Price (RRP): $899
Reviewer: Alex Kidman
HP’s entry into the surprisingly busy Netbook market, the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC is an attractive unit with a great screen and superb keyboard for a unit this size. At the same time, the choice to go with Vista Business strains the meagre processor to its limits, making this an often sluggish system.
Netbooks – small PCs with small price points – have often struggled with the issue of packing in a full keyboard in a very tiny space. This has often led to units that otherwise work well, but are painful to use for extended periods of time, as the keys are just too small for proper ergonomic usage. The 2133 would appear to be the exception to this rule, however, as HP has gone to town on the keyboard, and the result is excellent, with keys that wouldn’t look out of place on a full-size keyboard.
The same can’t be said for the trackpad, which is curiously skinny, and weirdly has the mouse buttons located at each end. It will take a lot of work to get used to this for most 2133 buyers.
HP deserves commendation for slipping Vista Business into the Netbook market, as it adds a lot of current functionality, not to mention peripheral support to this model. That’s extended with two USB 2.0 ports, and a full ExpressCard slot on the side. In that sense, Vista Business makes sense – this is a system that means business.
The flipside of that is that, to put it politely, Vista Business is often sluggish on even full specification systems. On a lower strength processor, such as the Via C-7 that the 2133 uses, and with a lower memory allocation, things are downright sedate at times.
When the 2133 works, it works very well indeed. It doesn’t suffer from the poor screens of early Netbooks, or the aforementioned tiny keyboard syndrome. Running Vista means it’s technically compatible with just about everything, and the fact that it uses a full notebook hard drive means that it offers a lot more storage space than most of its competitors too.
Sadly, if you’re keen to run more than just a couple of applications at once, the 2133 quickly becomes overburdened, something that we’re not seeing with the second generation Netbooks (mostly using Intel’s Atom processor). Vista Business probably doesn’t help here.
The 2133 has a wonderful exterior, and it’s definitely a lesson in what can be done with quality parts – not every Netbook has to cut every possible price corner.
At the same time, with an asking price that’s at least two hundred dollars more than competing units, an internal architecture and operating environment that often reduces it to sedate performance makes it a tough sell indeed.