The Bottom Line
Aug 31 2011 - The HP Mini 1103 essentially takes much of the features found in a typical consumer netbook and adds a few business class features such as anti-glare screen and Bluetooth. This helps keep the price down to $300 but it also means it isn't quite as nice as other business class netbooks. Thankfully, the keyboard is comfortable although not quite as nice as their other designs and it does offer some very long running times. One big disappointment for business users though is the lack of customization to upgrade some of the components.
- Long Running Times
- High Performance Hard Drive
- Anti-glare Display
- Keyboard While Nice, Not Up To HP's Other Netbooks Level
- Np Available Customization Options
- Intel Atom N455 Single Core Mobile Processor
- 1GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 250GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 10.1" WSVGA (1024x600) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel GMA 3150 Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 2.0, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 10.6" x 7.5" x .9" @ 2.8 lbs.
- Windows 7 Starter, Office Starter
Review - HP Mini 1103
Aug 31 2011 - HP's Mini 1103 is essentially a low cost business class netbook. It takes many of the base features of the much more expensive HP Mini 5103. Of course, the $300 price tag means that many of the best features have to be dropped. This includes using a plastic chassis rather than the extremely durable aluminum and magnesium shell of the 5103. The overall shape and design is more similar to their consumer netbooks than the business class models as well.
In terms of the processor, it uses a fairly typical Intel Atom N455 processor that is found in most of the similarly priced netbooks. Since this is a single core processor it has limited overall performance but is suitable for basic web browsing, email and productivity that one might need from such a system. It does use the the newer DDR3 memory but is restricted to just 1GB per the licensing requirements of the Windows 7 Starter operating system.
One major difference with HP's netbooks compared to the rest of the market is the storage. While the Mini 1103 is restricted by the Windows 7 Starter license to just 250GB hard drive, HP uses a faster 7200rpm spin rate drive while most netbooks use slower 5400rpm drives. This means that the netbook is slightly faster at booting and loading programs than the average netbook. Overall, this makes for a much more pleasant experience but it still trails heavily more traditional laptops because of the processor and memory limitations.
Another difference with the HP Mini 1103 compared to most budget consumer netbooks is with connectivity. Bluetooth is provided to use with either wireless peripherals such as mice or for tethering to a mobile phone. This is a small but nice premium feature that can be quite useful to some buyers even if they don't intend to use this as a business system.
Opening up the HP Mini 1103 will also show two major differences compared to consumer netbooks. First, the display panel can be opened a full 180 degrees so that it can lie completely flat on a tablet or surface. There aren't many cases when this will be necessary but it is something of note. Secondly, the display is covered with an anti-glare coating rather than the traditional glossy coating of consumer netbooks. This provides a huge advantage if the netbook is going to be used outdoors or in certain tough lighting conditions. The 10.1-inch display is not nearly as nice as the more expensive 5103 as the color, brightness and viewing angles all seem to be a bit less.
Many of the more affordable netbooks on the market tend to save on costs by providing a smaller three cell battery pack. HP has decided to use a six cell battery pack with a 55WHr capacity rating. In video streaming playback testing, the Mini 1013 was able to run just over seven hours before going into standby mode. This puts it as one of the higher running times on the market particularly for such a low price. More typical usage should easily surpass eight and a half hours.
The keyboard of the HP Mini 1103 is a bit different as well. Rather than the isolated key design of the Mini 210, it uses a slightly more traditional style. The layout itself is good with full sized right and left shift keys. It should be noted the function key row is used primarily as media controls while the function keys are secondary which can take some getting used to especially if you are familiar with standard shortcuts. The trackpad is a bit smaller than some of HP's other models but it sacrificed that space for dedicated right and left buttons. This is actually a bit preferable to the integrated buttons found on some of the previous HP netbooks.