Saturday, 27 August 2011

HP DM1-3100SA Netbook Review- Part 1

As a regular poster on a student forum (The Student Room), I was kindly invited to take part in a netbook review on behalf of AMD. Six members of the forum were given netbooks to review over a few weeks, with each week concentrating on a different area.

The first week was battery life- read on for the review.

Battery Life
After charging the battery and booting up, the battery meter showed 4 hours 47 minutes.

I started using the laptop with the screen on full brightness and WiFi on. First instincts were the range of bloatware HP crammed onto it, so I spent some time removing unnecessary programs and rebooting etc.

After 1.5 hours, of this light usage, the battery meter was at 3:14 (52%).

Next day I booted up and ran Adobe Lightroom. I imported a load of RAW files and set it to render full resolution previews for an hour, then returned to light usage. At this point, there was still an impressive 2 hours (38%) left on the meter.

After another hour of light usage, 20% of the battery was left.

Then I played a standard definition video on iplayer (non fullscreen) and after 25 minutes I’m down to the last 10% of battery.

The netbook finally hibernated at 5% battery level after watching a further 12 minutes on iplayer, bringing the grand total to 4 hours 40 minutes. Not bad for a netbook that I carried out a range of different programs on, from light web browsing to image rendering.

Other Points
On more general notes, I’m not a fan of the touchpad. The buttons are in the same surface as the touch area, they still click to press, but any slight hovering of a finger over the click area causes erratic movement of the cursor. Therefore for most of the above tests a usb mouse was connected.

It was however nice to see the Ctrl and Fn keys are the correct way round. On the F keys are the usual secondary function keys. HP decided to make these default in the BIOS, meaning Alt + F4 becomes Alt + Fn + F4. This was quickly changed back to normal. The keyboard did lack a few keys I like to use, such as the Page Up, Down, Home and End keys.

The range of ports include: 3x USB, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, headphone/microphone, SD/MMC card reader and an Ethernet port. The Ethernet port is located on the rear corner of the netbook, under a tacky plastic cover and at an angle. Not particularly classy, but it is gigabit LAN (something that is missed on cheaper computers) and the wireless was wireless N. Apparently there is also Bluetooth connectivity, but I haven’t tried it.

Hard drive is of average to decent size for a netbook, 320GB. This will be fine for most users, but those expecting speed and better portability from their netbook may prefer an SSD.

3 GB RAM is again, average which leads me on to the OS. The netbook can support 8GB RAM, yet HP have decided to install a 32 bit OS.

Screen has a decent resolution for an 11” screen, 1366x768, however for a photographer the temperature is a bit cool by default.

Speakers pack a decent punch at full volume, with little distortion but with all small speakers are lacking bass. The speakers are situated in the front edge of the netbook below the touchpad.

Heat dissipation is fine, after rendering the images it wasn’t that hot, which may be due to the fan which may be a touch noisy, but not the loudest I’ve heard.

And on a completely unrelated note, there were files in the Downloads folder.


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