The HP Mini 311 has always been a netbook that has a nice set of features and a price that is reasonable. It had the NVIDIA ION LE, 1366×768 resolution (16:9 aspect ratio) and came with 1GB RAM and 160GB HDD. But there was no DirectX 10 support. That has changed.
Now that Windows 7 is here and the HP Mini 311 is available with it, the specifications have changed for the better. For starters, the chipset is no longer stuck with the LE tag. That means it has the NVIDIA ION in full force with support for DirectX 10. It now comes with 2GB of memory and there is likely to be an option to upgrade it to 3 or 4 GB.
Storage has been bumped up as well. You now get 250GB, 90 Gigs more than the previous version. There is the option to upgrade to a 320GB HDD or an 80 SSD. However there is always a tradeoff between price and performance. Hence this performance upgrade comes at a price to you. The previous price point of around $300 has become $400 for the new Mini 311s.
The battery life on the older version used to be a nice 6 hours almost. But now that the full version NVIDIA ION is onboard, that is bound to change. No wonder the battery life has been left craftily out of the highlights. With specs in this state, it is likely that the battery life is around 4.5 to 5 hours depending on the configuration you choose.
The thing that will decide the fate of all these PCs is how well Windows 7 performs and that can only be seen after the OS has been in use for a few months.
HP Mini 311 becomes the first NVIDIA Ion based netbook to go on sale. It has an 11.6-inch display that HP claims to be HD. Thanks to the Ion chipset, you can now view HD movies at a full 1080p resolution on your netbook. The NVIDIA Ion chipset took some time to penetrate the market but now it is in the pipeline for quite a few manufacturers.
The Ion chipset gives Atom powered devices the capability that has been missing in them so far. Ion’s video chip enables them to process complex graphics and hi-resolution videos that allows netbooks to playback high resolution videos and some 3D games.
There is a trade off involved here however. The reason video and graphics was left out of the equation was because these applications demand a lot of power. The Ion chipset does not consume the same amount of power as the other, fully powered chipsets but it does consume more power than the normal Atom chipset from Intel. This is the reason why it took manufacturers some time before they could imbibe the Ion in to their netbooks.
Ion is primarily aimed at the HTPC market where a compact, low-powered device that can playback HD video is highly appreciated. The chipset has already seen some market penetration in that regard.
The new HP Mini 311 is currently available only from the HP website. Other than the Ion chipset, there is not much that can distinguish it from the other netbooks. Its higher resolution screen allows the user to enjoy HD movies on the go. But the Atom N270 processor is the same old fare when it comes to multitasking and other things. It has 160GB of storage and 1GB RAM. The Mini 311 starts from $400.
Nividia’s Ion is a chipset meant for Intel’s Atom. It is meant to do what Intel’s own chipset cannot do – provide better graphics and more power. It in fact is capable enough to play a few games and play back 1080p HD movies, which is impossible to do on Intel’s own Atom chipset. Nvidia showcased it at the beginning of this year and released it two months back.
The Ion chipset caught on, as Zotac became the first to bring out a board based on Ion. Zotac’s board has a mini-itx form factor with a few variations to create four different models. They are mainly meant for HTPCs and other such small form factors.
The netbooks market was yet to embrace the Ion publicly at the point when Zotac released its Ion boards. Now however, it is apparent that many manufacturers have been working behind the scenes as usual to adapt this new offering to their netbook lines.
Asus has been the first to come under the focus due to unofficial news of a new Ion based netbook leaking across the Internet. The various advantages of the Ion are easily apparent. Atom devices can now have more than just 1GB of RAM and can also playback HD video. Better graphics power translates to better displays and an overall faster performance.
But there is a downside Ion. Since it has more power, it is not as energy efficient as the Intel chipset. Although the Ion’s energy efficiency is still much better than full-scale chipsets like Nvidia’s other offerings, it is still higher than Intel’s chipset and hence the new netbooks are likely to have shorter battery lives or more bulk due to extended batteries.
HP’s new netbook, the 311 is the first Netbook integrated with a screen as large as 11.6inches – This is a first because generally netbooks use a standard screen size of 10inches. Another first introduced by HP in the same 311 model is the feature which is integrated with high octane Nvidia graphic interface. These graphics were first used in MAC notebooks like Apple MacBook Air.
HP’s 3.11 has a high definition 1366×768 pixel resolution. It also has VGA and HDMI connectors for video.
Nvidia’s Ion chipset is a GPU which works along with low power processors – The Intel’s Atom, generating graphics like a standard laptop in terms of performance.
By processing data-intensive applications in parallel with the CPU, ION-based Netbooks offer many of the same capabilities of full-sized notebooks including support for all versions of Microsoft Windows,” Nvidia said in a statement.
Most Analysts deem that it is imperative for a netbook to get the conventional performance of a standard notebook.
“Our research shows that most people who buy a netbook expect it to behave like a full-sized notebook,” according to a statement that Nvidia provided from Tim Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies. “With Ion-based Netbooks like this one from HP, consumers can expect a well-rounded experience and the ability to handle nearly all of their everyday computing needs,” he said.
The mini 311 commenced by Hewlett Packard is definitely a path breaking innovation and has a comparatively lower price in comparison to its competitors. Users will particularly enjoy it’s high definition graphics as well as the large interface but it shall be noted how the corporate consumers react to it – in terms of larger space and comparatively more weight.
However the price is very affordable in comparison to its competitors and the HP mini 311 surely ranks amongst the finest netbooks available now.
It’s a portable and digital world, and who has time to waste staying in one spot, especially when all the information you need is on the Internet. Netbooks are one of the best convenience’s for comfortable and portable Internet surfing. In fact, in recent news Samsung has announced they are releasing three new net books to its already popular line of ultra portable laptops. The N130, N140, and the NVidia ION based N510 are soon to be released. They have not given any word about pricing, but I am sure like many savvy internet users, the convenience and many new features of them will not hinder purchases.
What can we look forward to?
It only gets better from here; both the N130 and N140 will have a 1GB RAM and 160GB HDD for storage. They will also both have an integrated web cam, 3 USB ports, and 6 cell batteries. The N140 seems to be their high end model and will have built in Bluetooth 2.1, stereo 1.5W speakers with SRS audio, and a battery a life of 11 hours. This is great for the long trips or being caught in a very boring place.
Keep an eye out for these new products as they are sure to provide hours of Internet surfing fun and excitement. The features are getting better and the convenience combined with the portable nature is making surfing the Internet that much easier.