be no surprise to you where I’m about to send you.
At the time of this review, HP sells the Mini 1000 line for anywhere from $350 to $450. If you get the HP Mini through our partner LetsTalk, you snag yourself a Verizon 1151NR for $300 on the spot ($250 after rebates).
The HP Mini Verizon 1151NR runs anywhere from $350 – $450. However, through our partner LetsTalk, you can snag it for $300 on the spot (or $250 after rebates).
That my friends, is an excellent price for a laptop.
But Mobile Broadband Netbooks Are A Terrible Deal Right?
A lot of people around the blogosphere keep crying about how netbooks are a terrible deal based on the following math:
5 GB per month for $60 over two years = $1440
They then state how $1440 for a netbook is a terrible deal.
You know something?
If you were just gonna buy a netbook without mobile broadband and it cost $1440, then you would be getting ripped off in a mini Bernie Madoff kind of way. Here’s the problem with that thinking though:
If you were going to buy a broadband card anyway, then you’d have been paying that amount over two years anyway. And since you were gonna spend the money anyway, you might as well get a free or super-cheap laptop out the deal.
That right there is why this is a sweet deal for mobile-broadband-reviews.com readers like yourself.
You’re already thinking of mobile broadband and a netbook out the deal is bonus to sweeten the deal.Instead of just getting a broadband card for free, you could get a laptop for near free and get a whole lot more mileage out of it.
So, for the last time, here’s where you can pick up the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook configured for Verizon mobile broadband on the cheap.
Need more info? Check out the rest of the mobile broadband reviews.