Rogers offers HP Mini 110 netbook for mobile broadband connectivity

When HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Rogers (TSX: RCI.A ) announced a joint venture to bring embedded mobile Internet-ready netbooks to Canada, I could not wait to get my hands on a demo unit.

About two months after the July announcement, I received the HP Mini 110 netbook. The netbook is very lightweight, starting at 2.57 pounds and measuring just over one-inch thick. The size and weight of the netbook was great for toting around in my purse and I was free from the usual shoulder pain that often ensues when I carry around my six-pound notebook.

The HP Mini 110 also features a 10.1-inch widescreen display, which is great for browsing the Web. The anti-glare screen is extremely convenient, considering that glossy screens often create a glare and make it difficult to see what’s on the display.

The netbook I reviewed came in a glossy black casing with subtle silver swirl designs all over the top. I liked this design concept on the netbook cover because I found it was great for hiding fingerprint marks, despite the glossy finish.

The keyboard is 92 per cent the size of a standard notebook PC one, so I found typing to be efficient and accurate.

While the trackpad was a decent size, I did not like the placement of the mouse buttons. Usually, these buttons sit below the trackpad, however on the HP Mini 110, they sit on the left and right side of it. It took me a while to get used to where the mouse buttons were because I would find myself attempting to “right click” on a button that should have been below the trackpad, but wasn’t.

Like other netbooks, this one also comes with a built-in Webcam, which is good for those who are on the road, yet still want to be connected to friends, family or co-workers back home.

There are three USB ports in total on the netbook with one on the left side, and two on the right. The right side of the netbook also features a five-in-one card reader.

On the inside, the netbook runs on the Intel Atom N270 processor and comes with Microsoft Windows XP Home Service Pack 3 installed on it. The HP Mini 110 also supports up to 1GB of memory and comes with a 160GB hard drive.

The device, which has built in mobile Internet capabilities, using Roger’s cellular network, also supports 802.11 b/g WLAN. The embedded mobile broadband technology feature was handy because I was able to connect to the Internet via the Roger’s 3.5G wireless network, without having to search for a wired or wireless connection.

The only criticism with this feature was that I had trouble connecting to the Rogers network while I was in a car that was in motion. I suppose this was because the device had a hard time picking up a tower signal while moving. That’s why having the option to still connect to the Internet over WiFi or wired access was a bonus.

The unit came with a six-cell lithium ion battery, which provided me with a few hours of use. I found that the netbook heated up quite quickly though because after only 20 minutes of use, I found myself re-positioning the netbook in my lap because of the heat.

All in all, the HP Mini 110 is a great netbook for light PC-related work and the embedded Internet capabilities is really cool too, talk about truly being connected!

The HP Mini 110 netbook is now available exclusively through Future Shop and Best Buy stores across Canada. The price is $299.99 on a two-year plan, not including the wireless data plan. These plans start at $25.00, plus a $6.95 system access fee and other fees for 500MB per month.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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