HP's business-based netbook has grown up -- and the HP Mini 5101 introduces some long-overdue improvements.
- Light and small, comfortable keyboard, better touchpad
- Speakers are unimpressive
Once we've completed our testing of the Mini 5101, we'll give you a full update and a final score. In the meantime, it's safe to say HP has succeeded in delivering a smarter netbook.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
HP pioneered the notion of transforming a netbook into a corporate raider. The idea seems like a budget-conscious no-brainer now, but 18 months ago the HP 2133 Mini-Note was a wolf pack of one. Since then, the netbook market has evolved - and so have HP's entries in it. The HP Mini 5101 is a smart update, with slickly styled lines, a batch of business-ready apps, and finally a serviceable touchpad.
The gunmetal black magnesium alloy casing on the HP Mini 5101 stands in stark contrast to the shiny, silvery sloped exteriors of previous Minis. The unit measures 261x180x23mm and weighs about 1.17kg, making it an ideal travelling companion.
Two other big changes await you beneath the lid. First, the flat, wide keys of earlier HP Mini models are gone, replaced by cut-out keys that float like tiny, springy islands amidst a sea of black plastic (the keyboard configuration resembles that of the HP Probook 4510s). The coated, 95-percent-of-full-size keys are textured enough to permit comfortable typing (abetted by the rubberised textures around the wrist pad), and they don't smudge easily. Camping atop the keyboard are two lit-up quick-launch buttons and the power button.
The second major change: HP moved the mouse buttons from their old location flanking the touchpad to a position below it. That may not seem like a big deal, until you cut and paste documents for a while. HP was the only netbook maker that hadn't dropped the older style (presumably because the company's designers needed so much room for the huge keyboards on their netbooks). The mouse buttons feel great, too: firm and rubbery-textured. If the touchpad were a little larger, the input system would be perfect. (The Toshiba NB205-310 has shown everyone how a netbook touchpad should be designed.)
Under the hood, beyond the 1GB (upgradable to 2GB) of RAM and the 1.6GHz Intel Atom N280 CPU, lie a couple of tasty tidbits. First, the default hard drives spin at 7200 rpm (or you can upgrade to solid-state drives). That performance upgrade could mean a couple of extra points on WorldBench 6 test results. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to run the rig through all of its paces yet; but when we do, we'll report how well the HP Mini 5101 fared - and how long its six-cell battery lasted (HP's claims a battery life of 9 hours; we'll see about that). Already we know that the machine does a decent job of dissipating heat. It won't light your lap on fire.
The default HP Mini 5101 screen uses a 1024-by-600-pixel, 10.1-inch LCD panel, but you can upgrade 1366-by-768-pixel, 10.1-inch screen. Images on the latter looked razor-sharp, though the fonts and icons seemed almost microscopic. The resolution is certainly precise enough for viewing high-definition content onscreen. Some 720p test video took a second or two to start, but looked immaculate once in motion. And the colours, though a little muted, popped with enough clarity that we could make out inky shadows in dark corners.
The HP Mini 5101 handles audio through front-firing speakers. Though a little tinny, they have enough gusto that you won't mind listening (foe a while) without headphones. The remaining I/O ports consist of a VGA-out, three USB ports, an SD card slot, headphone and mic jacks, an Ethernet jack, and a 2-megapixel webcam.
HP has gathered a fairly robust collection of business-friendly hardware and software features for the Mini 5101. One of the three USB ports is a pass-through charger, which lets you charge gear while your netbook is powered off. HP Fast Charge reloads the standard battery to 90 percent of capacity within 90 minutes. The company's 3D DriveGuard accelerometer protects the hard drive. Security tools enable you to scrub data from prying eyes. HP also throws in Corel Home Office suite, which includes word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation apps.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 2 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 3 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 4 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 5 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Intel to exit 5G smartphone market
- Samsung's always-on Galaxy Book2 is now available in Australia
- Telstra unveils eSIM support for Windows 10 devices
- Huawei unveils its 2019 Matebook offering
- Huawei Matebook X Pro review: Homecoming King
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
- Huawei P30 Pro: Australian review
- Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Messy decisions mar smart evolutions
- Panasonic Lumix S1 review: Hands-On Australian review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies