HP Mini 5101 Business Netbook Hands-On (videos)

HP introduced the Mini 5101, the company’s latest professional-grade netbook. The Mini 5101 is a slick looking netbook that is designed to stand up to the rigors of life in the corporate world. While the Mini 2140 was a refresh of the Mini 2133, the Mini 5101 is a completely new design. I really like the Mini 2140, but the Mini 5101 has some clear advantages over previous models.

I got a chance to check out the Mini 5101 last week and think it looks and feels great. It’s designed for business users, but I think it will appeal to those who complain that netbooks are too toy-like.

The Mini 5101 starts at $449 and will be available in late July. You can certainly find more affordable netbooks, but businesses will likely be willing to pay a premium for the Mini 5101’s durability and professional features.

The Mini 5101 runs on a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor (N280), a speedy 160GB 7200RPM hard drive and 1GB of RAM. It can be ordered with a 250GB or 320GB 7200RPM hard drive. Those looking for even more stability can opt for an 80GB or 120GB SSD. The 10″ display has a resolution of 1024×600 pixels. For about $25 users can upgrade to a high-resolution (1366×768) display. Bluetooth and Gobi are optional.

The keyboard is larger than previous HP Mini netbooks (95% vs. 92% full-size) and has spaces between keys for a more comfortable layout. The mouse buttons have been relocated from the sides of the touchpad to below it, right where most users expect them to be. It was easy for many users to adapt to the oddly placed buttons on the Mini 2140, but it was a deal-breaker for others.

The 5101 comes standard with 4-cell battery that fits flush. The optional six-cell battery is rated to last for up to eight hours.

The Mini 5101 is rock solid and feels like a true business notebook. It weighs in at 2.6 pounds and has a rubberized finish that makes it easy to carry around.

Its spill-resistant keyboard has HP DuraKeys, which means they’re 50 times more durable than standard keys. The metallic finishes are much more durable than the plastic finishes found on most other netbooks.

The Mini 5101 will ship with synchronization software that will allow users to sync files and folders with notebook and desktop PCs.

Due to software licensing issues, manufacturers can only install 1GB of memory in Windows XP netbooks. HP’s made it incredibly easy for users to upgrade to 2GB of memory. No tools are required and you can perform the upgrarde in less than 15 seconds.

HP will offer a matching external DVD burner and a cylindrical USB docking station. mini_51012

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