HP's 2133 Mini-Note takes on the Eee PC

The latest ultraportable is a bit heavier and pricier than the Eee, but has a better screen and sleek design

Connectivity, power and media

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC is nicely connective. It has built-in 802.11 a/b/g support -- it instantly made the connection to my wireless network -- and a gigabit Ethernet adapter. It also offers an ExpressCard/54 slot that can be used for a variety of tasks, including use of a 3G wireless broadband adapter.

The device also has two USB ports and a standard video port for connecting to a free-standing monitor. In addition, it has an SD flash memory card slot for viewing media and other information. Its built-in speakers are surprisingly good for this type of device, but you'll be unlikely to rely on them for more than an occasional listen.

Battery life, however, will be an issue for some. The top-of-the-line US$749 version of the Mini-Note PC comes with a six-cell lithium ion battery with a rated battery life of 4.5 hours. However, the 3-cell battery that comes standard with all less expensive models, including my review unit, is only rated at two hours, fifteen minutes. This means that you can't use the Mini-Note to watch a movie or work during a long flight unless you are on an airplane with power ports. HP notes that the short battery life is partially offset by the fact that it charges to 90 per cent of capacity in only 90 minutes.

Invariably, the Mini-Note's success in the market will depend on how well it compares to the current leader, the Eee PC, and there the jury is still out. Although the Mini-Note is heavier than the Eee PC, has less battery life, and is a bit more expensive, it also offers a much wider range of options, along with a large, beautiful screen.

HP, which is best known for its conservative business-focused laptops and desktops, has developed a small laptop that will appeal to both consumers and business users, not to mention students. It is polished and complete enough to move the mini-notebook style of laptop into the mainstream.

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David Haskin

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