The HP Mini 210 is a beautifully designed netbook. Its sexy, its solid, it has a good user interface and a competitive price. The only serious complaint I can level against this netbook is the display, which is far too glossy. However, many other netbooks have similar issues, so the glossy display isn’t a reason to disqualify the HP Mini 210 unless you have a habit of working near an open window on sunny days.

This praise aside, the HP Mini 210, like most traditional single-core netbooks, sits in a market position that is increasingly awkward. The problem is the lower prices of dual-core netbooks and budget ultraportables. The HP dm1z has now been reduced to an MSRP of $449.99, and the Eee PC 1215B’s initial price of $450 has already been knocked down to about $435 on Amazon. These dual-core AMD Fusion powered netbooks are substantially quicker than the HP Mini 210, but only $100 more. The value of all single-core netbooks, both those powered by Intel and those powered by AMD, is becoming harder to justify as the prices on dual-core models tumble.

Battery life remains dominated by Atom, however. No other netbook processor can remotely compare to the endurance offered by single-core Atom powered netbooks like the HP Mini 210. The 5700mAh battery seemed to last forever; I never once was worried about the battery giving out, even after spending most of the day using the netbook heavily for writing and (basic) image editing. However, I question the number of people that actually need a battery with this much endurance. Most users would likely be better of trading the battery life for a more powerful netbook using a dual-core processor.

 The HP Mini 210 is a great netbook, but the hardware fails it. Single-core Atom processors simply can’t provide an adequately enjoyable user experience, if they ever could. Saving about $100 by purchasing the HP Mini 210 instead of a dual-core netbook, be it HP’s own dm1z or a model from a competitor, seems a poor choice.


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