When you’re thinking of notebook manufacturers, JVC isn’t a name that instantly springs to mind. However, the Mini Note is the kind of notebook that just grabs attention whenever you take it out of your bag. Ultra-portable notebooks tend to elicit the kind of desirability that a desktop replacement couldn’t hope to achieve, and the Mini Note definitely falls into the former category.
With dimensions of only 235 x 214 x 43.2mm (WxDxH) and weighing in at just under 1.5kg, you’ll be able to carry the Mini Note around with you all day, every day. But despite the small form factor and low weight, the JVC has managed to squeeze an integrated optical drive into the Mini Note, making it versatile as well as portable.
Of course JVC has had to make some compromises, and these become apparent when you open the brushed silver lid. The screen and keyboard are somewhat smaller than the examples generally seen on notebook computers, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The 8.9in TFT screen has a widescreen aspect ratio, with a corresponding resolution of 1,024 x 600. Although an 8.9in screen may sound tiny, in use it’s not too bad, since the 1,024 pixel width is pretty standard for thin and light notebooks. The 600 pixel height is lower than the 768 standard, but JVC was thinking about more than just Windows applications when it designed this screen.
As well as being a mobile computer, the JVC Mini Note can also be used as a portable entertainment centre. As such, the widescreen aspect ratio of the display lends itself perfectly to anamorphic DVD playback. The screen also uses the now popular coating that Sony pioneered and calls X-Black – of course there are loads of other brand names for this technology, but the effect is generally the same. What you get is a screen that provides a very vivid and bright image, that’s ideal for watching movies. The down side is that the screen is generally more reflective, but personally, I’m willing to accept that trade off.
The keyboard on the other hand may find a less favourable reception from potential users. Although JVC has managed to squeeze all the necessary keys in, they are very small. To be honest I didn’t find typing too difficult on the Mini Note, but then I do have pretty small hands – I used to write articles on a Psion Series 5 not too many years back, so getting to grips with small keyboards hasn’t traditionally been a problem for me. However, most other people that tried typing on the Mini Note did find it difficult, but bizarrely this didn’t seem to detract too much from their enthusiasm for the product in general.
Pointer manipulation is handled by a trackpoint located between the G, H and B keys. It’s quite small and set low down into the keys, but it works very well, even when tapping it to select. Beneath the Spacebar are the left and right selector buttons, as well as a central scroll lock button, which allows you to scroll through long documents or web pages using the trackpoint.