Category Archives: Reviews

Find personal reviews on gadgets, hardware and software here so you know what you are buying, before you are buying it!

Bluetooth-mouse

Mini laptop mouse with Bluetooth – Sweex MI702

Bekijk in het NederlandsSweex mini laptop mouseNetbooks are slim, small portable laptops that can be used for any kind of simple computer task. They are incredible versatile can be popped open whenever you want. The only problem is their damn mouse pads. They are extremely inferior to a normal mouse and can kill your experience using a netbook. In order to use a netbook properly, you are going to need a mini laptop mouse. But which one should you buy?

My experiences with mini laptop mice

I have been using a netbook for quite a while now and am a very happy owner. My netbook made my life a lot easier and way more portable. I did however require a decent mini mouse to make the damn thing useable, since I hate having to work with touchpads. So far I got two mice. One was a bad starter and the other one was a great investment using Bluetooth.

I started out with an HP mouse that looked just like my HP Pavilion DM-1 netbook. It had the same design and looked like it was meant to work with the netbook I bought. It came with a mini adapter to establish a wireless connection straight to my netbook. It worked fine, sure, but it had some pretty big flaws.

First of all, the HP mini mouse lacked two buttons on the side of the mouse to quickly navigate back and forth between pages. Annoying, but I knew this from the beginning. The latter and bigger defect of the mouse was the fact that the scroll wheel hardly worked. Whenever I scrolled down, the page went somewhat up, somewhat down, staying pretty much in the same place in the end. In addition, I got rather annoyed by the mini USB adapter for the wireless connection always sticking out of my perfectly small netbook, making it a bit harder for the netbook to slide into its sleeve.

When the batteries of my first wireless mini mouse were depleted, I decided to not buy new batteries, but a new laptop mouse. I decided I did not want to use another wireless adapter that had to stick out of the side of the laptop anymore, but wanted to use my already present Bluetooth technology. I searched for a bit and found my new mini laptop Bluetooth mouse, with the two side buttons for quick navigation and a proper scroll wheel: the Sweex MI702 Bluetooth Laser Mouse.

The Sweex MI702 Bluetooth laser mouse

Mini bluetooth mouseThe Sweex MI702 Bluetooth laser mouse cost me 20 bucks, but has been well worth the investment. The mini mouse comes in a dark blue color, and has six buttons in all. Besides the regular left-right-middle click buttons it has two buttons on the side for quick navigation and a DPI switch button on the top. It has a maximum resolution of 1600 DPI. It works on normal AAA batteries and the battery life has been great. I have been using it for several months and have not yet had to replace my batteries. It uses invisible laser to navigate so you don’t see any light coming out of the mouse during normal use.

The Sweex MI702 Bluetooth Laser Mouse looks very solid and has good grip. The side of the mouse and the scroll wheel are padded with anti-slip material to ensure your grip. On the bottom is a connect button to create a connection with your laptop, which is only used the first time you pair the mini mouse with another device and the on/off switch. The mouse is light, but not too light and small so you can just throw it in your bag along with your netbook or laptop.

I have been using this mouse for months now and have yet to find a better alternative laptop mouse using Bluetooth. All in all a great investment for only a few bucks.

Wireless Bluetooth laptop mouse

Custom Rom HTX Zero 0.21

Android Custom Roms – Upgrade Your Phone

Android Custom RomBekijk in het NederlandsA while back we dedicated an article to overclocking android, and for that we had to use an android custom rom on my HTC Hero. The roms back then were not stable enough to be used on a daily basis, but lately my hands have been itching again. I decided to search the web for a new rom to try, and found one that should put Android 2.3.5 with HTC Sense 3.5 on my old HTC Hero. Besides Ice cream Sandwich this is the newest version of android and sense available, so I just had to give it a try!

Does the android custom rom work

I am going to start with my conclusion of this rom, the HTX Zero 0.21. You may want know if the rom is any good before you read through all the steps needed to install it. In short: it depends. As with all custom roms, it has its ups and downs. I must say, for the newest android and Sense, it runs rather smooth, plus you can properly boast about it since you are running this software on a three-year-old phone. It has never fully rebooted for me, but the Sense interface does perform a soft reboot every now and then. This can be annoying, but it is just that…minor annoyance.

The upside is that you are running the newest version of Android and Sense. This includes for example the new unlock screen, which is indeed a big improvement. Also the widgets look nicer, and when overclocked and supercharged, the phone also runs rather smooth. Keep in mind that my  HTC Hero only overclocks to just under 600mhz, where most HTC Heros are able to go to 700mhz. This should smoothen up the phone even more and should enable perfect use of this rom.

Custom roms have some downsides

HTC SenseThis all sounds great, but sadly, there are more downsides as well. This morning I was late for work because my alarm, which was properly set, did not go off. Annoying if you use the phone’s alarm as your only way to wake up in the morning, but probably not a major issue for most people.  Another thing, which I haven’t been able to verify properly, is that I have the feeling I am not receiving all my text messages. I know I didn’t  receive at least one, but I am unsure if this is due to my phone’s software, the other user or the major network usage in the area at that time.

When updating apps and using for example the internet browser at the same time, the phone is sometimes unable to handle the stress and becomes  unusable for a short period of time. This usually results in a soft reboot and that’s fine, but it also occurs whenever your just listening to music or something and this can be of a bigger annoyance.

It also has some other issues, like disabling auto-sync and 3g connection sometimes for no proper reason and connecting a Bluetooth headset sometimes just won’t work.

It’s rather random.

 

Android 2.3.5 and Sense 3.5 on your HTC Hero

In short, this rom works, and when overclocked and running a supercharger script it is pretty smooth, but still has too much flaws for me to keep using it as a daily rom. If you overclock your HTC Hero higher it may prove to be more stable, but I’m going to try another rom soon.

Check back for a review on my next rom!

Please leave any advice on which rom to try in the comments!

In the meantime, if you want to give this rom a go you will find some useful information and links below.

Getting the proper files

The most important thing to do when setting up a custom rom is to be prepared. You need the custom rom, a romloader of some sorts, backups if you want and possible an official rom to flash when all things go to hell. The hardest part was to find a proper romloader. I always used Clockworkmod for my roms, but they decided to stop supporting android 2.1 – the one which my HTC Hero was running on. Because of that, it was unfindable in the Android market. For some reason every other romloader was gone as well. Strange… I had to load Clockworkmod in a different way. Easy as pie, if you can find the proper APK file for that, but this proved to be harder than I thought. Luckily, I am going to save you the trouble of finding that file. It can be found right here!
http://www.4shared.com/file/bsSALCNd/ROM_Manager_2504.html?refurl=d1url

For the rest of the steps I’m going to redirect you to my previous post about loading custom roms and overclocking android. Everything should still work the same as back then, and if you are unable to find some apps in the market, just download their APKs manually and install them that way.

For the rom itself and more on the subject please check out XDA-Developers

http://forum.xdadevelopers.com/showthread.php?t=1283338

 

Mini camera YS80

Mini DV MD80 camera review – The future of video or a waste of money

Mini DV MD80

Bekijk in het NederlandsEvery once in a while you are doing something that you wish you could record, but you don’t have the money for a proper camera, or just don’t dare to bring it out into the wild. I for one am a snowboarder and try to go on a snowboarding trip once a year. Since it is really expensive I try to make the most out of it every year, and every year again I wish I brought a camera, but then again I’m afraid it might break or get wet. That’s when I started looking for something small, something cheap, and something that shoots decent video. I found something called a Mini DV MD80.

The mini DV MD80 camera

At first it looked as if several different types of the mini dv MD80 existed. They all seemed legit and official, but they all looked the same. This struck me as something odd,since these cameras are all from different brands. Quickly I found a comment saying that these things are offered on E-bay as well for even less money! Ichecked it out and what do you think? Literally tons of ‘fake’ MD80 camera’s are offered on E-bay, shipping from china to all across the globe. I Decided to just go for it and ordered my Chinese MD80 which was just under €20,- including shipping from China to the Netherlands. It took about two weeks, and then a small packet was delivered to my doorstep. No extra costs had to be paid, the packet was there, just under €20,- and that was that. Time to unpack!

The Mini DV YS80 Camera?

As I ripped open the packaging I saw a little box with the MD80 featured on the front, but it turned out that this was not the mini DV MD80 that I ordered, but mini DV YS80 which I never heard of before. Oh well, no harm done, it looks exactly the same. The packet however was badly bruised all over. Dents as big as my fist were applied on both sides of the box. This promised to be interesting! I unpacked it further and sure enough there was a little camera inside the box with several attachments to mount it on different things. It didn’t feature a microSD card though, and the camera does not have any onboard memory, so I couldn’t test it quite yet. I bought myself a brand new microSD card and was ready to go. This did however up the cost a bit, and the camera no longer seemed as cheap as I hoped. It still wasn’t expensive though, and was still expendable enough to take it with me on the mountain.

Gadgets

Before we try to capture anything on video it was time to check out the gadgets that came with the small and fake mini DV MD80 camera. First we had a small clip that could be attached to the camera in order to clip it on to anything. This seemed solid enough not to break anytime soon. Further we had a leash to strap it on to your wrist and a clip that should enable you to run a sort of band through the camera in order to strap it to, let’s say, a helmet. The funny thing however is that I did not receive band to use it with. As far as attachments go, the only useful thing was the clip, but this didn’t enable me to hook it up to my helmet! The best thing I could think of was attaching it to my scarf, but then the camera would be in front of my nose the entire time. Not the best place for a camera to be, but it would do. Another gadget that came with the packet was a silicone protection cover, which seemed nice, but when it is pulled over the camera youcan no longer use any of the other attachment gadgets since the camera has then become too big to fit into any of them. Interesting move on a designer level there! I also received a manual, with one part in English featuring the most important features, and another part in I guess Chinese which also included a description of all the added gadgets of which some weren’t even in the box!

The testing

YS80 MD80On to the testing phase of this review! For the first few tests I just held the mini DV YS80 camera in my hand, as I did not have any other major options besides clipping it on something. It was evening and I filmed inside the house using regular lights that one would lit in the evening. The results were not as good as I hoped. The frame rate was a bit under the level that I expected and the film itself was very grainy. I hoped this was because of the low light in the house and decidedto not judge the fake mini DV MD80 camera yet.

Shortly after that we went on vacation to the mountains, and so the following test was on the snow. The camera was clipped to my scarf, without the protection of the silicone cover and was dangling in front of my nose. I can assure you, this was not ideal. I switched the camera on and pressed record, but in the bright light of the great outdoors it was very hard to see what color the light was, or even if the light was on or off. I had to cover the camera with my hands in order to see whether the camera was on at all. Of course the tiny buttons were impossible to press with my gloves on so I had to take them of whenever Iwanted to use the camera. After a bit of a struggle the camera was presumably recording and was clipped to my scarf. We were all ready to go. I recorded a couple of descents and wondered how the footage would look. At the end of theday I tried to watch it on my phone, but my phone did not have native support for .AVI in which the camera records its footage. I had to download another app to run it, and found out that the only thing the camera recorded were my feet and a lot of snow. It appeared that the camera was dangling from my scarf and thus recorded nothing useful. If it would have been secured to my helmet, it would probably have shot some awesome footage, but now everything was lost. I must say though, that even though I only saw my feet and snow, the footage did seem pretty sharp and decent. Sadly, the next day I got injured on the slopes and was unable to continue snowboarding. I therefore have zero usable footage of the descents. I shot one more video in the apartment and tested the camera a bit indoor during the daytime.

In the apartment I pressed the record button once again and this time it shot some decent video. The image is shot at a resolution of 720×480 at a steady 30 frames per second. The bitrate however is low and the image continues to look grainy. This was to be expected however due to the cost of the camera. Basically it shoots video like an older model phone. The image appears to be zoomed in a bit, but I don’t know for certain if this is the case. In addition, the aim of the lens seems to be a bit off. Either that or I am very bad at aiming a camera without a screen. I suspect the first one though, since the lens seems to be placed at an angle a bit into the body. The audio is pretty decent, but that is not necessarily what you buy a camera for. I can only conclude that the video is okay. Not that bad, but certainly not great either. it is hard to aim and you will probably shoot your videos a bit at an angle. If attached to a helmet it should be alright, I guess.

I made a little sample video, but I have the strange feeling that the quality is even lower than the other videos I shot with the camera. It may also vary with different microSD cards.

Conclusion

In the end I would necessarily recommend this mini DV MD80 camera to anyone. Maybe the official one is better, but it can’t be much better due to cost and size. If you just want to record some of your extreme sports without worrying about damaging your equipment I guess this is a pretty safe bet, but don’t expect great videos. You may want to buy a roll of ductape as well to properly attach your fake mini DV MD80 camera to something.

PS: the clip, the only useful part to attach the camera to other objects is starting to show signs of use, although it was hardly used. The clip is becoming more ‘flexible’, something you do not want to happen. Oh well….

If you are interested in the mini-DV MD80 Camera you can take a look here —>

mini projector

Aaxa P4 Review – Bright Image Mini Projector But Poor Battery

AAXA P4 Pico ProjectorBekijk in het NederlandsWith pocket size mini projectors, the Aaxa P4 is not the most mobile version of the latest collection, yet it performs extremely well in delivering bright images.  However, the P4 experiences average battery life, and the audio does not comply to the image quality standards.

The Aaxa P4 mini projector

With double the size of iPhone and weighing around 8 oz, Aaxa P4’s DLP technology delivers 80 ANSI lumens of image brightness. The competitor products can deliver the image brightness of only 30 to 50 ANSI lumens. The good thing about the bright picture is that the mini projector works well without having to dim the lights in the room. In my personal experience, I saw that the P4 images in the projector were clearly visible in an open room space.

You can even increase the size of these images. The P4 manual states that the product can deliver images up to 50.5 inches from as far as 8 feet distance. The aspect ratio is 16:9.

Features


mini projectorThe local resolution of 858×480 is quite normal for a high-end mini projector and it supports input resolutions of 1280×800. It supports VGA through an integrated VGA-to-mini-USB cord, and composite video. The negative side is its limitation to iPads or iPhones accessibility.
You may separately buy a cable connector for just $20 provided it has a video-out support. This enables you to use a microSD card for your source material, for example. You can also use a USB port to connect to  devices such as a mouse or a keyboard. You can get a mobile size keyboard and a USB dongle for an additional $50.

Aaxa P4 also offers an built-in 1-watt speaker and a pair of headphones. Unfortunately, there is no Wi-Fi feature to connect to internet and the batter life is too low – less than 75 minutes for a full four-hour charge.

A cute little tripod also accompanies the unit that can slide or bend with gooseneck legs but the legs are not too strong, and may cause trembling from time to time. This can be frustrating sometimes since adjusting the tripod is the only way to deal with this issue.

stand-alone pico projectorThere is a read-write facility for the file formats such as word, excel and PowerPoint through SoftMaker, a windows CE app, that is included in the product. The Aaxa supports all video types including AVI, MP4, FLV, RM, RMVB and MPG. Support for MP3 and JPG is also present. You can also play music files or stills from micro SD or USB drive connected to it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the ability to show clear, perfect images in a bright room is the biggest selling point of Aaxa P4 that may be attractive to business travellers who need projectors almost all the time. However, if long battery with a decent audio is a concern, then look elsewhere. Luckily, this is probably not one of the main concerns you have when looking for a portable mini projector.

extend your smartphone battery

Mugen power extended battery for smartphones review

Extended battery smartphoneBekijk in het NederlandsSmartphones are becoming increasingly popular. People have to be connected 24/7 and the closest the phones get to shutting down is the silent mode. There is however one big drawback to all this. The battery life of your smartphone cannot keep up with your social life. You phone has be plugged in every 6 hours and you can’t go anywhere without your charger. After I pretty much destroyed my previous battery, I decided not to go back to this sad excuse for a battery, but upgraded my stock battery to a custom extended battery. Read how it holds up in this post.

Extended battery life with Mugen Power

I decided to order the Mugen Power 1550mAh Extended Replacement Battery for my HTC Hero. I somehow shipped this extended battery to a wrong address, but I ended up with this battery after about 12 days. It cost me only $30,- which is about €23,- and this includes shipping from the other side of the world. Peanuts! I received the extended battery in a bit of plastic with a very short manual. It looked rather cheap, but heck, it was cheap. I read that you should charge it first for about 5-6 hours and repeat that for about five times. When I charge my phone I usually keep it charging overnight which is plenty of time.

I plugged it in and found out it was already half charged. I decided to go with it and find out how long my phone would last on half a battery. A few hours later it was almost completely drained, which was quite a disappointment. I charged it overnight and the next day my phone stayed up for the entire day. At the end of the day however the phone warned me that it was about to shut down. No harm done, the day was done anyways, but still it was a bit disappointing yet again.

After another night of charging I let it run for another day. This time the bar was still green by the time I was home again! A big improvement! The next day went even better and now the phone is still half charged when it is time to go to bed. Even when I use it extensively listening to music while surfing the internet for longer periods of time a day the extended battery doesn’t budge.

This extended battery didn’t come with a custom cover for my phone because it was just as big as the normal stock battery, but there is even a bigger version out there which would last even longer. You will end up with a thicker phone, but if you use it a lot and travel for many hours without the possibility to charge it, this might be a solution for you.

All in all this was a very good investment. I hardly have to worry about the battery life of my phone now, where I previously had the hook it up to a socket every time I traveled for more than an hour. I tested the battery for the HTC Hero, but I would recon this would go for many other smartphones with replaceable batteries as well.

Buy extended smartphone batteries

Cooler Master 690 II

Cooler Master CM 690 II Case Review

Cooler Master CM 690 IIBekijk in het NederlandsI am the sort of person that replaces the components of his computer from time to time, just to keep everything working smooth, up to date, or tweaked a little just to perform a little bit better. Therefore I had to open the case a lot of times. Now you would expect me to have some high-tech computer case to help me with that, but no, my case was some old crappy thing that I got for free when buying my first PC years back. Until now…Introducing the Cooler Master 690 II!

Cooler Master CM 690 II


I finally decided to go ahead and invest a little bit of money in a new case. Mainly because my old one wasn’t able to close anymore, and because my CPU and graphics card were getting dangerously hot. This was mainly because of my Bitcoin mining operation, but still, it shouldn’t be able to shut down my PC. I decided to do some research about cases and finally my eyes rested on the Cooler Master CM 690 II. The first version of this case is a well known case by tweakers, and now they finally released the mark II.

Cooler Master cm 690 II frontSo let’s look at the case a little bit closer. The front and top of the case are almost completely made of a steel mesh which does not only look great, but is also very important for your airflow. The open nature of the mesh allows air to travel through it, creating better passageway for air entering and exiting the case. On the left side of the CM 690 II there are several ventilation slots where you can mount two more case fans. These fan slots can house 80, 92, 120 or 140mm fans. The panel at the side of the motherboard tray has a much smaller fan opening which will fit a single 80mm case fan. The rear panel on the 690 II features a 7+1 expansion area and two holes with rubbers to allow for water cooling that support 5/8″ ID tubing. At the back of the case you will also notice that this case features a bottom mounted power supply. This is also done to create a better airflow within the case. You will also find a rear 120mm exhaust next to the motherboard I/O area just above the expansion area.

Cooler Master cm 690 II topThe control panel on the CM 690 II is located on top of the case in the front. The panel includes a fan LED-light on/off switch, a power button, a reset button, one e-SATA port, audio jacks and two USB 2.0 ports. Behind the control panel is a small area where the advanced version of the case has a hot swappable bay for a hard drive disk. The normal version just has a place to rest your USB sticks. The whole top panel can be easily removed to allow access to the chassis below it. Here you can choose to install either dual exhaust fans or a water cooling set-up. The top of the case can support either a 280mm or 240mm radiator and has enough room for the fans on a 240mm radiator to be installed on the top of the chassis. You can also fit two normal fans here if you so desire. An exhaust fan or two would do great here.

Cooler Master cm 690 II front removedThe front panel is removed with great ease as well. Here you see that there are four removable parts of the steel mesh to allow for DVD-players and what not. You will also see that behind each mesh part is a dust filter in place. This is true for the entire case. Every opening you find, especially for the fans features a dust filter. You will also find the front fan here, featuring icy blue LED-lights. These can be turned off by a touch of the button on top of the case. The fan takes in air and forces it right over your hard disks. You can even adjust the fan up or down, or even replace it with two smaller fans if you wish.

Cooler Master cm 690 II bottom

The bottom of the case is well ventilated and, as you can see, Cooler Master has kept the large rubber feet design introduced with the CM 690. The rubber feet not only look very nice, but also elevate the case from the floor to allow for a better intake of air, reduction of dust intake and for less vibration.

The inside of the case

Cooler Master CM 690 II InsideWhen you strip the case of its side panels you can see that the interior is painted black just like the exterior. You will also notices big holes to allow for great cable management. Not only is there a lot of room between the motherboard tray and the side panel, but there are also a lot of anchors in place to secure zip-ties to in order to keep those pesky cables in place. You will also notice that this case has lots of room.  You will not be able to fit the largest cards, for example the HD5970, but most of the high end cards should be just fine.

Inside the case you will also find that the CM 690 II supports up to four 5.25″ optical bays. There is a tool-less system in place to easily install Cooler Master cm 690 II drivebaythese. You just have to slide you bay into the tray, align the screw holes with the system and flip a switch. Easy as that.

Cooler Master cm 690 II HDD CageHard drives are also extremely easy to install. The CM 690 II supports up to six internally and these are located just behind the front intake fan. Again, you just have to slide your HDD into the tray, and close it. Your HDD is now in place and secured. It just that simple. You will have to insert some pins onto the disk’s screw holes, but that is also done within seconds. There is also the option to remove the bottom half of the drive-cage to allow for better airflow, a bottom radiator or extra case fans.

Cooler Master CM 690 II inside backIn the back of the case you will find the expansion slots. Seven of them are fitted horizontally with black thumb-screws for easy installation. One of the slots is fitted vertically. You can use this one for a fan controller or just for extra USB slots.

The motherboard tray features a wide variety of holes for screws, to fit as many motherboards as possible. My motherboard was installed very easily. There is also a big hole in the plate to install CPU coolers with back plates with ease.

Cooler Master included two fans. One is installed in the front as an intake and features the blue LEDs; the other is installed in the back as an exhaust. If you get the CM 690 II advanced you will get an additional case fan.

Conclusion

Cooler Master CM 690 II inside 2During the installation of my hardware into this case, it was surprising how easy everything was. I was used to some cheap old case that featured nothing like tool-less designs or cable management. When I was finished it was shocking to see how many screws I had left. Also the case was extremely clean with all the cables running through the cable management system. I also had a lot of room left over for a bigger graphics card, which is always good to know.

The airflow increased tremendously. My system dropped a solid 20 degrees in temperature. I am now running my setup on a slight overclock, something I wouldn’t dare to dream of in my previous case. I also have the option to add EIGHT more case fans, which could work wonders as well. I am considering buying at least two more.

The case looks great, and even the LEDs do not annoy me when they are turned on. The CM 690 II is also very silent. Even though I have two more fans then my old case, it is actually a lot quieter.

I would certainly recommend this case. If you are missing an external drive bay, or an SSD bracket, or an extra fan, you can always buy the advanced version.

All in all, this case made my setup much better with just a little investment.

Cooler Master CM 690 II specifications case

HP Dm1-3200

Netbook Review – HP Pavilion DM1-3200sd

hp pavilion dm1 3200sdBekijk in het NederlandsPeople seem to be busier every day. Work has to be done on the go. Email needs to be checked on a phone, and the stock market needs to be followed on the tablet pc. But what if you just need to write a paper or simply send an email? You could bring your laptop, but people tend to complain about how big that thing really is, how much it weighs and the fact that by the time its fully booted your battery is half dead already. The solution? The netbook!

If you find yourself to be one of those people described above you may have already considered buying a netbook. This smaller brother of the laptop is perfect to take along with you on a trip by train or airplane. They barely weigh anything anymore and when you press the power switch you can almost immediately begin typing. Too bad choosing the right netbook isn’t as easy as it sounds, not even for the veteran pc addict. That is because the hardware tends to differ enormously from normal desktop hardware.

Now a little while ago I managed to get my hands on an HP Pavilion DM1-32oosd netbook. In this review I will try to cover as much as I can about the pro’s and the con’s about this specific netbook and about netbooks in general.

Netbook specifications

 Technical specifications
CPU-type AMD Fusion E-350
Speed 1,6GHz
Chipset AMD A50M Fusion
Memory 4GB
Memory type DDR3 (SODIMM)
Screen size 11,6″
Videochip Radeon Mobility HD6310
Video out D-Sub (VGA), HDMI
Screen resolution 1366×768 (WXGA Wide)
Backlight Led: Edge-lit
Storage
Storage capacity 500GB
HDD type 7200rpm
Interfaces
USB 3x USB 2.0
Wlan 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
(Ethernet Ethernet 1Gbps
Bluetooth Bluetooth 3.0
Other specs
Multitouch touchpad yes
Laptop extra’s Cardreader, Webcam
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium
Weight 1,55kg
Battery 55Wh
color Zwart
Warranty 1 jaar pickup & return





A new version has been released! Click for more info –>


Looks and feel of the Netbook

HP Pavilion dm1 3200 openThe laptop has a business look to itself with a playful touch here and there. When the cover is still closed one will notice that this isn’t entirely black, but a subtle print covers the entire lid. This gives the netbook that playful edge that sets it apart from others. In the upper right corner (lower right when opened) a small HP logo shines in a nice form of aluminum. The outer edges are made from the same material.

When opened, you will notice that the inside of the netbook are also made of this material. The entire body which houses the screen, including its hinges, and the body of the lower part of the netbook are the same color. Only the keyboard and mousepad are matte black.

The keyboard is one of those clichet types. This means that the keys seem to float a little above the keyboard surface, which improves the feel of typing on the keyboard. The space between the keys is also rather large, also adding to the comfort of this particular keyboard.

The mousepad is slightly recessed in the body and has built-in buttons that are only recognizable because of light grey line marking their edges. It has to be said that the mousepad is probably one of the less thought out features of this netbook, and that is the main reason I always bring my wireless laptop mouse. The mousepad doesn’t always react the way it should and that makes the mouse pointer hop all across your screen from time to time. In addition, the buttons don’t behave as they should either. It happens quite often that I try to click something but I get the right-click menu instead. This can be quite annoying when you do not bring a mouse, but whenever you do you can simply disable the mousepad by two light taps in the upper left corner.

When closed the laptop does tend to bend a little when you press the cover, and when opened the screen is slightly bendable. This doesn’t necessarily feel weak. This even feels rather solid for a screen of this thickness. The keyboard is very solid and does not give an inch when you put pressure on it. This also adds to the comfort the keyboard gives. The body can be slightly bent alongside the mousepad, but again this doesn’t feel too cheap but still rather solid.

Hardware

When the power switch is pressed the netbook starts booting windows 7 flawlessly. There is one downside though. The version of windows it is shipped with is a 32-bit version, even though the processor is 64-bit. I would advise every user that has the 64-bit version lying around to install this prior to use. Anyways, 32 or 64 bit, the laptop boots quickly. This is mainly because of the slightly faster 7200 RPM hard disk that is installed instead of a regular 5400RPM one. Once booted the windows scores can be seen and, if a 32-bit version of windows is used, it is also stated that windows only is using 3.5 GB of RAM memory instead of the available 4 GB.

netbook testThe average score the components get is rather high and it can be easily said that the E-350 APU processor unit is the bottleneck for this netbook. It should also be pointed out that the graphics score are quite high, considering these are presented by the on-board chip in the processor. Luckily, the entire system as a whole feels very responsive and downright quick and even full-HD movies can be streamed or played regularly without any kind of lag. The signal can even be forwarded to a TV set or beamer through the use of the HDMI port.

Simple games can be run quite well too. To test this I installed League of Legends and ran it on the screens native resolution with decent settings. This resulted in a steady 30 frames per second which means that it was properly playable, even in the midst of battle.

Even when the netbook is using its full capacity to calculate things, like when mining for bitcoins, you will never hear the cooling fans. A slight whisper is probably the only thing you will hear.

Lastly we have the built-in webcam with microphone. The webcam is perfectly well capable of shooting simple pictures for msn profile use or something, but don’t expect it to shoot good movies or anything. The microphone also does what it’s there for and records audio in a decent manner. I do have to add that when I tried to set up a video conversation through MSN the processor was pressured so much that both my own video stream as well as the incoming video stream were lagging so much that it was unusable. Maybe it performs better on different programs, like Google talk.

Ports

The ports are all nicely integrated into the body of the netbook and allow you to connect whatever you need. The right side of the netbook features a multi-purpose 3.5mm jack for both audio-in as audio-out. In addition we have a SD/MMC card reader and two USB 2.0 ports. Finally a good old VGA interface is in place to connect to older screens or laptops, and hidden behind a little cover is the Ethernet port in case Wi-Fi is not available.

On the left side of the netbook there is only one USB 2.0 port present. You will also find an HDMI port here, as well as a lock and the connection for the power supply.

The front and backside feature no ports whatsoever.

Battery

Either the battery is very large, or the system is really good at managing power consumption. I happen to know that it’s a little bit of both worlds, although the new AMD APU is famous for having extremely low power consumption. When the battery is fully charged it will last around six hours in total. This may drop a little depending on what you are using the netbook for, but it pretty much never drops under four hours. If that is not enough for you the bottom of the netbook features a simple switch that releases the battery and makes it possible to insert a spare battery.

Conclusion: Is the netbook worth it

All together this netbook is great to carry along with you. It weighs only about 1.6 Kg and the adapter is tiny as well. For a price just under 400 euros it’s also relatively cheap. I have to add that a newer version has been announced already featuring a total black design, fingerprint reader, a slightly altered body and different, including faster, processor units. If you are planning on buying a netbook anytime soon it may be a good idea to follow these developments.

I hope you found this review to be helpful and enjoyable to read. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below.