HP Mini 311 — Specifications

We begin as usual with a look at the specifications and design of the HP Mini 311. Most of the features found on current netbooks are standardized, but the Mini 311 does bring a few extras to the table. There are also different Mini 311 models, ranging from 1GB of RAM to 3GB RAM, Windows XP or Win7, and HDD size as well as an SSD option. Here's the rundown.

HP Mini 311 Specifications
Processor Intel Atom N270
(1.60GHz, 512KB L2, 45nm, 667FSB)
Intel Atom N280
(1.66GHz, 512KB L2, 45nm, 667FSB)
Memory 1x1024MB DDR3-1066 onboard
1 x SO-DIMM slot supporting up to 2GB RAM
(Max 3GB total)
Graphics Integrated NVIDIA ION LE
(~GeForce 9400M without DX10)
Display 11.6" Glossy LED-Backlit 16:9 WXGA (1366x768)
Hard Drive 2.5" 160GB 5400RPM 8MB
2.5" 250GB 5400RPM 8MB
2.5" 320GB 5400RPM 8MB
2.5" 80GB SSD (Intel)
Networking Wireless 802.11g or
Wireless 802.11n
Bluetooth (Optional)
Audio Realtek 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 6-Cell 10.8V, 4910 mAhr, 53.028 Whr
Front Side None
Left Side HDMI
1 x USB 2.0
Heat exhaust
AC Power connection
Kensington Lock
Right Side SD/MMC/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone combo jack
2 x USB 2.0
Back Side None
Operating System Windows XP Home SP3
Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Dimensions 11.4" x 8.03" x 0.78-1.20" (WxDxH)
Weight 3.22 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Webcam
Optional External USB DVD or Blu-ray drive
Warranty 1-year standard HP warranty
Price Base configuration starting at $399
Test system priced at $635

The mini 311 uses an 11.6" chassis and LCD, similar to the Acer 751h. There are some nice upgrades to your typical netbook, however, like an HDMI output. We've seen HDMI on other netbooks in the past (like the ASUS N10Jc for example); is it a coincidence that both netbooks had graphics from NVIDIA? Nope. Without a faster GPU to help with video decoding tasks, 1080p video output would be difficult at best.

The N10JC is actually an interesting point of reference; it uses the same N270 CPU and it was available for $650 about a year ago. The HP Mini 311 should offer similar performance without the need to switch between discrete and integrated graphics (with a required reboot in between). Pricing has also dropped relative to the N10JC; the base model Mini 311 costs $400, and you also get a 1366x768 LCD and an 11.6" chassis. LCD quality (contrast ratio) is unfortunately not as good as the N10JC, but battery life is similar. If you liked the idea of the ASUS N10JC last year but didn't want to spend $650, $400 today will get you a similar configuration. We mention this because we liked the N10JC so much that it garnered our Gold Editors' Choice award; can the HP Mini 311 do the same?

Going along with the HDMI port and video decode acceleration, HP offers an external USB Blu-ray/DVDR combo drive. The drive is actually quite nice and matches the shiny exterior of the Mini 311 (which means it attracts fingerprints as well as anything). It draws power over the USB cable, so you don't need an external adapter, and what's more it only costs an extra $130. Certainly that isn't cheap, but getting an internal Blu-ray combo drive on most laptops will cost that much if not more.

The remaining features on the Mini 311 are pretty standard: three USB ports, VGA output, and a flash reader. HP also uses a combination headphone/microphone jack, which means you can't connect both at the same time. The base model includes 802.11g networking (802.11n is an upgrade, as is Bluetooth support), and while the NVIDIA ION chipset includes gigabit Ethernet support, HP goes with a 100 Mb PHY. (Boo! Am I the only one that likes gigabit Ethernet even with netbooks?) The battery is a 6-cell 53Wh unit, which should provide decent battery life. HP claims up to six hours, and we were able to match that claim albeit only in the idle battery life test.

NVIDIA was kind enough to provide the Blu-ray drive along with the Mini 311, so we can take a look at performance and battery life with Blu-ray playback later. NVIDIA also provided a few upgrades relative to the base model. Our test system also came with Windows 7 Home Premium and 2GB RAM (1GB onboard and a 1GB SO-DIMM). The minimum cost for the Mini 311 is $400, but our test system comes priced at $630. Along with the extras just mentioned, we got the N270 CPU, 2GB DDR3, 160GB HDD. That price is basically the same as the ASUS N10JC, but the lion's share of the added cost of course goes to the external Blu-ray drive.

Index HP Mini 311 — Design
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  • ninjackn - Monday, November 23, 2009 - link

    I think a more fair comparison would be to mention all 3 tiers: netbooks, netbooks with video acceleration and CULV laptop. Netbooks have tempted me for a long while but the lack of ability to watch practically any video have long been a turn off from them.

    The ION netbooks are something like $100 more over a netbook without video acceleration. That $100 gets me the ability to watch youtube, hulu, 1080p H264 content and play games like plants vs zombies, WoW or Quake Live. Then for another $100 more I can get a laptop that can possibly do the same but have better battery life, build quality and start office faster? The $100 more is seeming less appearing, especially since it is a non-primary system.

    It seems like an interesting trade off, a weaker GPU and more powerful CPU (CULV + 4500MHD) or a strong GPU and weaker CPU (Atom + ION). The ION is defiantly a stronger GPU than the 4500MHD but I’m interested as to how the balance of CPU/GPU will play out in benchmarks for reasonable games.

    Also, if you buy a mini 311 with Windows 7 then it comes equipped with the full ION. Granted that ION LE really IS a full ION with the DX10 disabled through drivers but it can be enabled either through a BIOS hack or forcing full ION drivers. The Windows Experience Index score for gaming jumps from 3.9 to 5.4 I'm curious how that plays out (311+full ion vs timeline for "light" gaming).

    As for video playback I have no idea if the 4500MHD is any good for H264 decoding. All I’ve heard about it is from forums or comments and I would really appreciate if there was a more definitive source (anandtech) discussing the matter. I glossed over the flash 10.1 article and it would seem that either are fine for youtube or hulu but what about videos we acquired through other means?

    And talking as a "typical" anandtech-reader/power-user type of guy: The ion is more interesting over the 4500MHD because no apple laptop comes with a 4500MHD but they do come with a 9400M.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 23, 2009 - link

    4500MHD provides enough GPU acceleration of x264/H.264/Flash decoding that when combined with a CULV CPU you can easily watch 1080p videos.

    The real comparison is Acer 1410/Gateway EC1435u (essentially the same thing) vs. the HP Mini 311. All are ~$400 base price, with a slight advantage in specs (i.e. RAM) to the Acer/Gateway CULV laptops.

    I can't say for sure how the Celeron SU2300 stacks up to the Pentium SU4100, but half the cache and 100MHz should mean it's about 80-85% of the performance. That should still be enough for video decoding (I'll verify with Flash 10.1 on SU4100 in the next couple days).

    For graphics, GMA 4500MHD is about 1/4 the gaming performance of 9400M, but Atom really holds 9400M (ION) back it seems. If the 9400M can only run at ~1/3 it's regular gaming performance because of CPU bottlenecking, we have a real fight. If it's more like 1/2 speed, it's not as close.

    I'll be looking at all of this in the next week or so....
  • AstarothCY - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    The HP Mini 311 is multitouch-capable. Yes, the Windows 7 models ship with a driver that inexplicably does not recognize multitouch gestures, but if you install the following driver, they will work:


    You may experience an issue with the function of the left touchpad button being unset from "Click", causing some issues after you wake up from hibernate, just make sure it is set properly. HP should really release a proper Mini 311 ALPS driver for Windows 7.

  • BelardA - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    Yeah, it sucks that some idiots decided that WE would want glossy LCD screens for our portable computers. *I HATE THEM*.

    But there are notebooks with WindowsXP & Windows7 with excellent matte screens.

    They are called THINKPADS. Some of the cool-looking, lower end SL series has non-glossy screens. And the other series: R / T / X / W come with matte screens by default (Some are/were optional gloss).

    So starting at about $550 (SL) or a typical SL / R with core2duo at $600~700 are matte screens.

    I love my ThinkPad, and the screen was the #1 reason I bought it for $650. Many of my friends buy them now because of the screens and of course the quality. Something that HP can't touch.

    BTW: I also like netbooks... for $250~300, willing to deal with the glossy. But it looks like a ThinkPad Netbook may come out and it has glossy :( (rumored)
  • cgramer - Monday, November 23, 2009 - link

    FWIW, the Asus Eee PC 1000HE has a matte screen, though its case is as glossy as any of them (i.e., a fingerprint magnet).
  • AstroGuardian - Monday, November 23, 2009 - link

    ThinkPads are marvelous piece of technology. Definitely untouchable by competition. But costly also!
  • fokka - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    dell (and afaik hp) buisnes-lineups also offer matte sceens, though at least in the dell vostros, they arent that great considering viewing angles, contrast, colour.
  • Etern205 - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    The HP mini 311 uses DDR3 not DDR2 as you guys have stated in the specifications table.
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    Sorry... typical cut/paste typo. :)
  • irev210 - Sunday, November 22, 2009 - link

    Lots of talk between comparing the Acer 1810 to the ion platform.

    You can get the 399 dual core celeron CULV for 399 in the acer timeline 1410.

    The HP ion platform vs the Acer celly CULV platform is a no brainer comparison, as they are both 399.

    Acer celly CULV is by far the best value in the netbook space atm.

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