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Hewlett Packard HP2133 Mini Note Ultraportable Notebook

After months of waiting and putting off the purchase of the Asus EEE PC, the long awaited Hewlett Packard Mini Notebook has arrived at my favourite tech place.

At first looks, it is a formidable unit with a nice sturdy shell, unlike my Sony Vaio VGN-TX46GP notebook (which I have nothing against, bar the flimsy feel of the screen - its paper thin). It sports a light gunmetal finish and pretty much feels like a large aluminium cigarette tin. I was initially stumped as to where the on button was but soon found it on the front of the unit (near the headphone jack).

With much deliberation, umm'ing, arr'ing and figuring out where I'd whangle the AUD$999 to pay for it, I decided to purchase this little beast to have a play with at my leisure.

Upon getting it home, I unpacked the unit and found very little in terms of anything in the box - 1 x HP2133, 1 x battery, 1 x power cord, 1 x power supply, 2 x booklets and some packaging.

The front of the unit sports the power switch (to the right of picture) and the wireless switch (to the left), with a little hard drive indicator in between (next to the power switch).

The left side of the unit sports the ExpressCard slot, SD Card slot (just below the Express Card Slot), USB port, Ethernet port, power adaptor port and security cable connection port.

The right side of the unit presents a VGA connector, cooling vent, USB port and a microphone and headphone jack.

On the inside, it sports a shiny 8.9" gloss screen with good picture quality (depending on how you angle the screen). The keyboard has a nice tactile feel and has a full range of keys (less the keypad) and being a touch typist, I found the keyboard akin to a full sized keyboard and could happily, type on it for hours. The trackpad mouse has its buttons to the side of the pad as opposed to the traditional bottom of pad position, this takes a little getting used to but nothing that couldn't be mastered over time.
After several seconds of marvelling over the presentation of the unit, I proceeded to run through my usual regime of plugging it in and running installs of software for the unit - antivirus, anti spyware, Adobe Acrobat, Winzip, multimedia codecs, Service pack 1 for Vista etc.

Testing time!!! I proceeded to put this unit through its paces. I connected my Palm Treo 750 via Bluetooth (which was quite easily achieved using the base Bluetooth software provided by Microsoft in Control Panel), and primed the 3G internet connection. Internet was moving at an agreeable pace and the HP2133 breezed through the web with ease. I tried my usual web haunts - Outlook Web Access, Log Me In, Google etc. All good.

This was followed by a simultaneous multimedia test which proved a little too much for the processor. During movie playback I found the video and sound sometimes out of sync, and at times the movie just started speeding up or slowing down for no apparent reason - likely to be the algorithms trying to re-sync the show and the CPU not keeping up. This was when the unit started to dissapoint me a little.

Although it came prepped with a nice 160GB hard drive and 2GB RAM - it was the 1.6GHz VIA C7M processor and the integrated VIA S3 video processing that proved to be the Achilles heel of the unit. Calculations and processing were slow and the HP2133 was not suited to running multiple processes simultaneously. To be fair I had checked it earlier and found that the Vista rating for calculations for this processor only rated 2 out of 6.

I believe the strain of running the antivirus, antispyware, bluetooth, internet and the multimedia file was a bit too much for it - so I did not try running a word processor in the mix for now.

I continued to run portions of the video and internet including downloading and installing Java and using Log Me In to connect to the office PC, till, an hour and a bit later, the battery started to call out for a refill - I started using it at about 0900 hours and by 1015 hours it was at 5% battery life. Being used to my Sony Vaio (which normally lasts about 3 and 1/2 hours), I could not help but feel a bit dissapointed - mind you I did pay AUD $2900 for the Sony as compared to AUD$999 for the HP2133 - so for the price, the HP2133 was not bad. The standard battery was a 3 cell litium ion battery and HP has a 6 cell battery available which I believe would double the operating time.

Conclusions: I think that this is a good carry around for anyone who wants to have a small portable unit for times when they want to take a coffee break but would like to keep an eye on the stock market and emails. Performance leaves a bit to be desired, but if you run one program at a time, the system is capable - it just gets a bit strained when multitasking. The HP2133 is tops for being lightweight and portable.

Pros: Small yet user friendly footprint with a usable sized screen. sturdy, well presented. has Windows Vista Business (you can also get this unit with Ubuntu Linux), excellent keyboard.

Cons: Poor battery life (running on 3 cell lithium), mediocre processor, fair media playback. no DVD/CD rom drive.

For more detailed specifications, please click on ...


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