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HP netbooks for consumers

We did not have the chance to test-drive the HP Mini Note 2133, but by now you must have heard about it.
It was launched around a year ago. If we follow Intel's arbitrary rule on what can or cannot be called a netbook, then the 2133 might not fit the netbook category. It did not run on an Intel Atom processor. Instead, it ran on the CM-7 processor from Via Technology.
Although the processor was not as fast as Intel Atom, the 2133 received fairly positive reviews from the editors and users alike. One of the models that spearheaded the Internet-focused mini notebooks revolution, it had a metal chassis and, most importantly, a great keyboard. It was also a business-oriented mini notebook, and I will talk more about it later.
HP filled the consumer segment with a new line of netbooks, called HP Mini.
Early last January, HP Indonesia started the new year by inviting the press for the launching the new line in Jakarta. The HP Mini is a netbook because now it runs on an Intel Atom processor. It is also intended to be a consumer product, and therefore it has a more stylish look with the currently in-vogue imprinted patterns on the top cover.
Specifically, the model announced at the press event earlier this year was the HP Mini 1000. My demo unit has 1 GB of RAM and a 60 GB Toshiba hard disk. There is not much to say about the performance, especially if we are to compare it with the netbooks offered by Asus, Dell, Lenovo and others.
All the components are more or less the same. In fact, the 4200 RPM hard disk inside the Mini Note 1000 is its weakest link. That is no surprise, as every netbook maker strives to achieve the best affordability and therefore has to cut some corners. The good news is, I think, that the overall performance is more than enough for the types of task it is intended to help us to perform.
And this late-arriving consumer notebook has some strong points that may put it on top of the long list of netbooks currently on the market. HP has replicated the 2133's great keyboard in the Mini Note. It has almost full-sized keys, making error-free touch-typing almost a norm. The keyboard is really a star.
Next are the speakers that are placed inside the hinge. They simply sound too good to be true, considering the size. Keep in mind that many other netbooks sound just a little louder than your PDAs. The size is right for a lady's handbag, and it will not be too heavy for her shoulder, either.
The 10.2-inch screen is very bright when you plug in the AC adapter or set the brightness to the max. Unfortunately, the otherwise attractive glass plate that covers the entire screen and its frame makes the display too glossy. For some people, the glare can be a nuisance, especially when working outside under the sunlight.
One decision that I wish HP designers had not made is the use of proprietary connection for the VGA Out and the external optical drive. The HP Mini Drive is optional, and anything optional means more limited-use investment may be required. Fortunately, we can still use a generic, USB-based DVD-RAM drive. In my test, my external LG Super DVD Multi Rewriter works flawlessly with the Mini Note 1000.
Some people have also complained about the touchpad with the buttons flanking the pad instead of being placed below it. The repositioning of the buttons is necessary to keep the keyboard in its ideal size. This is also the approach taken by Acer in the Acer One netbook. Personally, I rarely use these buttons, so I have no problem with the placement of the buttons. Besides, don't we usually use a mouse whenever we can?
The HP Mini Note 1000 is just the starter in the new consumer netbook lineup from HP. In other countries, the company has also launched the premium-class HP Mini Note 2140, which has the aluminum body of the 2133 instead of the plastic casing of the Mini Note 1000.
The battery life is reportedly slightly above average, which can be a strong reason for choosing the Mini Note 1000 over the others. Another unique feature, which is neither good nor bad but certainly saves some space on the housing side, is the combination of the microphone and line-out in a single audio port.
One thing that people are sometimes unaware of is, as I touched on earlier, that the 2133 is designed for business users. That is why the 2133 and its successors are designed differently and have different sets of features. The HP Mini Notes, on the other hand, are targeted for consumers who really want a netbook that they can carry around to check their email and maintain their Facebook.
Before you choose which one to buy, you really need to consider your requirements, because, according to HP, both of these netbook lines will continue to exist.

(source :, 3/10/2009)


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