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HP Mini 2140 Review, Editor’s Choice Award

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The Mini 2140 is clearly tailored to suit the needs of business users. We’ve awarded the Mini 2140 a Notebooks.com Editor’s Choice award for its outstanding build quality, customization options and long battery life. In a sea of netbooks, the Mini 2140 stands out as the only real business machine.

I used an HP Mini 2140 for about two months and was extremely impressed with it. It’s highly configurable for and makes a great secondary computer for mobile professionals on the go.

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HP Mini 2140 Specifications

If you’re looking for a bargain-basement machine this definitely isn’t it. Many netbooks cannot be customized, but there are plenty of ways to outfit your Mini 2140.

The base Mini 2140 costs $449 and comes with an Intel Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 160B hard drive and VGA web cam. The base model comes with Windows XP home, but you can opt for Windows XP Pro, Vista Business or Ubuntu if you like.

The standard hard drive spins at 5400RPM. Those looking for more speed can opt for a 160GB 7200RPM hard drive or 80GB SSD($375).

Some models can be configured with 2GB of RAM, or you can just do it yourself and save a few bucks.

The Mini 2140 has a 10.1” LED-backlit display on all models. The standard resolution is 1024×576, which may or may not suit your needs. Those who want more pixels can upgrade to a 1366×768 display.

HP Mini 2140 Durability

hp_mini_2140-9The first thing that you’ll notice about the 2140 is that it has a sturdy metal shell to protect it from bumps and scrapes. The brushed aluminum has a premium look and feel that’s unmatched by any other netbook I’ve seen.

If you’re used to using a professional notebook like an HP Elitebook or Dell Latitude, you’ll appreciate the aluminum finish, rigid magnesium chassis and steel hinge.  According to an HP presentation, the Mini 2140′s hinge is rated to last at least 25,000 open/close cycles.

The metallic exterior wears much better than plastic netbooks, which means the Mini 2140 can keep its good looks for years to come. This is especially important in business environments where computers are passed down to new employees.

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The Mini 2140′s exterior is nearly identical to the Mini 2133, which was HP’s first business netbook. I used a 2133 for several months and can attest to its durability after dropping a heavy 15” notebook (corner first) directly onto the 2133′s lid. I thought the display would be cracked for sure, but it left just a small dent in the aluminum shell.

The Mini 2140′s keyboard has HP’s DuraKeys, which have a special coating that resists wear. The keyboard is spill-resistant, which keeps its innards protected from minor spills.

The final layer of protection is HP 3D DriveGuard, which utilizes an accelerometer to protect its hard drive from sudden shock and movement.

HP Mini 2140 Battery Life

hp_mini_2140-2The HP Mini 2140 can be configured with a three-cell battery, a six-cell battery or both. The unit I received came with both and I was pleasantly surprised by how long the 2140 could run on a single charge.

The three-cell battery fits flush, while the six-cell battery raises the rear of the Mini-2140  and adds some bulk.

I took the Mini 2140 on a trip to New York to see how I liked using it on a cross-country flight and wrote most of this review from the comfort of seat 18B on a United Airlines flight from SFO.

Just after take off I turned on the Mini 2140, dimmed the screen, launched Microsoft Word and turned off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. I wrote and edited several documents continuously, except for about a 30-minute break to eat a snack and play Fieldrunners on my iPhone. The battery was drained after 3:51 minutes of continuous usage according to Battery Bar. This was pretty darn close to the four-hour maximum that HP advertises.

I used the Mini 2140 and its six-cell battery for a day of meetings around Times Square. I used my Compass 597 instead of Wi-Fi. The bigger battery was bulkier, but I sure liked that the battery still had a  23% charge at the end of the day. I went back to my hotel and left the Mini 2140 unplugged while I blogged and caught up on email. When it was all said and done the six-cell battery lasted for 7:22 on a single charge.

HP Mini 2140 Dimensions

The HP Mini 2140 is just 1.05” thick and weighs 2.62 pounds with the three-cell battery. It measures 10.3” long and 6.5” wide.  It’s slightly heavier and thicker than my HP Mini 1000, but it’s still small enough to shove in my fleece’s inner pocket.hp_mini_2140-1

The added thickness allows for several ports and components that aren’t found on the Mini 1000, including an ExpressCard slot, VGA port and microphone jack.

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HP Mini 2140 Performance

The Mini 2140 takes about a minute to boot up and can run office applications, FireFox and Internet Explorer just fine.

I watched several movies on the Mini 2140 via Netflix’s streaming service full screen on an external monitor while browsing the web on the Mini 2140′s display.

I brought the Mini 2140 on a weekend trip to wine country. It functioned just fine and I was able to review a couple of PowerPoint presentations with my friends (all geeks), edit a few photos and learn about the winery we were going to visit.

Things aren’t as snappy on the Mini 2140 compared to my full-sized notebooks, but it’s the right tool for the job for a quick trip or if you’re certain you won’t be doing any heavy lifting.

Conclusion

The Mini 2140′s keyboard is 92% of the size of a full-sized keyboard. Like the Mini 2133 and Mini 1000, the 2140 has an outstanding keyboard as far as netbooks go.  I can type on it for hours at a relatively fast clip, but nothing compares to a full-sized keyboard.

As a Mini 1000 user, I was comfortable with the 2140′s touchpad from day one, but having the mouse buttons to the left and right of the touchpad can be annoying for some users. It would be great if HP could incorporate a touchstick in its next business netbook.

Like most netbooks, the Mini 2140 has a glossy display. I strongly prefer matte displays and wish the Mini 2140 could be configured with one.

It is more expensive than many other netbooks, but I think the Mini 2140 is a wise investment.

3 Comments

  1. Netbook Newsroom

    May 24, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    From what I’ve seen this is the best contender for an enterprise class business netbook – really impressive! Unfortunately I think the price tag (at least in the UK) will instantly exclude it from a lot of consumer shopping lists…

  2. Netbook Newsroom

    May 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    From what I’ve seen this is the best contender for an enterprise class business netbook – really impressive! Unfortunately I think the price tag (at least in the UK) will instantly exclude it from a lot of consumer shopping lists…

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