Compaq Mini 110C-1100DX and 1105DX netbook

I just picked up 2 Compaq netbooks from Best Buy. It was part of their black Friday special. Because I’m a premiere reward zone card holder, I was able to get their door buster deals on Monday, 4 days before the deal and was able to call them to place the order. I really didn’t need the 1105DX model but I was limited to one per so I had to get the higher one.

I bought 2, one for me and one for my mother-in-law as her Christmas gift. Both netbooks are fairly the same. The 2 differences I see is one comes with Windows XP Home and 160 GB hard drive (110C-1100DX). The other Windows 7 Starter and 250 GB hard drive (110C-1105DX).

Here are some pics I took. I have them next to an Asus EEEPC 900A (8.9”) netbook and Macbook Pro 13” to get a size comparison.

Overall, the netbooks are great. I’m replacing my Asus 900A with this one. I just needed a bigger keyboard and hard drive space with a web cam. Here are a couple of things to watch out for.

  • Make sure you figure out a plan for restoring the netbook if something happens. These do not come with restore CDs. You can buy them from HP for around $16. Even then, netbooks don’t come with CD/DVD rom drives so you may have to use an external USB CD/DVD drive.
  • There is no hidden partition that contains the restore data for the 110C-1100DX. There is a restore program installed by Roxio. What the program does is creates an image file (proprietary) that can be used to restore your netbook. It is not the usual restoring of only the OS and default programs from day 1 (unless this is the first thing you do after the first boot). You can use a memory card or USB external drive. Unfortunately, it requires a format of the device – unlike Time Machine (OS X) where it can use an existing hard drive or memory card and doesn’t require it to be formatted. Kinda a bummer there. There is also a program that you need to download (SP42226) which will format a memory card to make it bootable and allow you to restore an image created by the Roxio program in case you cannot boot into Windows. Don’t bother searching for it outside HP’s forum. At the time I wrote this, it can’t be found. I’ll save you the trouble – http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=ob-72722-1&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&product=3943766&os=228&lang=en. It’s 184MB. It’s a wonder why it wasn’t included with the default HP programs. You will need a memory card that has at least 2GB and it will format it so make sure you don’t have anything on there.
  • There is a partition that will restore the 110C-1105DX. There is a program that can create a restore CD but again, netbooks don’t have CD/DVD drives so you will get an error that it doesn’t detect one. You can use another program to create one using memory cards. The program will tell you that it needs at least 8GB. Another tip, get a 16GB. After it created one for me, it ended up close to 12GB. The F and J keys have the usual “bumps” that let you know you’re on the home row keys. To me they aren’t as obvious as the keyboards I use. They could have been raised a little higher. There is only 1 memory slot. It’s using 1GB DDR2 PC6400 and according to HP it isn’t upgradeable. I have read people already have upgraded to memory to 2GB but you must use DDR2 PC5300. I haven’t upgraded it yet but am planning on doing so.

Aside from the list above, they are great netbooks. It’s my second netbook. If it’s going to be your first, get used to not having a CD/DVD drive, smaller keyboard, and installing things via memory card or internet. Also, they feel sturdier than my Asus 900A netbook.

New upgrades for my Asus EEEPC 900A

After a few days with my netbook, I’ve decided to buy some upgrades to better my experience with it.

Here’s the video I posted on YouTube on installing the ram.

I didn’t bother posting another video for installing the new SSD drive because it’s fairly the same procedure as the ram upgrade.

Here’s the video where I got the idea to use the Case Logic HDC3 case.

Cost for all the upgrades were around $100. With the price of my netbook, it still cost less than the average startup price for a netbook.

Asus EEEPC 900A netbook

I just picked up an Asus Eee PC 900A from Best Buy. I wanted to pick up a netbook for a couple of months now but ended up getting an HP dv9999us last month. Office Depot it for a very good deal so I could not pass it up. Now Best Buy has a deal with this Asus netbook that I cannot pass up. After a week of use, here’s my initial impression and experience.

The netbook comes with Xandros OS. The desktop is grouped by tabs with applications in each group. After the software updates though, the system became unstable. There were times after boot up, the mouse and/or keyboard didn’t respond. I had to restore the system to factory defaults. That was easy to do. I just had to press and hold F9 as soon as the netbook started.

I then decided to install Easy Peasy via USB flash drive. The manual says to press and hold the ESC button to access the boot device selection. It didn’t work. What I found to work is pressing both ESC and F2 keys during POST. It only recognized my bootable USB flash drive when connected to the USB port closes to the right, Shift key.

I used Unetbootin to create the bootable USB. Once I booted off it, I got 3 options: Default, Help, and OEM. I selected Default and it run the Live CD version. Once Easy Peasy loaded, I installed it. There were some bugs after installation but this post http://www.ubuntu-eee.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=543 answered all my problems.

After installing a few more softwares, I still have about 800MB. I’m planning on getting a 16GB SDHC card and maybe a 16GB SSD drive to replace the 4GB. This netbook has an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB DDR2 ram, 8.9” WSVGA widescreen monitor (1024×600), Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950, SD and MMC card reader, 3 USB 2.0 ports, and wireless connection (supports WEP and WPA/WPA2 security). This thing only weighs 2.2lbs and 1.3” thick. It’s very nice and portable. Another cool feature is the 2 finger scroll just like my MacBook Pro. You can scroll up and down using 2 fingers on the trackpad. I also was able to connect to my HP 2600N color laserjet.

If you will not upgrade the 4GB SSD drive, I highly recommend installing Easy Peasy (Ubuntu EEE). If not, do not update the software unless you are experiencing problems and even then be careful not to run out of drive space.

Only 2 things I wish it had, a webcam and an ExpressCard slot. I can live without the webcam but my Verizon V70 is an ExpressCard. Now I can only access the internet if I’m within a wireless connection. Many coffee shops now have free wi-fi access anyway so again no big deal.

So after a day of use, it’s a great machine with lots of potential uses and upgrades. If you can get your hands on one for around $200, jump on it.

asus eeepc 900a

asus eeepc 900a

asus eeepc 900a

asus eeepc 900a