In a closed invitation preview, a group of bloggers were given a first-hand view of the HP 2133 Mini Note PC. Weighing no more than 1.3kg, which is probably half the weight of your phone book, and a size smaller than your foolscap pad, this new baby is probably beginning to win hearts over. When I laid hands on it, I was amazed by the sleekness of the notebook. I would have expected some features to be compromised, but I was so wrong.

By now, the HP Mini Note would have been widely reviewed by many bloggers, so I’d just highlight some things that amazed me… that you should also look out for.

The first thing that capture my eyes was how nicely the 8.9" LCD screen was nicely flushed with its awesome speakers. It fitted so nicely that it seems that I will no longer have to worry about dust getting stuck between the LCD screen and the plastic panel. In fact, the LCD is over fitted with a scratch resistant acrylic that will minimize any heartaches with that close brush with my house keys.

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L-R: An overview of the HP Mini Note, The Right Profile of the notebook – here’s where you find one of the USB port as well as other network ports, The Left Profile of the notebook – here’s where you find the audio ports as well as the other USB port, The cover of the notebook – this is fitted with a Garskin, The front of the notebook – the blue light is the slider for power while the orange is the slider for Wifi radio

Still, I think I’d still get a screen protector for it.

The next thing that captured my attention was how feature packed the HP Mini Note is. Given it’s smaller than A4 size, it surprising how they managed to squeeze 9 ports and slots – including 2 USB 2.0 ports and 1 Express Card slot into the machine. The HP Mini Note comes with 2 types of batteries – the 3 cell and 6 cell batteries, with the larger one purportedly to run for 4 hours. While the 3-cell battery lies flushed into the curves of the notebook, the 6-cell version comes with a protruding section that seems to fit nicely to raise the back of the notebook such that the keyboard is comfortably slanted to relief strain on your wrists from typing too long in a cramped and enclosed space.

If you think that a notebook lacking in this size is going to whine, you are so wrong. The 2 speakers aligned by the sides of its crystal clear LCD screen boasts audio of high-fidelity quality for a notebook of its size. Instead of stereo speakers that you have to strain your ears to listen to, it speaks right in front of you, in your face. In fact, given the noisiness of the surroundings of the bloggers’ preview, it’s surprising that I can still hear music playing from it. Imagine what i can do in a quieter environment.

Aesthetically, the HP Mini Note is pleasantly presented in a nice, plain top that gives the sleek and sophisticated feeling. If plain isn’t your cup of tea, HP has tied up with Garskins for customized skins that fit your HP Mini Note snuggly. They come in various designs and styles to fit your personality. Indeed, the HP Mini Note is not just a mobile work station. It’s about defining you.

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L-R: Skin fitted onto the demo HP Mini Note PC, Difference skins from Garskins, Denim Jeans skin!

The power and wifi buttons are conveniently located at the front of the notebook and comes in the form of sliders. A slight push turns on the notebook as well as the Wifi radio. The HP Mini Note also has also moved away from convention by place the left and right mouse buttons on the left and right sides of the mousepad. While it is quite intuitive for me, it might take some getting used to for some people.

For a notebook of such specifications, one would expect to pay close to S$2000 to S$3000 for it. However, it comes at an extremely affordable price of $999 for it’s SuSE linux version and just about S$200 more and above for its Windows Vista cousins. The optional DVD writer comes at about S$400. One would start wondering if it’s competing for the same share of the market as the Asus Eee PC, but given it’s configuration, it really belongs to an entirely different market.

For the features packed into the HP Mini Note, it’s worth that S$999 for the SuSE version. It’s reported to come with 2.5G (GPRS), but this feature wasn’t brought to my attention during the launch. For more information, do drop by at (note that prices are in US dollars).

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