Most netbooks that you'll find on the market these days aren't exactly designed for office workers, coming in a range of bright colours that'd look rather odd in the hands of a businessman. Though the HP Mini 210-3002sa lives up to this preconception at least partially, coming in a 'Matte Luminous Rose' (or for those of you who don't have the Dulux catalogue to hand, pink) version, it does also come in a much more sensible hue – the version we looked at was somewhere between steely and midnight grey.
As far as netbooks go, the HP Mini is slightly faster than the average, though a WorldBench 6 score of 38 is still some way short of even low-end ultraportable laptops. So it isn't really likely to be versatile enough for a business user, struggling through anything more complex than Office programs, though if you only require something for checking email on the move and the odd bit of web-based research then it'd be perfectly adequate.
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The keyboard, according to HP, is 93 percent full-sized, and it is very usable, enabling you to type with barely an error. All the keys are separate from each other and the arrow keys are very usable. Below the keyboard is a touchpad that supports multi-touch gestures and can be turned off while you're typing if you wish. The touchpad is also textured, meaning that it is easy for your fingers to find without you having to look away from the screen.
But really, despite its sensible looks, the HP Mini is all about entertainment. It boasts a stereo speaker system made by Beats Audio and the sound quality it offers is nothing short of astounding, handling everything we threw at it very well, from bassy dance music to shrill sopranos. The 10.1in, 1024 x 600 screen is decent, with an anti-glare coating on the glossy finish that works fairly well without making the colours dull and it has a wide viewing angle too.
Netbooks need to withstand a bit of a battering as they're designed to travel around with you and the HP Mini seems to be tough enough for this kind of lifestyle, whereas many other netbooks we've seen feel plasticky and unsuitable for the stresses and strains of life on the road. It's a decent weight at 1.39kg, though this is still substantially heavier than an 11-inch MacBook Air, for example, but it definitely won't give you any back trouble.
The most vital aspect of any travelling partner is how long they can go without a recharge – happily, the HP Mini is not going to let you down on that front. It lasted 474 minutes in our tests – just short of eight hours – so if you were flying to the US, for example, it would last until after touchdown at New York's JFK, though wouldn't stretch all the way to LAX.
The 250GB hard drive is reasonable for a netbook, enabling you to cram a few movies and plenty of music in. There are three USB 2.0 ports, which is plenty, a VGA port for connecting to a larger monitor or projector should you wish, while Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are catered for too. An SD card slot provides you with the best option for quick and easy backup, but if you do want to watch movies on the move then you'll need to bear in mind that like all netbooks, there's no optical drive.