My Review of Vivienne Tam HP Mini 1000

by jennine on March 12, 2009

When I said ‘these days it’s all about mobility’ back in January, I had no idea just how much mobility I was about to experience. In January I received the Vivienne Tam edition of the HP Mini 1000 for review. I had never done a computer review before, so wasn’t sure how to determine if a computer was useful in a few days, so I went about integrating it in my daily life.

In the month of February, I started off in Paris, went home for a few weeks in Frankfurt (Germany) went to New York, then London, then back to Paris, and made it home in March. Never in my life had I had such an intense travel schedule, and never in my life had I been so tied to the internet…where surviving without a computer was impossible. For my trips to Paris and London I only brought the VT Mini, and in New York I brought both my computers. I have to say that the VT Mini made it easier to travel.

The Pros

It’s small. Fits in a clutch… literally, I tried it. But honestly I’d use it only in a regular handbag.  It weighs 2.5 pounds (1 kilo)  so even a weakling like myself can schlep it around.

This little computer has a lot of  curb side appeal. Any time I took it out I’d get some stranger complimenting the computer, stopping and looking at it, even when I went through the security check both the male and female security officers stopped and ogled it… ‘this is a computer?’ ‘where did you get it?’ ‘ohh pretty’ I teach part time, and when I brought it in my class, instead of my regular computer, my class had thought it to be a pencil case and was surprised it was a computer. It’s sleek, it’s shiny… beautiful. The peony pattern on it is based off Vivienne Tam’s current collection, so if you can even get a matching dress.

It’s a powerful machine. With 1GB RAM and 80GB memory you can do a lot with this. I’m not Windows user, so fumbling around in the operating system was tricky for me. But it was able to handle all the image importing I did. While it was  hard to work on images due to the screen size (even a 13′ monitor is pushing it) it was achievable. I had installed GIMP the open source photo editing software instead of Photoshop (because I don’t have a license) and decided I don’t like GIMP… or it’s going to take a while to get used to it. ANYWAY before I digress, handling the images aside from awkward software was good. Yesterday, I had to import a bunch of photos and for some reason my Mac wasn’t having it, and then I tried the VT mini and it worked. It was able to read 3000 images off a card no problem.

Blogging is possible. Probably the most mobile and comfortable way to blog without the every day computer. Click this link for a sample post I did with the mini. Now if internet cafes were easier to find.

The keyboard is almost as big as a full size keyboard… and big enough to type comfortably.

The screen is small (duh) but it’s browsable. I found the F11 key to be very useful, it hides the navigation bar in the browser. The screen also has this handy privacy feature where you can only see the screen properly if you are directly in front of it. Nosy neighbors, no thank you. I had no problem running internet browsers, Filezilla, GIMP was tricky due to all the windows, but manageable. And  I was able to browse photos in the finder (what do you call the PC finder?).

The speakers are built into the hinge of the machine. See the silver hinge? That’s the speaker, and it’s pretty loud, enough to hear from 10 feet away, if necessary.

The Cons

It’s shiny. I know, listed it as a ‘pro’ but the shininess has a dark side. The shiny surface of the keyboard makes it kind of slippery and if I type (which I will) it leaves fingerprints. And my fingers slide off the keys. I make a lot of typos as it is, an this is really frustrating.  Also I don’t know why computer makers sell the shiny screen,  it sucks. I want to see the screen, not a reflection of myself. The only time it doesn’t have a reflection is if I’m in a dark room, which leads me to my next point.

The keyboard is too smooth. I can’t really feel where the keys are, something I never thought about before until I tried typing in a dark room. It might help to have some kind of back light feature so the keys are at least visible, but it doesnt. I ended up angling the computer to light up the keyboard, which didn’t help because I needed to see the screen. So I turned on the light, and woke up my boyfriend. Heh.

The webcam is too dark, but I think they are fixing that. New models will probably have it fixed.

I still haven’t figured out how to get out of sleep mode. I think it’s one switch, but sometimes it will wake up, then go back to sleep. It might be just me.

While this machine has a lot of curbside appeal… I’m not sure if it sends a sophisticated message. While I’m glad it’s not pink… It’s plastic, it’s got flowers on it, the ad campaign is really cartoony. I have a mall girl accent, I dress somewhat unconventionally but when it’s time to get serious, I get serious. I’m not sure if I would take the VT mini on a business meeting. I’d certainly to a cafe with it, and take it with me to fashion week, go traveling with it…  the mini just doesn’t send a ‘take me seriously’ message, unfortunately, a battle a lot of women have a hard enough time with (myself very much included).

Would I buy it?

Yes and no. Yes, because it’s a great computer for the money. It’s pretty, it’s powerful, it makes my life easier. I really loved it when I was on the road. And when I’m home, it’s great to have. Rocky’s parents are currently using it to check their emails while they are visiting us. They like it. And I am able to properly  blog with it.

With the exchange rate, I think you can actually get it cheaper in Europe but in the US it’s at a good price.

The only reason I wouldn’t buy it, is because I use a Mac. But that’s the only reason.

A more detailed tech review on and Vivienne Tam Mini on and to see more photos visit my flickr set.

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Ashe Mischief March 12, 2009 at 7:37 am

Thank you for writing such a fair review-I appreciate knowing the personal issues you had with it, along with the positive components. I wonder if it’d be possible to change the operating system to OSX? (Though I’m not sure if you get to keep it or not…if you do, it could be something worth looking in to.)

Also, I LOVE the first picture of you. Absolutely gorgeous!

jennine March 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

Oh I’m glad you liked the review!

I heard about this thing called ‘hackintosh where you can run OS on windows… but that could be a whole new level of geek i’m not prepared to do. ;)

freya March 12, 2009 at 7:45 am

wow, that’s such a pretty. Good to know that it’s even quite useful.

I personally prefer sitting comfortably and typing away using a computer. Because many laptops are slippery, heavy(very) and as far as I’ve seen, easily get hanged.

But a laptop can always be handy if you travel often.

Sal March 12, 2009 at 7:47 am

This is FANTASTIC! When it was first released, I was so curious to hear how this sleek little number functioned in real life.

Glendy March 12, 2009 at 7:51 am

It looks chic, however I also use a mac, I wished they could release macbook pro desgner skins or computers, that would be awesome :) I’ve heard rumors but have yet to see something. BTW after seeing your capuccino I am craving coffee so bad, and your pics are so pretty.

Much love,

violetville March 12, 2009 at 8:08 am

it does look particularly cute with your coffee, but i’m a Mac girl all the way. i’ll never go back!

Charm March 12, 2009 at 8:21 am

That may be the best computer/electronics review I have ever read.

Jordana March 12, 2009 at 8:21 am

What a wonderful review…way to show off your inner geek chic! I’m really excited to get mine! I bought my mom the white Acer Aspire netbook for Christmas, but the software inside is pretty bare bones…in fact, it’s the only reason I probably wouldn’t buy that one for myself. The VT HP mini is an actual notebook, so it comes fully equipped with Windows software (like Office 2007)…yes?

Wow, that was a long comment, sorry! Can you tell I’m excited? Haha.

Fenke March 12, 2009 at 9:09 am

i probably would also agree on your last point. why does everything “made for women” be so… super feminine? it is either black or pink, studded with diamonds. there is always so little inbetween.

naylaah March 12, 2009 at 9:12 am

I bought it in februay and I love, great for blogging. “Très féminin”. Light, easy to carry when you travel, don’t regret this buy at all!


meligrosa March 12, 2009 at 10:19 am

This is a very real review. Not your typicall uber-geek featured one. Good to find out the things you dont like, my screen is matte and could never do shiny, well maybe if I HAD to…
Yes adorable picture of you! and that coffee?! gimme-gimme <3

jennine March 12, 2009 at 10:27 am

❤ meli thanks… i never done a computer review before, so i’m glad it speaks to you. my other computer has a matte screen, much better. and the coffee, best coffee in frankfurt. hands down.

Tammy March 12, 2009 at 10:24 am

Great review! While you may not have found it sent a “sophisticated” message, do you find it sends a “Glamorous” message? I do, I feel stunning carrying it. It’s a “Notice Me’ piece, much like red high heels! Empowering, pretty and noteworthy :) And, it goes with Vivienne’s spring collection (and some of the fall pieces) which I find fabulous!

jennine March 12, 2009 at 10:29 am

❤ tammy.. yes, it does feel glamorous, and it is a statement, a bold one as it does attract a lot of attention!

jennine March 12, 2009 at 10:24 am

❤ freya…yeah, this little lady is good for traveling, it’s so light, you can have it on your lap for hours and not feel it.
❤ sal…yes, this is it, i’m glad i have it.
❤ glendy. oh i saw someone with a red macbook pro, and i heard it cost $400 to make that customization. bleh.
❤ violeteville. coffee is awesome
❤ jordana….yeah, it has that.. i think. lemme get back to you on that. but it is a real computer…which is awesome.
❤ fenke… i would almost say that the ‘made for women’ design is because it was probably made by men. but this is designed by Vivienne Tam, so that blows that out of the water. but yeah, the make it lady like ad flowers, diamonds and pink really drives me crazy (even though i like all three of those things… )
❤ naylaah, cool! i’m glad you like yours too. we can be computer twins.

Caitlin March 12, 2009 at 10:53 am

OMG!!! I have been waiting for this forever, I almost gave up lol.

I think this review was really helpful. I have been interested in how it works in the real world. I have been tempted to get a smaller computer because I am a college student and taking my computer to is a necessity. Plus, I love red and think this computer is so cute!

I find it interesting that you had a hard time with it mostly because you mostly use macs. I wonder what a pc user would have thought of the product. How did you manage to get to review it? Connections, I guess.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


lisa March 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

Very thorough review!

What The Pros Do March 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for posting such a thorough review, I was wondering how you were getting on with it since your last post.

Now if only we could get it in black :)

Allure March 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Great and useful review. If I didn’t have my computer, I’d probably get one of these…

marta March 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm

If I weren’t around so many computers all the time, I would it buy one like that, so cute. Hopefully they improve the keyword in another version.

apricot tea. March 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm

This was a great review, Jennine. Thank you. I showed my husband this computer when you first posted about it, & he even admitted to liking the design. I’ve considered getting it myself… but don’t really see the need at this moment, since I mainly work at home.

Your review was very precise & straight-forward. Thanks again.

apricot tea. March 12, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Oh, & I just had to add that the first picture of you is gorgeous. I love it. :]

Katrina Potkins March 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm

This was a great review. I’ve been thinking lately that a smaller version of my laptop would be a nice idea. But small keys and a hard to see screen would drive me nuts. Also, I am, and always will be dedicated to my Mac.
I wanted to say that I’ve been loving your pictures lately. All the amazing European streets are such a great backdrop for all your wonderful outfits.

Tami - fête à fête March 12, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Laughed when you wrote “mall girl accent.” Thanks for the honest review - I’d use it for travel but I’d go schizo going back/forth bet. my mac and this.

Lani / SugarRockCatwalk March 12, 2009 at 8:53 pm

great review and great picture! you are so cute, cute, cute!

jennine March 13, 2009 at 12:30 am

❤catlin..oh i linked to the review, they are really pc savvy so they could probably tell you.
❤lisa thanks!
❤pro..they do come in black! (and cheaper too)
❤apricot, i work mainly at home too.. so i know what you mean. but this month i really needed the vt mini
❤katrina… oh yeah, i have heard great things about the macbook air and they keys are better defined.
❤tami… it’s not really that bad. i use a lot of web applications (google docs, flickr, gmail) so going back and forth isn’t as hard as you think.
❤lani! aww so nice! :)

Prêt-à-Porter P March 13, 2009 at 8:57 am

it’s so teeny! i think this is great as a travel computer, but i couldnt use a computer so small for everyday since i also use my computer to watch dvds.

Prêt-à-Porter P March 13, 2009 at 8:58 am

ps. you look adorable!

Marie March 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm

HOW CUTE!! I would love to see it in person!

dave mccrea March 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm

thank you Jennine for your review of a laptop computer! here is a summary: it’s a computer, it’s small and it has pink flowery shit on it! and it’s really cool!

super kawaii mama March 16, 2009 at 2:07 am

I’m in the market for a new one at the moment and finding something that is fast enough to handle me as well as having a keyboard big enough for serious writing, is proving to be an interesting search. Especially when you consider weight and style. But I think the shiny keyboard and screen would put me off here. It is hard enough to see my regular screen outdoors here - the sun is SO bright here, that I can’t imagine that would work well.

Very pretty though, and how cosmopolitan do you look? Oh la la. :)

thechiconomist.celine March 16, 2009 at 10:35 am

Grateful for the thorough review! I have been coveting this mini since it came out, but good to hear about the problems (dark webcam, etc.). Do you know if they’re coming out with more versions of this that address those problems?

I’d still totally get it though. I don’t care if no one takes me seriously with it. It’s seriously cute!

Sandra March 16, 2009 at 10:47 pm

I’m with Ashe - OSX all the way! Although if you want a clutch size computer and you want to get REALLY geeky you can get an eeePC with Obuntu loaded on it. Now that is HARDCORE!

Vintage Tea March 18, 2009 at 8:57 am

Oh great review. Its such a cute little thing but like you Im a mac user all the way, and their laptops (well mine anyway) isnt a big hefty thing anyway. I dont think id ever change back to Windows after Mac-ing it

Click here to visit me at Vintage Tea!


Jess March 22, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I was wondering whether you’ve tried watching online videos on it? It’s something I like to do when I’m travelling, and was wondering whether the screen would be too small for that purpose. Thanks for the great review otherwise.

Kirstan March 24, 2009 at 5:02 am

Did the lack of DVD/CD drive inconvenience you? I have one on hold right now and am debating that point and having to buy an external drive…comments please??

Kirstan March 24, 2009 at 5:41 am

Oh, and do you think it would run Photoshop in a speedy manner and be fast enough to make it worthwhile? I noticed you mentioned photoshop in your review, and it is my main software for doing quick layouts for flyers and other graphics…as a “portable”..I will still have my big ole one at home…lastly, any problems with USA internet connections? I live in Germany but will be in USA for 6 mo…deciding on the purchase based on these factors (and as a fashion designer, I might have to say damn to hell those who do not take flowery red stuff seriously…that is the classiest red Ive seen in ages…my Toshiba is also red, but dull compared to Ms. Tam version….awaiting all your input with baited breath!

jennine March 26, 2009 at 5:21 am

❤jess… oh, i watch movies all the time, it’s pretty good, though you need a powersource because the battery burns out pretty quick.

❤kristan…actually, i haven’t had any issues with that because i download films through itunes, and i believe netflix has the same download system. so it wasn’t a problem.
❤kirstan, the macine is pretty powerful, i am certian it will run photoshop, as long as your files aren’t massive, in which case a normal computer would have problems with too…

anggi April 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

great review! i wanna change my laptop and i’m interested to buy the mini one but i hesitated cos one seller said it will not run image-editor such as photoshop, and other seller said it will. confusing.
so glad to see the real-life review! thanks!

Migs Vuitton April 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Wow. Your blog is absolutely fantastic! I’m lovin’ your images and style of writing.

I came across your site via searches on this computer. Well, not this in particular, but HP mini’s in general.

I too am a mac user. An avid one at that, but I did take the plunge on the hp mini. I have some extra apple stickers somewhere so I’ll be putting that on the cast to let everyone know, I still love me some apples.

Jim November 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Thank you for the great review of the HP Mini. You know, it’s great to read a review of some using it in the real world as opposed to some testing people in a lab. You gave us the true experience. Thx!!!
.-= Jim´s last blog ..Top Rated Netbook =-.

xds November 30, 2009 at 4:11 am - good HP Mini Review and ordering information

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