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HP 2133 Mini-Note PC  (Source: Hewlett-Packard)

  (Source: Hewlett-Packard)

  (Source: Hewlett-Packard)

  (Source: Notebook Review)

HP 2133 with the 6-cell extended battery installed.  (Source: Notebook Review)

The HP 2133's innards.  (Source: Notebook Review)
HP swings for the fences with its 2133 Mini-Note PC

When ASUS launched its Eee PC 401 4G last year, not many people knew where the tiny $399 device would take the industry. Within months, ASUS flanked its original 4G model with the $299 2G model and the $499 8G model.

As sales skyrocketed, ASUS dropped another bombshell on potential customers with the announcement of its second generation Eee PC 900 with a larger, 8.9" display which calmed the fears of some of those upset over the original unit’s 7" display. ASUS' efforts to carve out a niche in the low-cost PC market along with a number of competitors arriving fashionably late to the party even enticed Microsoft to extend the availability of Windows XP Home by another two years.

Not one to be left out in the cold by a growing trend in the PC market, HP no doubt eyed the original ASUS Eee PC and decided to make a machine to outpace it -- that machine is the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC. We first heard about the 8.9" 2133 Mini-Note back in February when Engadget leaked a couple of rendered images of the device, but today HP is fully prepared with a press release on the device.

Unlike the Eee PC which is currently only available with a solid-state drive (SSD), the 2133 Mini-Note is available with a variety of storage options (2.5" form factor) and can be configured to your liking. The $499 model will get you a 1.0GHz VIA C7-M processor, 512MB of RAM and a 4GB SSD running Novell Suse Linux. $549 will get you a 1.2GHz VIA processor, 1GB of RAM, and a 5400 RPM 120GB HDD -- an extra $50 entitles you to Windows Vista Home Basic.

Finally, the top-of-the-line model rings in at $749 and throws in everything but the kitchen sink. Whereas the previous three models incorporate a 3-cell battery, the range-topping model sports a 6-cell battery for extended mobile duties. The device also sports a 1.6GHz VIA processor, 2GB of RAM, 5400 RPM 120GB HDD, Bluetooth, webcam, and Windows Vista Business. All machines are equipped with two USB 2.0 ports, SDHC slot, an ExpressCard/54 slot, VGA port and GbE. HP also makes 7200 RPM 120GB and 160GB HDDs available as an option.

Moving on to the exterior, the 2133 Mini-Note is dominated by its 8.9", 1280x768 display. The resolution on the notebook far outpaces the original Eee PC's 7", 800x480 display and even betters the new Eee PC 900's 8.9", 1024x600 display. The display is of the glossy variety which means that colors should be rich and vibrant; however, you'll have to deal with pesky reflections.

Unlike the Eee PC with its mostly plastic construction, the 2133 Mini-Note goes further with a mixture of brushed aluminum and plastic to give it a more expensive look and feel. HP also thankfully gave its latest notebook a 92% full-size keyboard which should be leagues better than the cramped keyboard on the Eee PC 401/Eee PC 900.

The HP 2133 Mini-Note isn't exactly a featherweight, but its mass is quite reasonable given its size and price range -- especially when compared to other ultra-portables like the MacBook Air which are more than twice the price of even the most expensive model. The 2133 Mini-Note weighs in at 2.63-pounds in its base configuration with a 3-cell battery -- that figure swells to 2.86-pounds with a 3-cell battery and a 160GB HDD and 3.23-pounds with a 6-cell battery and 160GB HDD.

Up to this point, the HP 2133 Mini-Note looks to be a great machine on paper, but here comes the caveat: the VIA C-7M processor. Notebook Review was able to sample the $749 model with its 1.6GHz VIA C7-M processor and 160GB HDD and was less than impressed by its performance. Despite the high clock speed, the machine often bogged down with surfing the web and struggled with multi-tasking -- an Eee PC 4G clocked at a mere 630MHz was able to outpace the machine in PCMark05. The slower models will fare even worse.

"On paper the 1.6GHz VIA C7-M processor should provide excellent speed for general computing tasks," said Notebook Review's JerryJ. "In reality, web pages rendered slower than expected, multi-tasking was painfully slow, and most processor-hungry applications like Photoshop or video encoding software just didn't like the VIA processor."

The VIA C7-M processor also ran very hot necessitating the system fan to run most of the time. According to Notebook Review, the machine became uncomfortable to operate after 30-45 minutes due to the heat output which surpassed 110 degrees Fahrenheit on various portions of the device.

Battery life scores varied from different reviewers around the web. Notebook Review got around two hours and fifteen minute with the 3-cell battery and four hours and eleven minutes from the 6-cell battery. got just under four and a half hours with the 6-cell battery.

The HP 2133 Mini-Note looks to be a worthy entry into the burgeoning field of relatively inexpensive ultra-notebooks. The notebook gives other ultra-portables like the MacBook Air and Lenovo ThinkPad X300 a run for the money with features while offering a nearly full-size keyboard and an affordable price tag.

The machine, however, appears to be hampered by its VIA processor and excess heat. One wonders why HP didn't go with Intel's Atom processors which promise better performance and low thermals, but it could possibly be an option in the future.

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Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By R3MF on 4/8/2008 5:45:16 AM , Rating: 4
A: because they intend to use the much more powerful Isaiah CPU.

I do worry about graphics power however, although if it can do aero ok then it can't be all bad, still...........

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By copiedright on 4/8/2008 6:03:54 AM , Rating: 2
That's my guess too!

Remember Isaiah is pin for pin compatible with the C7.
When it gets the CPU upgrade Ill get one!

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By Gul Westfale on 4/8/2008 7:32:39 AM , Rating: 3
i think it may have simply been too late in the development for them to have gone with the atom CPU.

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By JoshuaBuss on 4/8/2008 3:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
I just think the scores were low because they were using vista.

someone get some benchies with a stripped-down install of xp or a lightweight linux distro!

i think you'd have to be crazy to want a huge OS like vista on a PC like this!

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By daftrok on 4/8/2008 7:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. You can't run PCMark05 on two laptops if they are running different OS. Give them both Windows XP and you'll see HP wipe the floor with Acer.

By lagitup on 4/8/2008 7:57:44 PM , Rating: 3
and you'll see HP wipe the floor with Acer.

I think you mean Asus...there is a huge difference (one brand is loved by gamers everywhere, the other is, well, Acer)

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By Inspector Jihad on 4/8/2008 7:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
whats Isiah? is it vias competitor to atom? been out of touch and haven't heard of it yet.

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By psychobriggsy on 4/8/2008 8:16:45 AM , Rating: 3
It's VIA's new pin-compatible high-end CPU. It sounds like it will be a decent performer, but is positioned above Atom power-wise.

What VIA really need to do is move the C7 from 90nm to 55nm. That will solve the heat issues. They should do that to the chipset too, so the graphics can be clocked at more than the 100MHz or whatever they're running to get a <100 3DMark06 score.

VIA's been misfiring left right and centre in the past 4 years, and it seems that they're about to step on a landmine with Atom written on it.

By masher2 on 4/8/2008 4:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
> "It's VIA's new pin-compatible high-end CPU. It sounds like it will be a decent performer, but is positioned above Atom power-wise."

I've been a fan of Via for years -- I have two of their mini-itx boards built into the walls of my house. But I think 'Atom' is going to pretty much be the death of their line.

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By Mr Perfect on 4/8/2008 12:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
You can read up on the Isaiah at the [H]. Somehow I never saw it reviewed on other sites.

It could be a very interesting option once they get it out there.

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By Brandon Hill on 4/8/2008 12:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
65nm, 20W TDP.

Uhh, no thanks!! ;-)

By UNCjigga on 4/9/2008 12:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think one reason why they don't have any (known?) design wins is they haven't shrunk CN/Isaiah down to 45nm yet. VIA promised it on the roadmap for later this year though. But personally, I'd rather have a dual-core Atom at less than half the TDP!

By nukunukoo on 4/9/2008 5:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
Don't make the mistake of underestimating the Isaiah, especially with TSMC aggressively speeding up its 40nm process.

By deeznuts on 4/9/2008 1:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
You can read up on the Isaiah at the [H]. Somehow I never saw it reviewed on other sites.
Maybe cuz Kyle was the only one that would take money ...

By eye smite on 4/8/2008 12:10:45 PM , Rating: 3
Via cpu wouldn't be my first choice, but it's interesting that HP chose that for this model range. I'm guessing it won't see astronomical sales due to other selections from other companies, but it should do ok for what it is.

By rhangman on 4/8/2008 2:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is that it uses the CN896. I have a mATX board that uses that. I would have thought that the VX700 would have been a better match. Anyway for the Isaiah they would need to switch to the VX800 or VX800U, so I am not sure how easy it would be.

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By Sulphademus on 4/8/2008 8:22:27 AM , Rating: 3
Home basic doesnt get you Aero.

RE: Q: why didn't they go with Atom?
By AlphaVirus on 4/8/2008 9:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
But you dont even notice the difference.

Someone bought my wife a computer with Basic on it and when I first booted up to clean all the junkware, it loooked strange. I played around with all the settings, adjusted brightness and contrast, and still looked strange. Well it only looked strange to me because I have been a Vista Premium user for 1+ years so it looked 'different'. Overall it was exactly the same, as far as what an average user needs; she downloads her RealArcade/Popcap/BigFish games and browses the interwebs easily.

I did however find out that if you have Google Desktop installed, it gives the Aero Glass look to your taskbar. I am not sure if it also changes other parts of Vista because I quickly uninstalled it.

By AlphaVirus on 4/8/2008 9:51:07 AM , Rating: 2
Oh and Sulphademus I was not trying to start a debate, just informing anyone who was wondering or did not know.

By StevoLincolnite on 4/8/2008 11:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it does, You can have Aero on Home Basic, with only a registry edit. (Google is your friend)

You don't think Microsoft Alters all the code and features of it's operating system on a per-package basis do you? No, much like processors, they just disable a part, whack a sticker and a lower price tag, only difference is, this feature you can enable.

What a waste...
By Suomynona on 4/8/2008 9:26:23 AM , Rating: 5
I can't believe that they wasted such a nice design and nice screen by going with such a shitty CPU. The design of these laptops is so much nicer than the Eee, but they somehow made them even less capable.

RE: What a waste...
By FITCamaro on 4/8/2008 12:56:44 PM , Rating: 2
Really. I think even a 1GHz ULV C2D would be better than that. $749 isn't a bad price for that thing if it had a decent CPU.

By psychobriggsy on 4/8/2008 7:51:14 AM , Rating: 2
Well that screen is going to be quite amazing to see, 1280x768 in 8.9"! That's good, but I might have to up the font size a bit!

I think that Vista is a bad match for the CPU however. having used an 800MHz C3 in the past with KDE, it should feel usable, so to get bogged down on the much faster C7 shows that something isn't happy.

The $549 option sounds okay for internet usage and EeePC like tasks. If the next EeePC at the $499 mark has a 12GB SSD and a 1.6GHz Atom, things could get interesting.

It looks larger than the EeePC judging from the bezel. Is that an ExpressCard or PCMCIA slot?

By psychobriggsy on 4/8/2008 8:07:44 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, 93 3DMarks. Is that running in software mode or something?! I didn't know that VIA's integrated graphics were that bad - to be 1/5th the speed of integrated Intel is something special.

Shame that it only has VGA out as well. I know that it is probably fine for its use, but ...

The hardware is excellent, the build is excellent. I imagine XP or Linux on this thing will fly.

By StevoLincolnite on 4/8/2008 11:37:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well, they do have the new Direct X 10 parts coming soon...
But it's nice to see Via still kicking around after all these years, at one time they made the best motherboards for the AMD platform before nVidia said "My turn!" and released the nForce, although the nForce didn't do all that well, it wasn't until the nForce 2, did nVidia finally have Via beat.

Oh, and congrats on choosing SUSE
By R3MF on 4/8/2008 5:51:43 AM , Rating: 2
SLED or opensuse is an excellent linux distro to choose, my congratulations on a common-sense decision.

RE: Oh, and congrats on choosing SUSE
By SilthDraeth on 4/8/08, Rating: -1
By SilthDraeth on 4/8/2008 10:10:37 AM , Rating: 3
Never mind. I see where Suse is listed.

By StillPimpin on 4/8/2008 12:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
This would be the perfect market for AMD's FUSION processors if they could get them out the door in the next 12 - 16 months. Even at lower speeds they would still crush anything that ATOM has to offer, especially with their on-chip graphics processor.

This could be the most perfect applicatin for such a chip, if only AMD could get one launched

RE: Fusion
By nukunukoo on 4/13/2008 3:40:19 AM , Rating: 2
Isaiah and NVidia's DX10/Bluray chipset will be launched sooner and most likely at the next 2133 refresh

Not bad,
By waltzendless on 4/8/08, Rating: 0
RE: Not bad,
By Lonyo on 4/8/2008 6:56:43 AM , Rating: 1
Intel show the Atom playing UT2004.
Centaur show the Isaiah playing Crysis.

It's a shame HP couldn't hold off until the Isaiah was available for widespread use.

RE: Not bad,
By ajfink on 4/8/2008 12:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
Isaiah will probably be an option in the coming months. I still want to know what the damn thing is going to be named in the market (I'm with [H], naming like C7 doesn't cut it).

Why can't I get it with......
By Dianoda on 4/8/2008 11:39:28 AM , Rating: 3
Windows XP?

No Intel Atom, No Care
By Chadder007 on 4/8/2008 9:59:42 AM , Rating: 2
This is a Major Dissapointment. :(

The big frame around the LCD
By laok on 4/8/2008 11:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
I think it is ugly, as the current EEE pc

By crystal clear on 4/8/2008 3:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yes indeed HP has put out some trash.

With HP the top PC and laptop maker, releasing a product for the education market is a strong move, said Richard Shim, a research manager with IDC.

"HP has been riding a wave of growth. They're number one in notebooks and number one in PCs," added Shim. "This isn't the type of product that you establish market share with. They're putting a product out there because they don't want to be left on the sidelines if there's tremendous growth in this category. Everybody is hedging their bets by coming out with a product HP is going after a segment they know exists by going after education."

Although Intel just last week unveiled a newly architected, low-power Atom processor line designed for mobile Internet devices, HP didn't pick the chip for use in this small form-factor computer. "It's interesting because of the price it's at, the processor it uses and the form factor it's in," said Shim.

Perfection takes time
By mindless1 on 4/8/2008 7:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
HP: just stay away from Via, they really aren't making anything the 1st world consumers want and they won't be any time soon because Via has this absurd idea we won't notice how econmized their design is. Nobody wants to lay down a few hundred dollars for a system only to have a few dozen dollars savings on a processor, cripple the system.

two main problems i see with this
By doctat on 4/9/2008 3:42:01 AM , Rating: 2
1) not sure what the whole micro notebook rage is. must be similar to what people with toy dogs are into.

i'm sure a handful of people could really use something like this, but i bet a vast majority of people are buying these things because they're 'cute' - and within a few months will be frustrated by the massive limitations imposed on them - dinky screen, crappy processor, -really- crap graphics performance, etc.

you really want to run vista on something this underpowered??

2) i'm not that familiar with how much heat laptops put out (other than the VAIO space heater i use now...), but this thing appears to run hot to me. take a look at the temperature specs here -

for such a small machine, it looks like it would be a pain to use for extended periods of time, given the heat it's cranking out. no doubt that does a number on it's battery life as well.

they mention that the fan runs non-stop in this thing, and it still stays that hot. that's pretty lame if you ask me.

anyway, with the exception of the horrid narration on the accompaning videos, they have a pretty detailed review of this here:

check out the boot time comparison video. running this thing with vista sounds like hanging a 'kick me' sign on your back.

Is this a deal?
By pauldovi on 4/9/2008 9:07:45 AM , Rating: 2
You can get the sub 3lbs Thinkpad X61 with a 12.1" LCD for $900 with a lot more horsepower (Intel T8100, 1GB DDR2, 80GB 5400RPM, ABG wireless, Vista Home, Thinkpad keyboard).

HP is out of order
By bebesito21 on 4/9/2008 2:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
Wikipedia says the C7 processor is an "in order" processor. Thats probably why everything got bogged down even when running a 1+ gig processor. Im glad VIA is getting some action....we need all the competition we can get against Intel, not only for prices but innovation as well.

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