I’ve had an HP Mini netbook for about a month now and have been using it on and off. Actually for the most part my wife has taken control of it, using it for blogging most nights after our kids are in bed. It’s handy, small, and works well for a basic machine. So far I have left XP on it, but with the announcement of Windows 7 RTM, I’ll be giving that a try in a week or so when it’s available for MSDN subscribers.
To date I haven’t installed much on it. I have data for blog posts and editorials sync’ed on this machine through Live Mesh, as well as my presentations, but other data that I have to copy on or off it. I haven’t gotten SQL Server on it yet, but I plan on putting developer edition on as a test in the next few days.
However the small size has come in handy and I have taken it a few places. Like today, where I dropped my son off at his volunteer job for the local food bank. We were in a hurry to get out the door, so I grabbed the netbook because it’s smaller and it holds a nice charge. It seems as thought I can easily get 4 hours out of the battery, and more with wireless turned off. There’s a handy switch on the front for doing that.
So while he’s working, rather than spend 40 minutes commuting back and forth to my house, I stopped in the local Starbucks to get some writing done.
The keyboard works well for me, although I miss my “home” and “end” keys. I use those frequently on my desktop and there are no dedicated keys for those on the netbook. I can press the function key and an arrow key to get the same effect on the Mini, but I haven’t quite gotten used to that. The function key is in the lower left, it’s a little small, and so I don’t have the muscle memory yet to easily hit it. Perhaps if I can wrestle this away from my wife for a few more days….
The performance of this machine for web browsing and getting editing/writing done it great for me. It handles my Powerpoint viewer fine, though I do find that switching applications can be slow at times. The resume is quicker than my Toshiba Core Duo when I open it, and the wireless radio seems to work as well.
The only complaint I have is the screen size takes some getting used to. It seems that most web pages need a little more vertical space to display well. I scroll more often than I’d like. I am glad I got the 10” screen as I think the 8” one is way too small. The toolbar is set to auto hide and I’ve removed some menus from applications to give me more space.
If I had any complaint, it would be that the touchpad sometimes doesn’t register clicks smoothly or quickly. I might tap it 2 or 3 times to get a click. I’ve gotten used to using the buttons on the side of it, so that’s not a big deal.
Overall this has worked out well. I’ll be traveling to SQLSaturday #17 in Baton Rouge with only this machine for a presentation, so we’ll see how it does.