HP 2133 Mini-Note Review Editor's Choice

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$749
Editors' rating:
The Pros

Nice keyboard; Sharp display; Durable design

The Cons

Larger than other mini-notebooks; Pricey

Verdict

This mini notebook is pricier and heavier than the competition, but its full-size keyboard and flexible configuration options make it a better all-around investment.

HP enters the suddenly very crowded low-cost mini notebook space with its HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, and it trumps the competition in a few key areas.

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First, despite its compact dimensions, this 3.2-pound laptop sports a full-size keyboard, which makes it easy to take notes and compose e-mails on the go. You also get a sturdy and stylish aluminum chassis that makes this system look like a premium ultraportable, as well as a relatively large and crisp 8.9-inch display. And unlike competing machines, such astheAsus Eee PCandEverex Cloudbook, you can configure the Mini-Note with your choice of processors, RAM, orhard drives. Now that it's available with Linuxor XP (Mini-Note with XP review), you can add operating system to the list. Plus, you can plug in a ExpressCard mobile broadband modem so you don't have to rely on Wi-Fi hotspots.

View our video hands-on with the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC >>

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (starting at $599 for Windows Vista Basic, $499 for SuSE Linux, and $749 as configured) is a bit more expensive andweighs morethan the competition, but the system's unique strengths make it a good investment for students, mobile professionals, and anyone else looking for an affordable, highly portable computer.

Form Factor

Like other mini-notebooks, the 2133 Mini-Note is aimed at the education market, though you wouldn't know it from the design. Measuring 10.0 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches and weighing just under 4 pounds, the Mini-Note is a tad bulkier than the ASUS, CTL, and Everex models. A brushed silver aluminum case over a magnesium-alloy chassis gives the system a durable foundation, which is augmented by a hard drive accelerometer and a spill-resistant, wear-resistant keyboard. Even the display features a glossy no-scratch coating.

Hi-Res Screen on the Mini-Note 2133

Beneath the lid is a bright 8.9-inch display framed by a shiny black bezel. We didn't experience any window-sizing problems like we did with the other small notebooks, thanks to the screen's 1280 x 768-pixel resolution. Overall, color quality and viewing angles were quite good, but users with weak eyes may find text and icons too small.

Camera and Mic

A camera and microphone are embedded in the upper bezel, but the system doesn't come with a webcam utility. However, Windows Live Messenger immediately recognized the camera, which provided adequate image quality for video chatting. The built-in stereo speakers were loud and packed a punch.

Spacious Keyboard, Awkward Touchpad

The Mini-Note features a 92 percent--size keyboard treated with a special coating that HP claims makes the keys 50 times more resistant to visible wear than a standard keyboard, and it's spill-resistant as well. The keyboard deck was comfortable, and the large keyswere responsive, aswas the wide-aspect touchpad.

Unfortunately, the mouse buttons are positioned to the left and right of the touchpad and are oriented vertically, whichwe found to beawkward. We found ourselves double-tapping the touchpad more often than we did left-clicking.

HP Mini-Note 2133 Ports

A power switch, drive indicator, and Wi-Fi switch are located along the lower edge of the keyboard deck, and a VGA port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a USB port are on the left side. ExpressCard/54 and SD Card slots are mounted on the right, along with a second USB port and an Ethernet port.

HP Mini-Note Features

Our Mini-Note came with Windows Vista Business installed on a 120GB (7,200-rpm) hard drive, but you can configure the system with Vista Home Edition, FreeDOS, or the SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 operating system. HP offers several drive choices as well, including a solid state 4GB drive for the Linux version (starting at $499), a 160GB 7,200-rpm drive, and 120GB and 160GB drives that spin at 5,400 rpm. These latter configurations start at $599.

System Performance

The system is powered by a 1.6-GHz VIA C7-M processor, VIA Chrome 9 graphics chip, and 2GB of DDR2 memory, which produced a 3DMark03 score of 380; that's 135 points below average for a UMPC, but the Mini-Note had no trouble handling Vista and ran multiple applications without a hiccup. It did take 1 minute and 18 seconds for the system to complete the Windows boot sequence, though.

Wireless Performance

Wireless performance was respectable, coming in at 14.3 Mbps at a distance of 15 feet from our access point. From 50 feet away, the 802.11a/b/g radio managed speeds of 13.2 Mbps.

HP 2133 Mini-Note Battery Life

The system also came with a Bluetooth option and a six-cell extended-life battery that gave us 3 hours and 20 minutes of power with the power plan set to high performance. That runtime is on a par with other mini notebooks we've tested butit's notas much endurance as we would have liked.

Verdict

While it's somewhat bigger and pricier than other mini-notebooks, the HP 2133 Mini-Note offers a few features that the others don't, including an adult-size keyboard and a design more suited to business users. Ifall you needis a low-cost laptop that can run Windows, you may want to wait for the 9-inch version of the Eee PC. But if you require more from your mini-notebook and don't mind paying for it, the HP 2133 Mini-Note delivers the goods.

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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
CPU 1.6-GHz VIA C7-M
Operating System MS Windows Vista Business
RAM 2GB
RAM Upgradable to 2GB
Hard Drive Size 120GB
Hard Drive Speed 7,200rpm
Hard Drive Type SATA Hard Drive
Display Size 8.9
Native Resolution 1280x768
Graphics Card VIA Chrome 9
Video Memory 256MB
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) VGA
Ports (excluding USB) Microphone
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone
Ports (excluding USB) Ethernet
USB Ports 2
Card Slots SD memory reader
Card Slots ExpressCard
Warranty/Support One-year parts and labor/24/7 toll-free phone
Size 10.0 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
Weight 2.8 pounds
Company Website www.hp.com