Hands-On: HP's Newest Netbook Designs Are Pink, Plaid, Fingerprint-Free

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HP's newest Mini 210 and 110 netbooks don't offer any new specs but rather, two new design options. These include the "preppy pink" (need we say more?) Mini 210 and the white crystal Mini 110, a pattern reminiscent of the one on the Studio Tord Boontje Mini 110.

The preppy pink version, as you can see, has a plaid finish, that HP hopes will remind its female customers of the luxury brand Burberry. The company says it chose a richer, more pearlescent pink than, say, a hot pink hue. The idea is that women will find it more sophisticated (and, perhaps, even understated?) than a Barbie pink netbook. We agree that the combination of different, mauve-ier pinks is more pleasant to look at than solid hot pink, but that's not saying much. As a woman, I still find pink netbooks condescending (and we know other women in the industry who would agree).

Say what you will about pink: HP did pay close attention to details. The touchpad mirrors the lid's plaid pattern and the keys, as we said, have a pearly finish. The netbook comes with a girly Anime desktop background and even has a cute (but useless) cartoon-like icon stamped on the bottom.

This is completely subjective, of course, but we're bigger fans of the Tord Boontje design, which we think both men and women will enjoy. From a far away it looks like a white, pearlescent netbook, but up close you can see it has a 3D in-mold design. Essentially, there's a pattern laid over a solid lid, so you get the effect of a glossy, patterned lid, but without the fingerprints and glare. We're glad HP is playing with this in-mold technique in more of its notebooks, including the new Pavilions. On the inside of this netbook, too, HP made sure the keyboard has a subtle sparkle, which we think is a nice touch.

The Mini 210 and Mini 110 start at $354 and $279, respectively, and will be available June 15. Check out our hands-on video for a walkthrough, as well as the gallery below for plenty more up-close images.


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