Netbooks are, ironically, becoming quite big business. I say ironically because, just in case you aren't up to scratch on your gee-whiz tech jargon, the netbook is a new category of notebook that sits below traditionally-sized notebooks when it comes to size, weight and price.
These little laptops are worth such big bucks right now thanks mainly to the success of Asus' Eee PC range of sub-notebooks, which really hit the market hard and showed everyone that there was a new audience out there. The problem has been though that it is really hard to design a good sub-notebook – even the Eee PC didn't get it quite right and had a fair share of failings (the infinite 'Pending' network bug, anyone?)
It should be easy to make a netbook; just take a low-end laptop, make it smaller and take out all the faff you don't need on-the-go; CD drives, SLI arrays, Windows – that sort of stuff. That’s it, you’re done! Simple as it sounds though, nobody has quite got it perfect just yet and though the Eee PC is the best we've got, it's still got a handful of problems.
HP is the latest manufacturer to try and have a go at usurping the Eee PC and is seeking to claim the sub-notebook throne with its latest offering; a Linux-equipped little number that goes by the name of 2133 Mini-note. As a title it admittedly isn't quite as catchy as the Eee, but HP doesn't think that'll hold it back...
It doesn't matter how professional you claim to be (that goes for you too, Richard), or how well-versed in technology you care (Tim) – the initial reaction to the HP 2133 Mini-note is always the same. It goes like this:
The 2133 Mini-note isn't just small – in fact, when shouldered next to the Eee PC it isn't noticeably reduced and measures in at 260 x 160 x 30mm (WxDxH). What makes the 2133 Mini-note so adorable though isn't just the size, but the entire look – it looks like it's trying as hard as it can to be a full size laptop, even despite its size. It’s adorable.
It's weird. We always wondered where new laptops came from, and now we know. When a Desktop PC and a netbook love each other very much they do an extra-special cuddle, exchange watercooling fluids and...voila! A HP 2133 Mini-note is born and, if it's lucky, will grow up to be a testing rig at the bit-tech offices.
There are pros and cons to this weird look though. On the pro side, this is the type of laptop you can confidently get out on the train and feel all business-like with, even if all you're doing is playing Spider Solitaire and reading the bit-tech forums.
On the down side, the odd sense of scale can play tricks with your mind. Spend too long using the 2133 Mini-note and you stand the risk of misjudging your pace as you step off the train. You might fall down the gap at the platform edge and be forced to carve at a meagre existence in the World Beneath The Trains, living on discarded crisps and crushed Chavs.
Then again, at least you'll have your 2133 Mini-note with you so you'll still be able to read the bit-tech forums in your new underworld hovel.
So, the HP 2133 Mini-note is slickly designed – we can't deny that. The black and silver styling is very classy and sharp, though ironically the case is actually made with lots or rounded corners.
The size of the HP 2133 Mini-note means that it's ideally suited to being on the go too – you could easily fit it on one of those little fold-out tables on the train and if you're the type of person who likes to wear baggy jeans then you could probably fit this in your back pocket without much effort, you filthy skater-hippy!
Of course, we wouldn't really recommend shoving the Mini-note in your back pocket, though we have been known to do so with Eee PCs in the past. It might lure you into a false sense of security if you judge it by these pictures – the HP 2133 Mini-note looks strong, but all that's silver isn't steel and the chassis is actually quite ordinary plastic underneath the brushed aluminium outer shell.