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HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Review

on April 9, 2008 12:01 am

I love my 15 inch Macbook Pro when I use it at home on the couch, but my affection wears thin when I travel with it. Carrying it a gear bag slung over my shoulder and having to pull it out at various airport security checks, does get old. That’s why anytime I see a small computer, my interest is immediately piqued. When HP contacted me last week to offer me a look at their new ultra-portable HP2133 Mini-Note PC, I was happy to oblige. Here’s a quick look at it…

The Mini-Note is available in five different configurations that range in price from $499 – $849 and include various processor speeds, choices of Microsoft Vista flavors and even a distribution of Linux (SUSE). I was sent the $599 model designated as KX868AT.

Hardware Specifications

Operating system – Windows Vista Home Basic 32
Processor – VIA C7-M ULV processor (1.2 GHz, 128 KB L2 cache, 800 MHz FSB)
Memory – 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Memory slots – 1 DIMM
Hard drive – 120 GB 5400 rpm SATA
Display size – 8.9-inch diagonal WXGA
Graphics – VIA Chrome 9
Integrated camera – VGA camera
Ports and slots – 2 USB 2.0, 1 microphone in, 1 headphone/line-out, 1 external VGA monitor, 1 RJ-45, 1 AC power, 1 Express Card/54, 1 secure digital
Network interface – 10/100/1000 NIC
Wireless – Broadcom 802.11a/b/g
Battery – 3-cell (28 WHr) high capacity Lithium-Ion
Power supply – External 65-watt Smart AC adapter, 6-foot (1.8-meter) power cord included. Total length including external AC adapter is 12 feet (3.66 meter). HP Fast Charge Technology
Weight – 2.8 lb (1.27 kg)
Dimensions (w x d x h) – 10.04 x 6.5 x 1.05 in (255 x 165 x 27 mm)

HP Mini-note 2133

The HP2133 has been designed for the education market, and as such, it is both sturdy and rugged. The shell is brushed aluminum, that feels very sleek in hand. For some reason, it brings back memories of the Palm Tungsten T for me. I know it isn’t a PDA, but just like that classic metal bodied device, I find myself wanting to pick up and touch this laptop. There are no sharp edges on this computer, all the corners are rounded and smooth.

It feels very solid and well built. It actually feels more substantial than my Macbook Pro.

HP Mini-note 2133

This laptop is the prefect size for traveling. As you can see from the image above, it is less than half the size of my 15″ Macbook Pro. I can’t help but wish that Mac OS X was one of the operating system choices in the five configurations…

HP Mini-note 2133

On the front edge, there are two small chrome slider switches with LEDs built into the switch knobs. The switch on the Left is the power switch and the switch on the right is for Wifi. There is also a small disk status LED next to the power switch.

Speaking of the hard drive, it is protected by the HP 3D DriveGuard. This sends a signal to shut down the hard drive upon sudden movement or shock by using a three-axis digital accelerometer chip.

HP Mini-note 2133

On the Left side of the laptop, you will find a VGA out connector, heat vents, a USB port, microphone and earphone jacks.

HP Mini-note 2133

On the opposite side there is an Express card slot, SD card slot, another USB port, Ethernet jack, AC adapter port and a security lock connector.

HP Mini-note 2133

On the bottom of the laptop, you’ll find the removable battery and various heat vents.

HP Mini-note 2133

HP sent both the regular three cell battery as well as a six cell extended battery.

HP Mini-note 2133

Here you see the extended battery installed. It does add considerably to the bulk of the laptop (from 2lb 13 oz to 3lb 3oz), but it has an added benefit of raising the back of the computer to a nice level for typing. The 3 cell battery will power the laptop for around 2.5 hours, while the extended battery can almost double that.

HP Mini-note 2133

Opening the display reveals a glossy screen and wonderful keyboard. By the way, the display does not have a latch, it’s just held closed by the hinge mechanism, which feels quite sturdy.

HP Mini-note 2133

The display has speakers on either side of the screen. The sound provided by these speakers is really really good.

HP Mini-note 2133

The keyboard on the Mini-Note is fantastic for such a small laptop. It’s actually 92% the size of a regular full-size keyboard. The keys are metal and are slightly bowed in middle. The size of each key is generous and the travel is comfortable. As a fast touch typist, I had absolutely no problems becoming acclimated to typing on it.

This keyboard hides a nice feature. It’s spill proof! The keys themselves also have a clear coating applied over them that protects the finish and printed letters and characters.

HP Mini-note 2133

The small 2.5 x 1.25 trackpad has a rubber ‘mouse’ button on either side. Even though the trackpad is quite small, it works well. That said, I’d probably bring along a small wireless mouse if I were to travel with this computer. I’ve never been a big fan of using trackpads.

HP Mini-note 2133

The 8.9-inch diagonal WXGA display is wonderful. Set by default at the maximum resolution of 1280 x 786, it is soooooo much better than the EEEPC, that I can’t even tell you. Here you see The Gadgeteer in all its glory… No side scrolling required. Yay!

HP Mini-note 2133

Here we compare my Macbook Pro and the Mini-note both viewing the same page. Papa Bear and Baby Bear ;o) Surfing with the Mini-Note was a pleasure.

The configuration that I was sent shipped with only 1GB of memory and Windows Vista installed. To say that I would rather stick a fork in my eye than use Vista is an understatement. But that said, the Mini-Note in this configuration does an admirable job. I noodled around with it and Office and felt that the laptop was very responsive, with little lag. If I were going to buy one of these laptops, I would most likely put Windows XP on it, or a distribution of Linux. Either one would probably make the machine feel even snappier.

Conclusion

I’m extremely impressed with the HP 2133 Mini-Note laptop. So much so, that I don’t want to send it back tomorrow! The size is perfect, the display is great, the keyboard is wonderful and the price is nice. Sure, you can get yourself an ASUS EEE PC, for less money… But after you get your hands on the Mini-Note, the EEE PC feels and looks like a cheap toy. I actually purchased the EEE PC for myself thinking I would use it instead of my Macbook Pro for traveling. The small display and low resolution were absolute deal breakers for me though. I would take the Mini-Note on a trip with me in a heartbeat. Well, I would if it were running something other than Vista ;o) If you have been shopping for an ultra-portable laptop, please do yourself a favor and take a look at this one before you buy anything else.

 

Product Information

Price:
Manufacturer:Hewlett Packard
Pros:
  • Metal body
  • Size
  • Great display, speakers and keyboard
Cons:
  • Runs a bit warm at times

Comments

  1. 1
    B. J. Swanson says:

    Thanks for a great review. I’m seriously looking for a UMPC and had just convinced myself, after Ben’s last review, that the Sony Vaio PCG-U3 UMPC was for me. Now I’m not so sure. The U3 has Windows XP, a definite plus, while the HP2133 has Windows Vista, a definite minus. Back to agonizing, unable to make a decision….

  2. 2
    Bill Quinlan says:

    do you know when it will be released? I can’t find it on HP’s website. Also is there an XP configuration? I too do not want Vista on a machine this under powered….

    thanks for a great review with helpful pictures!

  3. 3
    Julie says:

    Here’s a link. I haven’t tried to order one though, so I don’t know if it’s really active.

    HP Mini-Note Order page

    XP isn’t an option yet, but I read somewhere that there is a possibility that it will be.

    I’ll most likely go with model KX870AT and install a distro of Linux or XP on it.

  4. 4
    vm-01 says:

    Very nice device, and there are videos at jkontherun.com and gottabemobile.com .

    Do you see this device as being a PC you can carry around all day or more like something to use in a plane and hotel room when you’re traveling?

  5. 5
    mike roselius says:

    Apparently there are mulitple (4?) configurations of this machine – 2 different processors (1.0 and 1.6 ghz) and you choice of 2 different Vista versions (Home and Business), FreeDos or SuSe.

    I’m excited to see what this does to the price of the $3k Lenovo x300 as well as what Dell decides to counter with.

    Load this up w/ Outlook and OneNote – and you have an incredible “main brain” at a price competitive with what we used to pay for a top of the line Palm / IPaq….

  6. 6
    anson says:

    i wish Steve Jobs wouldnt be so stubborn and make me something this small and commute-friendly…cuz calling the new MacBook-AIR a “ultra-portable” is a bit of a stretch.
    Cuz as it stands…my current 3 year-old 12″ G4-powerbook 1.5ghz beats the pants of that hot-AIR.

    I once had a sony vaio-C1 (aka. picturebook), and loved it before it died…and the form factor of this HP is making me close to jumping Apple-ship!

    drool.

  7. 7
    Henry Martinez says:

    This is an excerpt that comes from a “live-chat” session I had with the HP sales folks this morning:

    Hello, you are now chatting with Jennifer.

    Jennifer: Thank you for holding.

    Jennifer: This is Jennifer in Colorado Springs and I will be happy to help you today. It will be just a moment while I read your previous comments so you don’t have to repeat yourself.

    Guest: Hello Jennifer

    Jennifer: How can I help you with the 2133 today?

    Guest: I am wondering if it is available with the Windows XP operating system rather than Vista?

    Jennifer: The 2133 will not be available with XP until May 15th.

    Guest: That’s OK – do you know what the part number will be? Is it available for pre-order?

    Jennifer: We do not have a part number yet, and it is not available for pre-order at this time.

    Guest: OK – well, then I’ll check the HP order website on May 15. Thanks for your help!

    Jennifer: Thank you! Have a great day!

  8. 8
    Julie says:

    vm-01:

    For me personally, I wouldn’t want to use this machine as my main computer. I prefer a desktop for that because I like to have a LOT of screen area. This is evident in the fact that I have a 24″ iMac -and- a 17inch display right next to it ;o) Now that doesn’t mean that this little machine wouldn’t make a wonderful daily companion. It just depends on what you want to use it for.

  9. 9
    B. J. Swanson says:

    Amen to Anson. I also have a 3-year old G-4 Powerbook, 12″ screen. It’s awesome. I was hoping the Air would be ultra mobile. Ultra thin just doesn’t cut it so I’m looking for a new UMPC. Are you listening Steve Jobs??

  10. 10
    Adam says:

    My old Sony VAIO PCG-SRX99 had the same basic curved shape and look as the HP2133. However, it also had a 10.6″ screen, P3 850M, and 5 hour battery life in a 2.7 pound package.

    This new crop of mini-notebooks is interesting, but there are really only two new features:

    1) They’re cheap
    2) You can “officially” get them with Linux

    Otherwise, the Panasonic Toughbooks, various old Sony models, and many other laptops have managed to squeeze larger screens, faster CPUs, longer battery runtimes, and other features into small devices of similar weight for years. But they’re more expensive:

    Panasonic W7
    Panasonic R7

    Also, I read that the HP2133 sucks for video playback. If Apple can put a GPU capable of handling 30 FPS h.264 movies into a phone (and Dell and HP can do the same for their PDAs), why can’t HP do the same for its mini-laptop?

    Still, at $550 the 1.2GHz Linux model is tempting. Add a better GPU and a GPS and I’d happily pay $600 for it.

    [Edited at April 13, 2008 16:29:41 PM.]

  11. 11
    Lawrence Chen says:

    Is Linux gonna be available for the 1.6Ghz model?

  12. 12
    Gordon Harlan says:

    I gotta ask… does this fit in the maxpedition colossus bag?

  13. 13
    Julie says:

    According to Dave’s review of the Colossus bag, the back pocket is 9 x 11. The Mini-note is about 10 x 7 x 1. So I think you’d be good to go :)

  14. 14
    mike roselius says:

    I’m really hoping you’ll be able to get ahold of, and do a review of the MSI Wind. It’s very similar to the HP – similar pricing as well. I’m torn between the two – and would love to get a consistent review of both machines from the same user – something that only happens on great sites lie this one!

    Fingers are crossed that you’ll get ahold of a Wind….

  15. 15
    Charles M. says:

    Good review, Julie.

    For my part, I bought the Acer One mini-laptop last week and really enjoy using it.
    I’m presently installing Xubuntu Linux on it, as I found the included Linpus Linux way too restrictive (dumbed-down) for my taste.
    Also, there was an issue of the Canadian-French keyboard provided with the machine NOT being supported by the OS for some weird reason. So I’ll be using a REAL, and COMPLETE OS from now on.

    Except for that, a VERY nice computer that should suit my needs very well. And that for only $350 cdn + taxes, shipping included. I paid more for my Palm XT and WAY, WAY more for my iPaq ($800) way back when… :-)

    Charles
    Anjou, Qc, Canada

  16. 16

    [...] what the hell and went with it, receiving 400€ to spend. At first I was thinking of getting a netbook. Then I was thinking of a proper digital SLR. Then I though of getting a new PC, paying extra out [...]

  17. 17
    Tony says:

    HP HP 1035NR 10.2-Inch Netbook Launched Now!!! Wider Screen than HP 2133 in this review.

    HP 1035NR 10.2-Inch Netbook

  18. 18
    Tomás Pavat says:

    This is a wonderfull device!!. I have one the last six months, and so very much happy with this, all yours notes are really, and only new speech would be: Is the first PC like seems a Mac!!, for the all aluminium shell, for the perfect screen, and plus: I run until AutoCad, Photoshop CS, Office 2007, itunes 8 with music and movies.
    But have a one problem: it nor have a restart button.
    (My configuration is 2Gb of ram, 120Gb of HD, Bluethooth, Wi-Fi, etc.)

  19. 19
    Julie says:

    Tomas:

    We’ll be doing a HP mini 1000 review very soon :) I’m anxious to try it. It doesn’t have a metal body like the 2133, but I think it will be a great little device.

  20. 20
    Tomás Pavat says:

    Fine Julie, I’ll spent for it!
    Well, nothing more to say that a good review. Bye.

  21. 21
    Rob says:

    HP always seems to make laptops with a really good appearance and design.
    Their latest Netbook seems much the same.

  22. 22

    [...] sure can provide one. I have been using an MSI Wind Netbook lately, but my true love was the HP 2133 Mini-Note that I reviewed last year. I loved its metal shell, 8.9 inch 1280 x 786 display and keyboard. The [...]

  23. 23
    Steve Bowden says:

    Just taken delivery of my new HP Mini-Note. have upgraded the ram to 2 gig, and have also installed Windows XP SP2, so far very impressed with it. The build quality is second to none, very stylish, very solid and all this for £187 from ebuyer.com

    Just about to install MS Office, and then also test to see how it handles xvids …

    Sweet well worth investing .. or for those of you that want a faster version the HP Mini 2140 is out soon …

    Regards
    Steve Bowden

  24. 24
    simon parma says:

    did you understand what’s the use for little button between spacebar and touchpad?

  25. 25

    @simon: It turns the touchpad off, in case you have an external mouse and don’t want the possibility of brushing the touchpad with your hand as you type. Seems to be a common feature on a lot of HP/Compaq laptops I’ve seen recently.

  26. 26
    me_aimy says:

    i was wondering if this thing has dvd/cd port? and would u recommend for highschooler/college student?

    would this meet my personal requirements:
    1)small screen
    2)weigh less
    3)long battery life..(minimum 4 expcted)
    4)memory
    5)dvd/cd
    6)basic software..(microsoft office..etc..)

  27. 27
    me_aimy says:

    also…if not this..what would be another model that i could get?…i personally dont like dell..but i could consder it…
    mac is okay..but too expensive..(highschooler/college student)
    hp sounds affordable/great features..

    and costs should be $800 or less…
    THANK U SOO MUCH!!!!! =D

  28. 28
    dalo says:

    I can assure the quality of HP notebooks (I have owned two without any problem). About HP Netbook design is undoubtedly the most attractive.

  29. 29
    pao says:

    hey, i’m not a techie but there’s a 2nd hand hp 2133 mini note on ebay for a really great price so i’d like to inquire: do any of the ports allow for an odd? thanks!

  30. 30
    Julie says:

    @pao I’m not sure what you’re asking? Do any of the ports allow for an odd what?

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