Monday, June 22, 2009

First Impressions: HP Mini (Best Buy Style) vs. Lenovo S10

So I picked up whatever the model of the HP Mini that they sell at Best Buy for $329 (the 10.1 model with a 16GB flash drive) for my mother with the goal of installing Ubuntu, since she the one family member that I've successfully converted from Windows.

Keyboard - the larger keyboard of the HP Mini's are well known. You can definitely tell the difference with the larger keys in that it allows more natural touch typing but the feel is spongier. About what you'd expect from a consumer laptop. The arrow keys are smaller size that all the other keys which is very annoying. It is difficult to see the special keys since they are light grey. On my white Lenovo they are blue so it is much easier. Overall the action is much crisper on the Lnovo

Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 installation - Installation took slightly longer, I assume due to the flash drive, but the OS upgrade too so longer (scrollkeeper was pegged at 100%) I killed gdm and went into the console and did the apt upgrade's there which seemed to work better. Still really slow. Hangups at upgrade of synpatic and other packages. I assume this is all do to the flash drive. There is also a known bug in the sound support. No sound through the speakers. Haven't tried a headphone.

Wireless - Even though both use the same Broadcom chipset I had more problem with the Mini. It connected to 1/3 of the networks I tried (a WPA2 for my Verizon Westell DSL modem) but not successfully with an HP 420 WPA access point or a Cisco 851W that was wide open. Perhaps I had L2 ACLs on the latter, not sure.

Ethernet - the RJ-45 port is plugged by default. The Mini appears to use a Marvell driver (as opposed to the Reatek used most other Netbooks). I could not get a lease and was getting PHY errors.

Touchpad - the buttons are on the side which are really annoying but I could probably get used to them. But the touchpad is definintely better than the Dell Mini 10. I prefer the buttons on the buttom that are much crsiper.

Screen - the 576 vertical resolution is definitely a pain since 600 of most Netbooks is too small. The screen seems somewhat brighter than the Lenovo.

Ports & Form Factor - these I knew about so wasn't suprised. No VGA. Ethernet is plugged. Two USBs (like the Lenovo). It is too narrow, IMHO. Sitting side by side the top of the screen is a full 3/4" shorter than the Ideapad. These sacrifices are needless in my opnion because it makes the form factor too small and thin.

Upgradeability - RAM bay is easy on the back, takes up to 2GB but you have to remove the keyboard to upgrade the drive.

Noise: It is definitely seems quieter that the Lenovo. Not sure whether it is the driver or the fan.

Bottom line: I've very happy with my Lenovo even though it hurts my hands and the keyboard is small. Overall Linux runs much better. I don't see the need for a slow (if quiet) flash drive. The form factor of the Mini is just too weird for me. The Ideapad feels like a small version of a real laptop.

No comments: