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HP Mini 2140

An update of the pioneering Mini 2133, the 2140 swaps the older model’s underpowered Via C7-M CPU for the ubiquitous Intel Atom N270 running at 1.6GHz, while retaining its predecessor’s overall form factor and excellent keyboard.

In fact, its keyboard really sets the HP Mini 2140 apart from the crowd. At 92 % of full-size, the Mini’s keyboard provides by far one of the best tactile experiences with a netbook. Key spacing is surprisingly generous, with a comfortable layout and good all-around travel. Add to this the full-size Shift and Enter keys, plus HP’s patented Dura Keys finish for resisting wear, and you have a configuration that is comfortable to type on for extended periods .
The Mini 2140 is also one of the sleekest netbooks around. Its modest dimensions — 1.1 by 10.3 by 6.5 inches — make the unit eminently portable. The mini’s metallic finish is cool to the touch and extremely comfortable to carry — major factors in a device that’s designed to be toted around all day.
Unfortunately, the sleek ergonomics don’t extend to the 2140’s track pad, which is far too short for prolonged use. This, coupled with the awkwardly placed, side-mounted buttons, mars what otherwise might be a near-perfect layout of a netbook keyboard deck.
Another potential ergonomic faux pas: the optional six-cell battery, which protrudes from the bottom of the unit. Rolling the extra cells under the 2140 simply ruins the unit’s otherwise elegant visual lines. It also makes removing the 2140 from its companion case or neoprene sleeve an awkward proposition (much wiggling inevitably ensues). On the plus side, the battery bump gives the unit’s keyboard a nice tilt when placed on a desk or table, though the default angle with the more discrete three-cell battery is perfectly adequate.
HP has stocked the unit with all sorts of clever touches, including a USB port with an integrated power extension for driving the optional external DVD/HDD media bay. But of course the real focus of the 2140 is on business users, and in this department the unit doesn’t disappoint. The robust build quality, with steel hinge pins (rated at over 200,000 open/close cycles) and a glossy, edge-to-edge screen cover, add to the 2140’s overall solid feel — and its ability to survive more than a few hard miles. Factor in HP’s Quick Charge, for rapidly recharging the battery while on the run; 3D Drive Guard technologies; and a full-sized ExpressCard 54 slot, and the Mini 2140 seems right at home on a corporate RFQ sheet.
One particularly thoughtful feature is the track pad disable button. A quick press and this centrally located button (placed just below the space bar) lights up red to indicate that the 2140’s track pad is inactive, allowing to touch-type without fear of accidentally brushing the cursor halfway across the screen or injecting some random click event into the typing stream — always a problem with devices this small.
In terms of performance, the Intel GMA 950-equipped Mini 2140 delivered OfficeBench times on par with similarly configured netbooks. HP’s new HD display option, which swaps the much-maligned 1,024-by-576-pixel LCD panel of the first-generation 2140 for a higher-resolution, 1,366-by-768-pixel screen, makes viewing large spreadsheets or navigating long Web pages a much more pleasant experience, but comes at a slight cost in terms of readability; the panel’s size hasn’t changed, but more data is squeezed onto it. Battery life was uniformly excellent, with the three-cell (28 watt) unit delivering just over three hours of continuous use during OfficeBench battery rundown testing. The six-cell (55 watt) unit yielded nearly 6.5 hours of use under the same test.
Overall, the HP Mini 2140 is the quintessential business-class netbook and the clear leader of this emerging market segment. A slightly taller track pad and a better-integrated six-cell battery are the only things left on this reviewer’s wish list for the 2140’s successor.

The HP Mini 2140 is the company’s flagship offering in the business netbook segment

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