Netbook Madness Game 4: HP Mini 2140 vs. Dell Inspiron Mini 10

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Before we get to today's action, a recap of Friday's barn-burner. The pundits (me) were wrong: Instead of a blowout, Friday's match between the Archos 10 and the ASUS EeePC 1000 HE turned into the equivalent of the Lousiville/Siena game. Buoyed by an apparently rabid fan base, the Archos 10 (whose six-cell model now costs $349, which is $100 cheaper than when we reviewed it) staked out a huge lead before the 1000 HE rallied for the win--even then, only notching 55 percent of the votes. All in all, we had more than 2,200 votes.

Today's game should prove no less exciting, as we have two of the notebook heavyweights duking it out: The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 versus the HP Mini 2140.

The HP Mini 2140 is an update to the company's 2133 Mini-Note, released last year. The design is almost unchanged; a brushed aluminum lid and chassis, and an excellent keyboard. Unfortunately, the mouse buttons are still to the left and right of the touchpad, a concession to the compactness of the netbook, but one we've never liked.

While there's only two USB ports, HP included an ExpressCard slot as well, which will no doubt appeal to the business travelers for whom this machine is intended. While the 2140 has a larger 10-inch screen than the 2133 (8.9 inches), the resolution has decreased, to 1024 x 576 from 1280 x 768.

Still, its six-cell battery lasted a very impressive 7 hours and 19 minutes, second only to the just-announced Samsung N110 (7:24). When we first reviewed the 2140, its price was $529, but a similar configuration can now be ordered from HP's site for $479.

Facing off against the 2140, the Dell Mini 10 ($449 as reviewed) has an equally impressive (and large) keyboard, yet still manages to be one of the thinnest and lightest netbooks on the market.  Similar in design to both the Mini 9 and Mini 12, the Mini 10 has a 10-inch screen (natch) which, like the 2140, has a resolution of 1024 x 576.

Like MacBooks of late, the Mini 10's mouse buttons are integrated into the low-friction trackpad, a smart idea that saves otherwise limited space. Additionally, the trackpad supports multitouch gestures.

The Mini 10 also has three USB ports, as well as an HDMI port--something not typically seen on a netbook. The main thing holding the Mini 10 back, however, is its battery life. Currently, the Mini 10 is only offered with a 3-cell battery, which got a runtime of 2:43 on the LAPTOP battery test--five minutes shy of the average for netbook batteries of that size. This in itself wouldn't be so bad, but other netbooks, such as the Samsung NC10, offer a six-cell battery for the same price.  As we noted in the review, the Mini 10 will become a lot more compelling once Dell offers it with a six-cell battery, and mobile broadband, GPS, and integrated TV tuner options.

So which one do you think is better? The HP Mini 2140, with its silvery-aluminum skin, or the Dell Mini Inspiron 10, and its small and compact chassis.

Voting in this poll is now closed.

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8 comments
  • Gary D Says:

    The HP 2140 should win this battle, after having so much issues with Dell Customer Service and Total Lack of Customer Support I now look to HP for my Laptops. Was hoping to get a Dell Mini 10, NO MEMORY UPGRADE, what a poorly designed Netbook. While many netbooks come with the option of adding up to 2GB of ram, Dell holds back to 1GB what in the world does 1GB run? After installing an OS there isn't much room to run any type of productivity software in Memory.
    The touchpad on the HP2140 was hard to get used to but once you get over the fact that the buttons are on the left and right it starts to feel natural. Having more upgrade options for the HP2140 I'd pick HP hands down, plus the brushed aluminum chassis and lid looks much more classy than the Dell.

  • Tom Says:

    people talk about dell fan boys... Noticed it's only you hp owners crying about it. Jealous are we?

  • Rovert Says:

    HP mini 2140 should totally win this fight there is no way the mini 10 has a chance I was recently able to see the mini 10 in person and the buttons that are integrated into the trackpad are terrible not even close to the new macbooks becautiful glass pad plus what can you do with a 1.33ghz atom the only good ones are with the 1.60ghz you might as well buy a commador 64 which has 1.25ghz you might even be able to type you documents on it becasue good luck on the mini 10 it has the worst keyboard ever the mini 2140 has this cornered and the mini 1000 is also worth a look to even though both have the weird touch pad button placement you with get used to double tapping and adjusting you fingers

  • richard Says:

    I second the other posters. WHO the heck is voting for the Dell? Dellfanboys? I know they are a rabid bunch...used to post on the website while waiting for the first big disaster. (mini 9).

    Dell has misfired SO badly in design on every entry into the netbooks....WHAT could people be thinking??

    No, pretty shell should NOT be the judgment criteria!!!

    And I've been critical of Joanna's Sterns bizarre reviews of the Dell as well....some strange happenings indeed!

  • Nick Says:

    Hands down, the HP 2140 should win this battle. It is a far superior machine. The touchpad is a common gripe, but after teh first 5 minutes, the user gets over it. I sure did...and now my wife wants one for herself.

  • Netbook fan Says:

    The whole point of having a netbook is for portability and ease of use. Starting at $399, Dell's Mini 10 does a terrible job delivering what a netbook is suppose to do on the Mini 10. Abysmal battery life, a lower than average screen resolution, and no VGA port.... How can there be no VGA??? HDMI is a complete waste since the Atom processor can not provide enough power to smoothly decode even 720p HD video, not to mention 1080i/p. It's almost as if Dell is only focusing on exterior aesthetics, skimping on hardware (the base model comes with a Z520 1.3GHz processor while other netbooks have the 1.6Ghz version) and tossing it out with a price tag that's equivalent to other brand of netbooks with better specs.

    As much as I detest the HP Mini 2140's touchpad button placement, my vote still goes to HP for making a netbook a netbook.

  • deeshr Says:

    At Dell's brief $299 introductory offer (now expired) nothing touched the mini 10, even in Z520 configuration. Now using it daily on the road to estimate policies, surf and enjoy fullscreen movies (won't play 720p content smoothly though). Hitting f1 plays 1024x576 video flawlessly out the HDM port. Loving the little netbook that could! -deeshr

  • Michael Says:

    Nice game, I have to try something similar on my site, too :)

    And on topic: HP Mini 2140 wins due to the great battery life.

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