Ultimately, all the Mini-Note’s shortcomings give the impression of a product that has been pushed out the door prematurely, losing its focus on the way. Its stated target market is the education sector yet it’s not user friendly enough for this, and it lacks enough processing power and battery life for the more demanding user. Thus, it doesn’t suit anyone’s needs perfectly – a real shame considering the superb design.
Nothing illustrates this point better than the lack of balance offered by the two configurations on offer in the UK. At around £350 from SuperGPS.co.uk and others, the Linux edition seems the most logical option; it’s more affordable and a relatively cheap RAM upgrade would help boost performance a little.
As for the more expensive second configuration, which will set you back upwards of £500, there are a few hardware changes, with RAM upped to 2GB and a 6-cell battery thrown in along with the 3-cell one offered in the base spec. Bizarrely, however, it also comes pre-loaded with Windows Vista. As anyone will tell you it’s the last OS you’d want on a low-power system like this and given the VIA CPU even struggles on Linux, it’s going to be even worse on Vista. A Windows XP based version would make a good deal more sense, giving people a familiar OS that wouldn’t bog down the system too much.
Were this review based on design and features alone the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC would be walking away with a Recommended Award: that’s a fact. It has a superb keyboard and a chassis that’s a cut above both the Eee PC and anything we’ve seen, released or otherwise.
Unfortunately for HP there’s a lot more to it than this and the Mini-Note struggles to match even the modest exploits of the Eee PC. Its 1.2GHz VIA CPU chugs when shown any kind of video and battery life is poor, managing even less than the none too impressive longevity offered by Asus’ machine. If and when HP updates this with something faster, be it Intel’s Atom or a new generation VIA CPU, then it could be onto a real winner.
Score in detail
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