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HP 2133 Mini-Note
HP has always been different from its competitors. Whether it's HP's DV style of laptops with glossy finishes or a weird insistence on packing mid-range laptops with more style than performance, the company has never failed to stand apart. This trend continues. With the recent launch of Intel‘s Atom processor and everyone jumping on the bandwagon, HP has chosen to buck this trend and instead equipped its netbook with a VIA C7 CPU. How does this “mini note” fare against the competition? Let’s find out.
HP has never shied away from adding flair to its products. This is reflected in the 2133, which sports a beautiful brushed aluminum finish. The casing consists of a durable metallic lid, with a toughened plastic matte finish for the rest of the laptop, including the keyboard area, underside, and sides. The brushed aluminum finish imparts a classy look that will appeal to business users and casual users alike. Compared to other 8.9 inch laptops, the 2133 is portable enough, with dimensions of 255 x 165 x 27 mm and a weight of 1.27 kg.
Moving on to to usability, the keyboard is at best described as a work of art. While many manufacturers offer excellent keyboards and well-spaced keys, the HP 2133 takes it a step further. This can be attributed to the fact that HP has designed its keyboard to be used for long hours and hence special attention has been paid to it.
The keys have been treated to last longer, offer a matte non-textured finish that prevents sliding, has perfectly elevated keys, and offers very good feedback with no flex or extra springiness. The keyboard is similar to that of the Asus 1000h, in that it's 92 percent the size of a regular keyboard. All told, it makes working long hours a non-issue.
The touchpad, however, gets an F. It is eerily similar to the Acer Aspire One, in that it has a small touchpad area and two large mouse buttons. The touchpad is cramped and using it is difficult while travelling. You should consder investing in a small wireless notebook mouse to increase productivity.
The 8.9 inch LCD panel of the HP 2133 has a native resolution of 1280 x 768. This offers a good deal of screen space, more than comparable Netbooks, but loses points because it’s an 8.9-inch affair. The text looks squeezed at times and, despite the presence of Windows Vista with its beautifully designed UI, looks quite cramped. The LCD panel by itself is quite decent, with above average brightness and contrast levels and great viewing angles.
Connectivity-wise, the laptop offers just 2 USB slots, a VGA adapter, a multi-format card reader, an Expresscard slot, and Ethernet, along with a security lock aka Kensington slot.
As I mentioned earlier, the HP Mini-Note is based on the VIA C7M CPU clocked at 1.2 GHZ, and comes with 1GB of RAM and a 120GB HDD. Its graphics are powered by the VIA Chrome 9 chipset. While on paper these look like decent specifications, the real-life performance was far from perfect. The VIA processor is simply underpowered, and the paltry 1GB RAM and a highly demanding Window Vista Business means you have a sure-fire recipe for disaster on your hands.
Right from the beginning the device felt like a crawl-show, taking 75 seconds to boot up, 35 seconds after login for the desktop to appear. It generally restricts multitasking to no more than 3-4 windows before it starts gasping for breath. A downgrade to Windows XP might improve performance, but not significantly, I feel. The battery life is not all that great either. Despite having a 6-cell battery it topped out at 4½ hours, which is a good deal lower than most other netbooks. The audio capabilities are none too impressive. Sound was muffled and tinny, and unsuitable for anything beyond very low volumes.
The HP 2133 feels like an incomplete, lackadaisically designed product. Though it has a brilliant body finish and great keyboard, it loses points for its touchpad, its battery life and its absolutely atrocious pricing of Rs 39,999. At this price point it’s ventured into the realm of normal laptops and becomes completely unworthy of a purchase. We don’t recommend it at all, as virtually any offering from MSI or Acer or ASUS can not only easily surpass it in performance and battery life, but also cost up to 75 percent less!