HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FJ100PA)

Is the $899 version of the Mini-Note as good as the $999 version?

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HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FJ100PA)
  • HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FJ100PA)
  • HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FJ100PA)
  • HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FJ100PA)
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Sturdy, lightweight design; ideal for general PC use such as watching video, listening to music, surfing the Internet and office work

Cons

  • Performance in multitasking tests and overall tasks slower than the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FH441PA)

Bottom Line

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FJ100PA) is designed to be a true ultraportable device, sturdy enough to take some knocks and light enough for everyday use. Business users will appreciate the connectivity and networking options. When compared in terms of specifications, performance and value of the FH441PA model it doesn’t shine as brightly.

Would you buy this?

There's no doubt that PC vendors are making inroads into the sub-$1000 ultraportable notebook space, with the recent arrival of the upgraded ASUS Eee PC as well as the stablemate to this HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, the $999, 160GB hard-drive version 2133 Mini-Note PC (FH441PA).

The first thing you notice about the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC is its superb build quality; it feels both strong and durable. The notebook weighs 1.2kg and is a compact 26cm by 17cm.

The aluminium casing gives the unit a very solid feel, and HP advises that skins will be available for the series so you can customise the lid with decals. Other devices we've tested may be lighter, but often they feel flimsy when in use, with less strength across the screen and keyboard, and they may not survive the rigours of life on the road.

Many of the features across the two HP 2133 Mini-Note PC ultraportable devices are the same, such as the large keyboard, which HP describes as 92 per cent full-sized. It's certainly close enough to a full-sized keyboard to make getting up to speed when typing a breeze. The touchpad is centrally located below the keyboard, with left and right click button located on either side and an on/off button above to lock any movement. Touchpad designs always take time to get used to, although some users will plug a mouse into the USB slot.

Under the hood, HP has reduced the specifications of some components to bring this notebook's price down to $899; this was reflected in its performance in our tests. As with the FH441PA, this notebook uses VIA's C7-M 1.2GHz CPU and a VIA chipset with VIA Chrome 9 integrated graphics — note the processor speed is down from the 1.6GHz of the FH441PA version. The system has 1GB of RAM (down from 2GB) and the 5400rpm notebook hard drive's capacity is 120GB (down from 160GB). It's important to note that 256MB of the 1GB DDR2 RAM is dedicated to the integrated graphics. The hard drive is still significantly larger than the Asus EeePC 900's 12GB. Overall, while the difference in specifications between the two Mini-Notes may not sound like a lot, on a system of this size running Windows Vista you may still see a performance hit.

In our WorldBench 6 benchmark suite tests, which runs Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Firefox, Windows Media Encoder and WinZip and also tests multitasking, the reduced specifications revealed a slow performance score of only 18. The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC (FH441PA) scored 29 — still slow, but better than this unit's result. The Adobe Photoshop test took 3402sec to finish, almost twice as long as the (FH441PA), but it did still run and complete the test, despite the fact you wouldn't be running a processor-intensive graphics application on this notebook.

The system comes with the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Business installed. Although WorldBench's multitasking test revealed a score of 3045sec (most Core 2 Duo notebooks do this in about 500sec), in our real-world tests the notebook easily handled surfing the Web while playing music files and working on documents, which is what it is designed to do. The stereo speakers located on either side of the screen produced crisp audio, while the colours and contrast on the 8.9in screen are clear and vivid; it was easy to use whether in an office environment, dim train lighting or bright sunlight. Screen adjustments were a simple function key away. It's worth mentioning that this device does get quite warm underneath at the touchpad end of the notebook. It doesn't get warmer than a mug of hot coffee and it isn't uncomfortable, and many users will rest this notebook on a desk while in use anyway.

When connected to a power source the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC was great for watching movies with its 1280x768 screen resolution, although when the battery was low some stuttering was evident.

The three-cell battery has a rating of 2700mAh (milliamp hours) and in our worst case scenario battery test the unit lasted 1hr 32mins — 20mins more than the FH441PA's results — when we looped a video and disabled the power management options. The slower speed of the processor and the reduced storage capacity of the notebook may have contributed to the marginal battery-life edge over the FH441PA, but it probably isn't worth the sacrifice in performance our tests revealed.

The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC features an integrated 802.11a/b/g wireless networking module, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port. There are only two USB ports, which are located on each side of the device; the unit's ExpressCard slot is a boon for business users (for a mobile data card, for example). A VGA webcam, SD memory card slot and D-Sub port round out its specifications. Due to the device's size, it doesn't feature any access panels on the underside. To access the sole memory slot or hard drive requires you to remove the battery and unscrew and remove the keyboard.

This $899 version of the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC has many of the strengths of FH441PA in terms of being an easy-to-use ultraportable device, but the reduced specifications delivered a performance hit that makes this offering not as compelling. If money is tight then it's a still a good ultraportable, but otherwise we recommend spending the extra $100 on the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC FH441PA.

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