Later today the pre-production evaluation HP 2133 Mini-Note gets packed up and returned to HP, thus ending my evaluation of this intriguing little entry into the ultra-portable or ultra-low cost PC market. Here are some final thoughts I’ve gathered. Keep in mind, I’m evaluating a pre-production model, so some of my experiences may be different from what you might experience with a shipping model.
If you’re looking for a small device to do light desktop or web work the Mini-Note can fill the bill very well. The VIA processor can handle most of those chores without a hiccup. At least it did for me. Keep in mind the unit I was evaluating was running Vista.
I was able to pack the Mini-Note in a small over the shoulder bag and carry it with me without any difficulty. It is heavier than the Asus Eee PC and after awhile I noticed the weight a bit, but nothing that would keep me from thinking of this device as very portable.
Although the extended battery adds some weight and size to the device, I’d definitely add that to the cost of your purchase if you’re going to be mobile for any length of time. With the standard battery I was able to eek out just over 2 hours and 20 minutes of use. With the extended battery I was able to push things to just under 5 hours on average depending on what I was doing.
I’m disappointed with media playback. I had ripped some movies for my travel time to and from the MVP Summit in order to check out media playback. Playback in Windows Media Player had frequent and random slow downs without anything else of note running. I experienced the same thing with a movie I had previously purchased in iTunes. This is a shame, really, as this size of device would be the perfect travel companion for media playback.
The optional webcam works, but just like with media playback, I experienced some choppiness when attempting video calls.
Although it took some getting used to, I really enjoyed using the keyboard and became quite proficient with it. That said, I detest the trackpad. The length that mirrors the widescreen display takes far too long and is too cumbersome to traverse. The wide distance between the buttons is also problematic. If I was going to use this device I’d have to opt for a portable mouse, which I do use on occasion, but prefer not to.
Those are some final thoughts from my limited perspective. Your reactions may be entirely different. Keep in mind that the HP 2133 Mini-Note is highly configurable (or soon will be). You’ll be able to choose operating systems, hard drive size, speed, and type, and other options. HP has created a device that will appeal to many because of its size and price point. That appeal will depend a great deal on the usage model and expectations. While HP’s first market is the education sector, I think we’ll see quite a few of these in the hands of mobile professionals (their declared secondary market) as well. If you’re not looking for good, solid media playback, it could serve very well as a companion device.
Does my wife, Thomasin, want to buy one? I’ve been asked that question quite a bit since she did the InkShow. When I last checked with her, she said she wouldn’t mind it at all, but she’s content to stick with the Asus Eee PC for now. That “for now” part has me thinking we’ll be picking one up for her at some point in the future.
Make sure you check out the GBM InkShows on the HP 2133 Mini-Note.
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