HP Mini 2140 Netbook Review

Price Range: $ 438 – 499

With a simple but modern layout, the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Mini's all-aluminum casing puts it in a comparable category with Apple's laptops, giving the HP Mini a cool status combined with a lightweight functionality. Including an ExpressCard / 54 slot and mobility-sized keyboard already previously praised in earlier models, the HP Mini gets a lot of design kudos. Unfortunately, HP also stumbled on a netbook faux paus with the inclusion of the standard narrow cursor touchpad and side-mounted control buttons. Again, big-handed users will find this an annoying cause of cursor mistakes and glitches.

Performance is supported by the standard Atom N270 processor, but usability is boosted by inclusion of a larger 1024 x 576 resolution screen. Unfortunately, you will need to spend a little more to get the $ 30 optional six-cell battery which is a requirement if you want more than 2 hours of battery life with your netbook package. The HP 6-cell actually performs better than competitors, giving a reported 7 hours of web-browsing time compared to other netbooks of similar battery size.

Weighing in at exactly 2.62 pounds and shaped with 1.05 inches in thickness, the HP Mini is clearly built for the traveler and mobile office user. Body dimensions in total come in at 10×10.3×6.5 inches (HWD). This design makes the Mini 2140 both smaller and lighter than comparable competition.

Ports included are the same as many other netbooks, however, you do get a 54mm ExpressCard slot. This gives you the flexibility to switch over to a wireless-broadband card, and increasing your operability outside of common Wi-Fi hotzones (in other words, you can work where you want to with Wi-Fi rather than the closest Starbucks).

Regarding the design of the keyboard, the flat-top keys are close to 10 percent smaller than a traditional laptop keyboard and the function keys are located where you would expect to find them normally. There is far less reliance on the overlapping function button code keys in the HP. The right Enter and Shift keys are big, so large-handed folks are going to be pleased with the setup. As we noted earlier, the cursor pad leaves room for improvement however.

The display gives a 16: 9 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1,024×576. That makes it very comparable to the 1,024×600 resolution of the Eee PC 1002HA and Samsung NC10. Some argument the smidgen of missing pixels has an impact, but we're talking about a very marginal difference.

In the storage arena the HP Mini gives the same benefits as other netbooks, with a 160GB, 5,400rpm hard drive. You can get a faster 160GB, 7,200rpm model, but there's no storage improvement, just speed. The nice tweak is that with the Windows version both drives have HP's 3D DriveGuard. This protects you from drive damage when it senses jostling or a drop. It should be a standard feature on all netbooks given their mobility, but for now only HP offers this bonus.

A sleek outer shell, good metrics on performance and display, an added drive protection, and additional port flexibility gives you a good high range netbook package for your money. More than likely catered to business types over students, the HP mini is still a nice competitor to go after the price is not your top consideration and full office mobility is.

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