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Software

Verizon’s HP Mini 1151NR comes with Windows XP Home Edition. It comes with several software programs pre-installed. These include Microsoft Works, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader, FlashPlayer, Windows Media Player, AOL AIM for instant messaging and a 60-trial of Symantec Norton Internet Security. Since these programs are already installed, the Mini is pretty much good to go right out of the box.

The Verizon VZAccess Manager software is also pre-installed. It can be automatically updated upon first use. The VZAccess Manager software controls access to both the cellular network and any local Wi-Fi networks. Unfortunately, we could find no instructions on its use. So we muddled through, finding that is was adequate, but could be easier to use.

One nice feature is that the VZAccess Manager Displays data usage when you log on. Since you are limited to the amount of data that you can use on your monthly data plan, this is a very good thing. Verizon currently offers two data plans — USD 39 for 250 MB of monthly data and USD 59 for 5 GB of data. Although 5 GB sounds like a lot, we used it up quite quickly and learned to use the Wi-Fi whenever we could. We would like to see the amount of data increased, but in deference to Verizon, their 5 GB data plan is exactly what some other carriers offer in their “unlimited” plans. So at least Verizon doesn’t play with words.

Support on the hardware is offered by HP and includes the industry-standard, one-year, parts-and-labor warranty. HP has a 24/7 toll-free phone line and an online knowledge base. Support for the broadband connection and the VZAccess software is provided by Verizon.

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Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up’s Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.