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• Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

HP 1030nr NetbookIt’s been just over a year since I wrote my initial review of the HP 1030nr netbook.  I promised then I would do a follow up, and just never got around to it.  I’m currently on lunch break during the Government Technology Conference (GTCAustin) and thought I would take some time to let you know how it’s been going.

Many people have asked me how I like it.  The quick and dirty answer is: After a year, I’m looking for something better.

I’m not overly disappointed with the product, but given a years time and seeing what’s now available, it’s time to change.

I still love the size and the look, it is a beautiful machine.  However, there are a few things that I am not thrilled with.

  • Battery Life
    The max life of the battery dwindled quickly.  As I write this, I’ve had it running for about an hour with tweetdeck and safari running via a wifi connection.  My battery meter says I’m already down to only 55%.  I’ve learned over the year that if I want to have it running during conference sessions, I had better get in the room early and find the power plugs.  I’m usually lucky if I can get 2 hours of use before it must be plugged in.
  • Solid State Drive
    When I was looking at the systems over a year ago I had thought that with fewer moving parts I would see longer battery life and improved performance.  Unfortunately I saw neither.  To be fair, the machine does boot very fast, but I would rather have a slightly slower boot and faster operating performance.  Also, the size of the drive has been an issue for me as well.  I have yet to run out of space, but that’s only because I carefully consider and evaluate anything I want to install.  I miss having a “real” hard drive.
  • Dark Web Cam
    Thankfully I don’t do a lot of “camming” from the netbook, the picture from the camera is very dark, even when snapped in a very well-lit room at the the middle of the day.
  • Super Glossy Screen
    The screen looks FANTASTIC indoors or low light environments.  However, in a well lit room you will get a huge amount of glare on the screen.  Try running the HP 1030nr outdoors, on a sunny day and you’ll have a hard time seeing anything.  If you’re on battery power, which further reduces the screen brightness, you might as well be wearing a blindfold.
  • Screen Lag Time
    I don’t know what causes this problem; is it windows, the Atom processor, memory or something else.  But, fairly frequently I will be typing along and the screen will just stop updating.  If I stop typing for a few seconds the text will eventually update just as though it were being typed.  Weird.  Thankfully I’m not a speed typist or this might be a significant problem.

Please don’t think I’m saying this machine is a piece of junk, far from it.   My little HP 1030nr netbook would be perfect for somebody who wants to sit on the couch and surf, or since it does such a great job of reading videos from a flash drive, it would make an awesome entertainment device for the kiddos  – of course make sure you keep an eye open for power outlets.

Despite it’s quirks, it’s done most of what I wanted it to do when I bought it.  But now, I have different and more specific requirements.  Let’s say “it’s not you, it’s me” or perhaps “we’ve just grown apart” ;-)

What netbook are you using?  What netbook do you WISH you were using?

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