5 November 2008 @ 21:20HP 2133 Mini-Note review
I finally got my hands on an 2133 Mini-Note and spent a couple weeks using it and compiling my thoughts on this sleek little netbook by HP. Keep reading for my review.
The HP 2133 Mini-Note that I was able to test had the following specs:
- 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor(1.2 GHz, 128 KB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB)
- 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (upgradeable to 2GB)
- 120GB 5400rpm SATA drive
- 8.9-inch diagonal WXGA screen
- 10/100/1000 ethernet
- Broadcom 802.11a/b/g, b/g, optional Bluetooth™ 2.0
- 3-cell (28 WHr) high capacity Lithium-Ion
- Windows Vista Home Basic
My first impression upon handling the Mini-Note was that it is one of the more rugged feeling netbooks with a classy aluminum casing, and a nice weight about it. Upon opening the Mini-Note, the first thing I noticed was the wide keyboard with large keys. The palmrest or inside casing is silver, but plastic instead of aluminum like the outer casing.
The Mini-Note is powered by a VIA C7-M ULV processor, which in this particular model was running at 1.2GHz. I powered up the Mini-Note, and was greeted with Windows Vista Home Basic. Boot time will vary depending on whether you have auto-login enabled or not. Boot time to login screen took 1 minute and 50 seconds. Boot time with auto-login enabled took only 1 minute and 22 seconds to get to the Windows desktop. These boot times aren’t great, and seem a bit long. This can be blamed both on the Mini-Note’s CPU and Vista.
Once Vista was up and running, I was able to do most tasks within a reasonable amount of time. Some apps took a bit long to load however. Tasks such as watching YouTube videos in Internet Explorer requires 75%-80% of the CPU’s processing power. Firefox seemed to handle many web tasks more efficiently than Internet Explorer, so I would recommend it over IE, especially when processing power is limited. I was somewhat disappointed in the VIA C7-M’s processing power, however HP does offer a slightly faster model with a 1.6GHz processor that would help out a bit. Another option that might also make the Mini-Note feel faster is the available 7200rpm HDD.
As with any netbook, portability wins over performance, so don’t expect any killer performance from the Mini-Note. If you are looking for a lighter-weight OS that doesn’t stress the Mini-Note so much, you might want to try Windows XP, or a flavor of Linux (SUSE Linux is an available Mini-Note OS).
Screen, Keyboard, and Trackpad
One of the first things I noticed with the Mini-Note once it was up and running was its beautiful display. The LCD on the Mini-Note measures 8.9″ diagonally and has a resolution of 1280×768 which offers 60% more screen area than 1024×600 that is more commonly found in netbooks. Text was nice and crisp, and photos displayed beautifully. To the left and right of the screen are stereo speakers. Although small, these speakers have good sound quality. Above the screen is a discreet, built-in webcam.
I hear a lot of people are bragging on the Mini-Note’s large keyboard (92% full-size), however I didn’t find it all that great. The keyboard measures 10 inches wide compared to the Aspire One’s 9.25-inch wide keyboard. This allows for large keys on the Mini-Note, but the overly flat shape of the keys and the extremely small gaps between them make it difficult to accurately touch type. I’m sure that with practice, typing on the Mini-Note would improve. I much prefer keys with a more distinct “cup” to them and angled edges which allow me to feel where my fingers are in relation to the keys.
The trackpad on the Mini-Note is somewhat small, but not surprisingly so. The scroll region on the right side of the trackpad is sometimes hard to find, and feels unresponsive, but in reality, once your finger grows accustomed to the exact location of the scroll region, the trackpad responds rather well. I still don’t like the trackpad buttons located to the left and right of the trackpad. Acer also chose this layout with their Aspire One netbook. I think, like most users, I tend to use the “tap-to-click” feature of the trackpad instead of the buttons. The Mini-Note also features a button above the trackpad which allows you to disable both the trackpad and its buttons. This is especially useful when you are doing a lot of typing, because it prevents accidental trackpad taps from changing your cursor location.
The HP Mini-Note came with a 3-cell lithium-ion battery, but there is also a 6-cell battery available. The battery resides between the two hinge arms. With moderate use and set on the default HP Optimized setting, I got just under 2 hours of runtime with the 3-cell battery. Two hours falls right in line with most netbooks sporting their stock battery. I was actually surprised that it wasn’t less given how hard the VIA processor seems to have to work. More runtime could presumably be squeezed out of the Mini-Note by lowering the screen brightness and turning off the wireless card.
On the left side of the Mini-Note there are the following ports: VGA monitor, powered USB 2.0, stereo microphone in, and stereo headphone out. On the right there are the following ports: Kensington lock slot, power adapter port, 10/100/1000 ethernet, non-powered USB 2.0, SD slot, and ExpressCard/54 slot. This ExpressCard slot offers a strong advantage over other netbooks if this is something you have a need for.
There are a few features that set the HP Mini-Note apart from the rest of the netbook crowd. These features include a high resolution display, durable aluminum casing, an ExpressCard slot, HP 3D DriveGuard, and a trackpad on/off button. For some users, these features will be a necessity and will make the HP Mini-Note the only option for their mobile computing.