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 HCL MiLeap MH04 Netbook

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arunkumar

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Registration date : 2008-10-21

PostSubject: HCL MiLeap MH04 Netbook   Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:51 am

HCL MiLeap MH04 Netbook

HCL, which entered the UMPC and Netbook market with the MiLeap series, had its lower end model compete with the first Eee PC and later came the semi-premium class UMPC. However, both these models were soon outdated by other manufacturers who came up with newer Netbooks. These Netbooks predominantly had larger screens and Intel's Atom processor along with evolutionary hardware upgrades.
Thus it was time for HCL to keep up with the current generation. When their latest MiLeap MH04 model arrived at the Test labs, I had this weird sense of deja vu. I was pretty sure I had used a Netbook that was unmistakably similar to this one. And I was right! Read on to find out.
The bundle includes the Netbook, AC charger, instruction manual, Windows XP Home Edition CD, driver and application CD/DVDs and a protective cloth for the screen.
It was good to see the Windows CD along with the package, as most Netbooks I've seen till now have it simply pre-installed. This would prove to be useful should a need arise to install it at a later time.

Specifications Sheet





Design and Construction
So, as I was said earlier, the physical appearance of the MiLeap MH04 was similar to a Netbook I had reviewed some time back. Here's a clue; it was, at that time, one of the best Netbooks around. Can't guess? Check out the comparative pic below.




Yes my friends, the HCL MH04 is a repackaged MSI Wind. I'll just quickly reiterate the physical aspects of this device and point out some of the differences between the two. Looks wise, it isn't really a stunner but its appearance is rather decent in the black outfit. Since this model is fitted with a 3-cell battery (the Wind had a 6-cell), it feels pretty light for a 10-inch Netbook; definitely lighter than the 1.5 kg Eee PC 1000H. I had complained about the MSI Wind's lack of sturdiness.

After handling the HCL MiLeap MH04, I felt that the build quality had been slightly upped. But the screen hinge still needs a bit of reinforcement. The 10-inch screen offers good clarity, readability and is sufficiently bright as well. The webcam placed atop the screen delivers decent output in brightly lit environments but becomes pretty grainy under moderate lighting.




The keyboard is pretty comfortable to type on, just like the MSI Wind. The touchpad also offers decent sensitivity and accuracy. The left/right click buttons were a little hard to click. But the big downer for me was that it did not support scrolling by swiping the finger at the corner of the touchpad. Despite my repeated attempts to get it working, it simply didn't happen.

I called their helpline to ask for a solution and was told that the MH04 does not support side scrolling. This is weird since the MSI Wind supported horizontal as well as vertical scrolling. Now that almost all the laptops available today support this feature, it was pretty irritating to get back to using the scrollbar or use the page up, page down buttons.




Battery Life

Test 1: In this test, the screen brightness is set to 75 percent. Wi-fi and Bluetooth are switched off. Music is played via wired earphones. This is multitasked with reading a webpage offline and using a word processor. Here, I got just a little over 2 hours of battery life.

Test 2: Using the Battery Pro 05 application (which puts intensive work on the system resources) and with screen brightness turned to max, the machine belted out a run-time of around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Under power saving mode and performing just basic functions like word processing, the maximum time that this Netbook can stretch up to is 2.5 hours. But heavy usage like watching videos or using Wi-fi extensively is going to hamper this run-time drastically.

Overall, I can say that the battery life was just about average. Netbooks are meant to give the user a longer uptime since they are meant to be carried around all the time. Thus a 2.5-plus hour battery life is pretty much expected from each one of them.

The Netbook ran pretty coolly. Operating noise and vibrations were barely noticeable.

Conclusion

The HCL MiLeap 04 sells for Rs. 25,990, which is cheaper than the Rs. 27,500 tag that we discovered on the MSI Wind recently (check last para of the MSI Wind review). We checked whether they have a 6-cell option but found that they don't.

This will prove to be a bummer for people who want a 4+ hour battery life from their Netbook. Comparatively speaking, the Eee PC 1000H's price has dropped to 25,500 bucks. At that price, with the kind of features the Eee has to offer, I have chosen to give the 'My favorite Netbook' crown to the Eee PC 1000H.

Although I prefer the Eee PC 1000H, I can say that the HCL MiLeap MH04 Netbook is a decent alternative. It can cater to people who want to do basic tasks like internet browsing, media playback and office productivity. But people who want a complete road warrior Netbook (i.e. with respect to build quality and battery life) would rather want to go for the Eee PC 1000H instead.
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