HP – Mini 2140 review

well designed 10.1-inch netbook, but it's pricey
Photo of HP – Mini 2140
£361

There was plenty to like about HP’s Mini-Note 2133 netbook, but, as our review back in September last year pointed out, it was ultimately let down by a sluggish processor. Now HP is back with the Mini 2140, and it’s swapped the Via C7-M for a much more netbook-friendly Intel Atom N270 CPU running at 1.6GHz.

Aside from the 10.1-inch screen, you’d be hard pushed to tell the Mini 2140 and the 8.9-inch Mini-Note 2133 apart. And since we were so impressed by the chassis of the Mini-Note 2133, this is no bad thing.

The star of the show is undoubtedly the keyboard: featuring well-sized keys, it’s one of the best netbook keyboards you’re going to find. As with the Mini-Note 2133, though, the ‘1′ and tilde keys are slightly squished. The arrow keys suffer a similar fate, but with a delicate touch they’re perfectly usable.

To maximise the size of the trackpad, the left and right buttons are placed either side of it as opposed to underneath. Purists will turn their noses up at this design, but it’s something you can soon get used to. Some may even prefer it.

The usual array of netbook ports is provided: VGA-out, two USB, audio in/out, Ethernet, SD card reader and 54mm ExpressCard slot. If you’re looking to maximise battery life (or stop a plane from ditching in the sea), Wi-Fi can be turned off using the dedicated switch at the front.

Along with the decent keyboard, another feature that impressed us with the Mini-Note 2133 was the 1280 x 768 resolution of the 8.9-inch display. However, despite fitting a larger 10.1-inch display on the Mini 2140, HP has bizarrely opted to drag the resolution down to 1024 x 576. Rumours are circulating that a higher resolution version will be available soon, but there’s no firm date as to when these will arrive in the UK.

Thanks to the Intel Atom N270 processor, which runs at 1.6GHz, Windows XP Home ticks along nicely. It had no problem multi-tasking and is a definite improvement on the Via C7-M found in the Mini-Note 2133. As is standard with most netbooks, 1GB of DDR2 memory backs the processor up.

802.11n wireless and Bluetooth are both included as standard, while storage is provided in the form of a 160GB hard drive spinning away at 5,400rpm; unlike other netbooks, there’s no SSD option available.

A problem we noticed with the Mini-Note 2133 was that it became uncomfortably hot at the front and on the underside after extended use. Thankfully, HP appears to have sorted this out with the Mini 2140: we used it continuously for a couple of hours and only minimal heat was detected.

Weighing just 1.19kg, you’ll have no problem carrying this netbook around all day. However, with just a three-cell battery as standard, you’ll not want to stray too far from the mains. When we ran the Mini 2140 at full pelt, it managed to keep going for just under two and a half hours. A six-cell battery is available, but will set you back a rather hefty £79.

Company: HP

Contact: 0845 270 4215


Verdict
If there's one thing going against the Mini 2140, it's the price tag that comes with it. Given the specs, we were expecting it to be closer to the £300 mark. We were also left yearning for the high-resolution display of the Mini-Note 2133, and although it boasts one of the best netbook keyboards out there, the three-cell battery means battery life is disappointing. Despite these complaints, this is still a decent, if pricey, netbook.