The HP Mini 110-1106vu is a stylish 10-inch designer netbook from HP which not only has good looks but offers mainstream netbook performance, along with a feature that lets you browse the Web within seconds after turning the netbook on.
Build & Design
The HP Mini 110-1106vu is adorned by Studio Tord Boontje's art. There's a 3D floral design on the glossy white screen lid (which doesn't attract any fingerprints, by the way), which extends on to the palmrest and touchpad. The Mini 110-1106vu definitely looks a lot classier and elegant than the Mini 110-1018tu we reviewed earlier. The Mini 110-1106vu's 10.1-inch (1200x600 resolution) screen is matte in nature--great for reading text; its actually one of the few netbooks around which supports a non-glossy display. Port placement is good, there's a convenient Wi-Fi toggle switch on the front edge, and the onboard speakers are placed on the screen's bottom bezel--curious placement indeed. The Mini 110-1106vu is well-built and weighs only 1.3-kg with its six-cell battery pack.
The HP Mini 110-1106vu definitely looks a lot classier and elegant than the Mini 110-1018tu we reviewed earlier.
Like the Mini 110-1018tu, the Mini 110-1106vu has an interesting design element--owing to its six-cell battery bulge near the hinge, the Mini 110-1106vu is slight raised and inclined when kept on a table top. As a result its keyboard is slight raised and therefore better for typing. Like the HP Pavilion dm1, the Mini 110-1106vu's keyboard sports 'scalloped' keys with a slight inward curve on them, and believe me it's a treat to type on. The touchpad is smaller than the one found on the Acer Aspire One 532h or the MSI Wind U135, and the vertical mouse buttons on its either side take some time getting used to. Overall, not the best touchpad and mouse button design, but its functional.
HP Instant Web
The HP Mini 110-1106vu comes with HP Instant Web, an 'instant on' pre-OS interface configured through Windows. Once enabled, the Mini 110-1106vu first boots into the Instant Web GUI (powered by SplashTop) where you can surf the Web, check email, and even access your photos and music folders. There's an IM tool, calendar app, Skype for voice messaging, and more. Working from within Instant Web is slightly sluggish, but its a great way to instantly turn on the Mini 110-1106vu and start browsing the Web. At any instant, you can easily click a button to switch back to the full-fledged Windows 7 Starter operating system.
In terms of internal hardware, the HP Mini 110-1106vu is based on the old Intel Atom N280 1.6-GHz processor. There's also 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 160GB hard drive, three USB ports, multi-card reader, VGA-out and ethernet port. Like the Mini 110-1018tu, the Mini 110-1106vu doesn't come with Gigabit ethernet and Wi-Fi 802.11n, but manages to bundle in Bluetooth connectivity. It has a 1.3MP webcam recessed on its top screen bezel and comes with Windows 7 Starter edition operating system. All this is pretty average, and the Mini 110-1106vu doesn't have any noteworthy hardware under the hood to do it any favors in our Top 5 Netbooks listing.
The HP Mini 110-1106vu's performance was in line with our expectations. A WorldBench 6 score of 33 is pretty much standard. We could multitask with three programs at the max, any more and the netbook couldn't handle it. Reading text (especially) and watching movies on the Mini 110-1106vu's matte screen went well, and sound from its curiously placed onboard speakers wasn't too bad. However, the Mini 110-1106vu couldn't quite play 720p HD videos smoothly. Its six-cell battery lasted a commendable 4 hours in our benchmarks at high performance mode. Expect over 7 hours while browsing the Web over Wi-Fi on a conservative battery mode, which is very good.
The HP Mini 110-1106vu is definitely one of the better looking netbooks we've seen in recent times with a 3D imprint on its screen lid. It also has a nifty instant-on Web browsing feature that you don't see on many netbooks. On top of that, for Rs. 24,000, it offers a good matte display, very good keyboard and battery life.