I recently bought myself a replacement for my netbook, an HP DM1.
It is specifically the 1010sa model, which is the bottom of the range, although i feel offers the best value for money.
I picked mine up from a Tottenham Court Road shop for £340, and it's available online from £330 that I've found. [Edit: I just realised, this is the 1020sa model, which comes with 3GB!]
Edit (06/09/10): Just followed the BHS link, they have increased the price to over £400 (very sneaky of them).
However Aria are selling it for £309.99 inc VAT, plus delivery, as at today's date.
My thoughts on use over the past 7 days:
Value. I think this is a good value machine. The DM1 is also available in other quite similar (but marginally better) configurations but the cost starts to rocket to over £450, which I don’t think is good value.
Size – I’ve been looking for a replacement for my previous netbook, and wanted something that remained portable but easier to work on. This 11.6” laptop gives me that. Easily slips in to my backpack.
Screen – 1366 x 768 resolution in 11.6 inches is nice and sharp without being too small for me, and gives so much more useable screen real estate when using websites compared to 1024 x 600. The screen is also really bright when plugged in. Viewing angles are good enough.
Weight – not as light as the netbook, but you can easily pick it up with one hand, at about 1.5 kg.
Battery life – I got a crazy 10 hours approx whilst away last weekend, with light use but Wifi on. This was mostly used to allow Steam to install a number of my games over Wifi. I’m not expecting 10 hrs to be typical, but it’s the best laptop I’ve owned from this perspective. 6 cell battery is standard (rather than a cost option), and doesn’t protrude out of the chassis.
Performance – Yes, it’s a Celeron! But dual core, 64 bit CULV 1.2 Ghz Intel processor with 1 MB cache actually runs Windows 7 really well, with bottlenecks largely being elsewhere.
Integrated Intel graphics are always bitched about, but in fact it plays games that I like (see data below).
Keyboard – this was actually the first feature that attracted me to the HP, after wandering round a few shops prodding about 30 different machine’s keyboards. These keys are quite nicely weighted and responsive, and give no flex in the chassis (unlike many others at this price range which feel like they have been built on a bed of foam). I can type comfortably. I think I’d still prefer the macbook / ASUS UL20a type of keyboard, but it’s a million miles better than anything I've seen from Acer. Just to comment on usxhe190's point below, yes it would be nice if it used the approx 1 inch of wasted space making the keys wider, but it's still ok.
HDMI output! I’ve not used this so far, but can see it being very useful when I’m away on holiday.
Win 7 Home Premium – despite having a soft spot for Ubuntu Netbook Remix, I have to say that Win 7 really does all that I want, and is very polished. Am so glad they didn’t go down the Win 7 starter pathway. In my mind, given that an OEM disc retails for £70 approx, this means that I paid only £260 for the hardware. (I know it isn't really true, but makes me feel like its an even bigger bargain, compared to my Linux netbook which cost £200). The only negative point is that it's 32bit.
DDR3 RAM. I guess it's good that it's the modern stuff, rather than DDR2, and should help save juice.
Bluetooth onboard. Nice to know its there, but not sure it’ll get used.
SD card reader – standard stuff I suppose. I will probably use it a bit, although my D-SLR is compact flash.
250GB hard drive. It's 5400 speed, can't remember the cache. Am very unlikely to have more than 50GB of stuff on it, given my NAS / home network, although might well load up some films when going on holiday. It's certainly not worth the extra £50 or so to get the 320GB model.
Webcam & Mic. Only a 0.3 megapixel, but OK for Skype. I’ve never understood why anyone would want a 2 megapixel (or whatever) webcam – you wouldn’t be taking photos with it.
No optical drive. What can I say – I knew this when I bought it, I rarely use discs these days anyway, and saves cost and weight. More of a positive thing than not. I have an external USB optical drive available if needed.
The 'crapware' / default installed applications. Yes this includes Microsoft Works (!!), Office 2007 trial, Norton 360 trial, AOL Toolbar... all completely useless and annoying. That said, if HP gets cash from these companies for this which results in a lower purchase price, then I win, and it's only about 15 minutes of uninstalling. Plus, i'm getting to quite enjoy saying goodbye to most of these, in a perverse-pleasure kind of way
WiFi – It’s a b/g card only, and although the speeds and signal range seem good enough in my home for web browsing and some media playback from my NAS, I must admit to already considering finding a suitable N mini PCI card to swap in. That said, it looks like access to this card and RAM and hard drive is just one simple flap, so should be easy to swap.
Ethernet – 10/100 only. I guess also a sign of cost cutting, and not something I’ll be using often, but it’s a shame especially given that I recently bought a gigabit switch for my Desktop and NAS.
2 GB RAM only. More precisely, 1 GB soldered plus the slot filled with 1 GB. Feels a bit mean perhaps, although the higher priced models have more. All in all though, it doesn’t feel like it limits the machine in use, and I can swap a 1 GB for a 4GB stick in the future if needed.
32bit OS provided If I upgraded the RAM though, I’d use my full Win7 install disc to put 64bit on.
The touchpad. It's rubbish. That said, i've never thought it was good to use any touchpad for more than emergencies, and use a wireless mouse anyway. But just FYI. It is poor.
Noise - The fan is initially set to 'always on', and a quick trip to the BIOS changes this for the better. But it still spins up fairly regularly. It's not that the noise is loud as such, but you do notice when it comes on.
I'm very happy with my purchase, and am comfortable to recommend this to family and friends.