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)
|Chipset||NVIDIA ION LE|
|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
|Audio||Realtek 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
|Battery||6-Cell 10.8V, 4910 mAhr, 53.028 Whr|
1 x USB 2.0
AC Power connection
|Right Side||SD/MMC/MS Pro/xD reader
Microphone/Headphone combo jack
2 x USB 2.0
|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)|
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.