This LTE-enabled netbook is available exclusively from Verizon for $150 wih a two-year contract. The Compaq Mini Netbook comes in a somewhat plain black plasic chassis with a glossy lid – it’s functional and very little else. Compaq Mini measures 10.6 x 7.5 x 0.9-1.3 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds, so of course it’s very portable, but the question is whether it offers enough performance to justify the outlay over 24 months.
Port-wise Compaq Mini is quite well-supplied; three USB-2 ports, a card reader, the mandatory audio jacks, and a VGA socket. The Compaq Mini Netbook offers a 90% full-size keyboard which is actually very good to type on – no flex and excellent feedback. The touchpad is quite small but functional and it responds promptly and accurately. Here are some closeups of ports and keyboard:
The 10.1-inch 1024 x 600 pixel display is about average in terms of sharpness and brightness, though with this format side-by-side document-viewing or editing is well-nigh impossible, and even surfing requires a lot of scrolling. The anti-glare display surface will help with outdoor use.
Stereo speakers situated on the underside of the Mini Netbook’s shell deliver decent volume and quality is OK for casual listening, though headphones are recommended, as for most notebooks and netbooks. The OS is Windows 7 Starter, which is a shame, since HP could have supplied Windows 7 Home for just a few dollars more, bringing such standard functionality as options to change the desktop background. That in itself will put most people off.
The Compaq Mini Netbook is saddled with a 1.66GHz single-core processor, which means the Mini Netbook is good for tapping in the odd document or email and very litle else. Added to that is the fact that manufacturers still insist on shipping such low-spec machines with a miserly 1GB RAM. It’s a given that netbooks are in dire need of an instant upgrade to 2GB to make them usable, yet manufacturers still shave ten bucks off their costs by downsizing in this way. Fortunately the 250GB hard drive is the fast 7200rpm type, which gives a helping hand to the otherwise hamstrung components.
Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless connectivity is marvellously quick, and the Compaq Mini Netbook registered good connectivity almost everywhere we tried it, but with the ever-larger size of pages on the web all the bandwidth in the world is still limited by the bottleneck of that last-generation processor. I guess you’ll need a patient disposition to really enjoy surfing with the Compaq Mini.
Battery life came out at almost seven hours of moderate usage, fine for a netbook.
Overall, the Compaq Mini Netbook is acceptable for use when travelling, but we assume very few folks will use it as their main computer. The problem is, as mainstream PCs and laptops become faster and more powerful, this sort of base-specced netbook becomes all the more obviously inadequate. Enjoy these Compaq Mini pics:
In our opinion Compaq Mini CQ10-688nr falls down in too many places for users to recommend it, unless that LTE connectivity is crucial, in which case a closer look at Verizon’s services are in order. $80 per month for 10GB data plus the initial cost of the netbook on top works out at more than $2000 over the full two-year contract… and then consider surfing in late 2013 with an Atom processor… there must be another way.
Take a look at the Toshiba N550 or something with at the very least a hyper-threaded single-core CPU. For $319 you should take a long, hard look at the new Asus Eee PC 1025CE, with its state-of-the-art 1.86GHz Cedar Trail processor, USB-3 port and 10 hours’ battery time.
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