HP’s new mini laptop gives the Asus Eee PC a strong challenge

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC is an ideal laptop solution for those who are looking for a fully-functional PC without the price, size and weight of a full-sized laptop.

While it’s not as small or as light as the Asus Eee PC, the Mini-Note measures 2.67 cm. thin and its starting weight is just 2.63 lbs. Its compact size and weight make the laptop very easy to handle while traveling both in and out of the home and office.

One of the first things I noticed about the laptop was its design. Like Apple’s MacBook Air, HP’s Mini-Note also comes with an all-aluminum case that gives the laptop a sleek and sturdy finish and feel. Given its compact size, I was impressed to see HP was also able to incorporate a 92 per cent full-size QWERTY keyboard, in addition to also having an ample sized touchpad as well.

What I didn’t like about the touchpad, though, was the position of the left and right click buttons. Because they were placed on both sides of the touchpad instead of below, this took my fingers some getting used to since my personal laptop has the click buttons directly below the touchpad.

There’s no optical disc drive on the Mini-Note, but I think this is a small price to pay given laptop’s small size. The screen on the Mini-Note is an 8.9-inch diagonal, scratch-resistant WXGA display, which makes viewing documents and Web pages relatively easy on the eyes.

The Mini-Note comes with two battery solution options: a three-cell Lithium-Ion battery, or a six-cell battery that offers extended battery life. My review unit came with the six-cell battery, which I found gave me power for about three and a half hours while working on the laptop’s balanced power setting. The Mini-Note is not something you can keep in your lap for longer than about half an hour though. After that time the laptop emits a great deal of heat, which your lap will not be thanking you for.

As for the specifications, the Mini-Note operates either on Windows Vista or Linux, has a 120GB HDD, features a VIA C7-M ULV processor, has wireless support for 802.11a/b/g and also has optional Bluetooth 2.0 capabilities.

There are two USB ports located on both sides of the laptop, a stereo headphone/line out and stereo microphone/line in, and there’s an SD card reader as well, which made transferring pictures from my digital camera to the laptop quick and easy. The Mini-Note also has an optional VGA webcam for those who are looking for video capabilities. If the user wants to listen to music or watch videos, the Mini-Note’s built-in speakers will come in handy since there’s no sound distortion during playtime.

HP has designed the Mini-Note as an affordable computing solution for students and the education market, but is targeting mobile business professionals too.

I found this laptop performed above and beyond my initial expectations. Shortly after first using it, I realized the Mini-Note really did have a lot of the features one would expect from a laptop. For me, the laptop’s portability and small form factor were what made my experience with the Mini-Note a positive one. In fact, I liked it so much, it was so hard to send back to HP and revert to using my own 14-inch, six pound laptop.

The Mini-Note is currently being sold through the HP channel partners. The MSRP for the laptop starts at $499.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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