The HP 2133 Mini-Note was and still is ahead of its time, design-wise, with an aluminum finish that made the original ASUS eeePC 4G look like an infant's toy.

As one of the first netbooks that cultivated a revolution, it was enticingly presented and crafted to look like its Elitebook business siblings. But it wasn't without flaws. Specifically, the Via processing innards weren't at all speedy and required excessive cooling, resulting in significant fan noise and heat coming from the base.

The newly minted HP Mini 2140 changes all that, replacing the older parts with faster and more energy-efficient ones from the Intel Atom platform while keeping the impeccably fresh design intact. It's basically a business and education version of the HP Mini 1000, and will be presented this week at CES 2009 in Las Vegas.

HP_netbook_2140_CybersSystem.BlogSpotFrom the outside, you can't tell the Mini 2140 from its predecessor. The aluminum alloy finish, a glaring departure from the white lacquered designs of the Acer Aspire One, the MSI Wind, and the Lenovo IdeaPad S10, is what made the Mini-Note exceptional in the first place. The 2140, starting at 2.6 pounds (with the 3-cell battery), is slightly lighter than the 2133. It's as heavy as the Mini 1000 (2.5 lbs) and the MSI Wind (2.6 lbs), and a bit heavier than the Acer Aspire One (2.1 lbs), the lightest in the netbook category.

The 2140 could've been as light the Acer One had it not moved to a bigger screen. It now sports a 10-inch widescreen like those of the Wind, the Mini 1000, and the ASUS eeePC 1002HA, rather than an 8.9-inch one. The 1,366-by-768 resolution is a first for a 10-inch screen, a departure from the 1,024-by-600 ones found on most netbooks. The 92% keyboard is one of the biggest, as big and as nice to type with as the Wind's, the 1002HA's, and the Mini 1000's. The Samsung NC10-14GB's, keyboard, however, has a miniscule advantage with its 93% keyboard. As with its predecessor, an exceptional keyboard doesn't help the placement of its mouse buttons, as as they flank the touchpad on either side). I found it easier to navigate with two hands.

The 2140 ranks high in features. Its 2 USB ports don't sound impressive, but foregoing a third USB port for an ExpressCard 34 slot is a wise choice. This slot can be used to expand its capabilities, by adding, for instance, FireWire ports, extra USB ports, a TV tuner, or mobile broadband.

Oddly enough, this business netbook doesn't integrate mobile broadband or 3G wireless. Meanwhile, the Mini 1000 – a consumer netbook, mind you – does. Otherwise, the 2140 has an impressive selection of storage options, including 160 Gbyte (5,400 and 7,200 RPM) spinning drives or an Intel 80-GB solid-state drive (SSD). Capacity-wise, the Samsung NC10 has a slight edge with its 320-GB, 5400rpm drive. Like all netbooks, the 2140 comes with an SD slot for digital camera cards and a webcam for video chatterboxes.

Performance is a complete turnaround from the original 2133. The Via processor, coupled with S3G graphics, was simply too slow compared to other netbooks. Heat dissipation was another issue, as you could hear the fan kick in on a regular basis. (full Story)

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