I note that Dell has just released its UMPC equivalent, the Dell Mini-9. Of course, when you see a new release in the market you’ve just bought into (clearly, I bought the HP2133 Mini-Note), you get a case of buyer’s remorse.
However, from what I can tell the Dell is smaller and of course this is at the case of a crippled keyboard. When everything I do on the computer – that is serious work, anyway – needs a good keyboard, the keyboard is a deal-breaker for me. I type at about 120wpm, and I find the Mini-note keyboard to be excellent to type on, without the need to cripple the keyboard (no function keys, no F11, F12, etc).
The Mini-Note isn’t perfect, of course, but it’s more than livable with. I also seem to be the only person in the western world so far who is sticking with Vista. It is livable, and most of my needs aren’t high-level.
After three months using it now I’d note the following:
- Machine runs hot. Really hot. Unbelievably hot. Keep the vents ventilated.
- Battery life is abysmal on the three-cell. On high-performance, I doubt that I’m getting an hour out of it. I’ve got my 6-cell battery on order which should keep me on stream for longer and it’s only $A129, so you know, that’s good.
- Screen glare means that working in full sun is off the menu. Shouldn’t do that in Australia anyway.
- Size/form factor is very convenient, and having the disk space is good as well. A 16GB SSD is all very well and good, but if I do want to do some relatively serious work I like to have my library with me. I’d be tied to a portable hdd if I did that, which is inconvenient and quickly removes weight advantages. No problem so far with the HDD over the SSD (famous last words?).
- Keyboard is great, fantastic, what can I say?
- Lots of good ports
- Performance is very adequate, even with Vista (I do have the higher-spec processor and 2GB of RAM – I shudder to think what it would be like on the lower-specification).
- Sound is excellent but of course that chews power
- I have tried to run full-size videos on it from time to time and it does glitch up. But you should keep in mind the purpose of the machine.
It’s very easy to live with. Size and weight are great. I let it roll around in my messenger bag (a very manly handbag) and that doesn’t seem to have scratched it or anything. The shell is nice and durable and doesn’t seem to be fingerprint prone.
I have a full-size laptop for when I want to do a lot of mobile work. But if I’m going to be wandering all over the city for a day with an hour or two in the middle to fill in (I work at clients from time to time, am studying at UQ, and lecturing at QUT), the HP 2133 mini-note is my favourite to whip out and work with. In a pinch I could do full size work with the laptop (but you have to watch backpain! Scourge of the modern world!).
Since I installed Office 2007 (another of Microsoft’s crimes against humanity), I’ve noted that one truly annoying feature of HP’s seem to be the HP Health Check, HP Network Centre, and so on suite of software. By default, they’re set to use the same really useful keyboard shortcuts that Outlook uses. I found myself typing ctl+shift+C and expecting to see a new contact, and getting the HP Health Check.
The trick is to go into the program shortcuts on the start menu and remove the shortcut keys assigned to the program there. Why on earth anyone thought that was a good idea, I don’t know.
Anyway, no real regrets so far. The laptop also seems to be the coffee shop equivalent of a Porsche convertible – it does get admiring glances from waitresses at coffee shops who say how ‘cute’ it is. My only response to that is that it is cute in a Very Manly Way.
This UMPC is dearer but it’s more functional and usable (keyboard for the win!) than certainly the ASUS eee pc and I think than the Dell Mini-9 (haven’t put my hands on one of those yet though). If you need the convenience, want a laptop that doesn’t feel like a toy, and you could work with all day if you really, really had to, the HP2133 Mini-note wins on the points that matter.
Just buy the 6-cell battery and get asbestos underpants.