HP MiniNote 2133: First Impressions

I started evaluating the HP MiniNote 2133 back in October; here are some notes I made when I first started using it. In summary: the HP MiniNote is an "acceptable" piece of hardware, but not something I'd recommend given the other solutions available.

  • The latchless design is very nice.
  • I'm getting used to the trackpad buttons. Having them on the side actually works very well when holding the laptop with one hand. I'm still not convinced though that they are as good as regular under-the-pad buttons.
  • The screen is too glossy, and hard to read in bright light.
  • I never thought that an SD card reader was a useful addition, but after using it I'm surprised it's not included in every laptop.
  • The CPU is painfully slow!
  • The extended battery makes it hard to see the screen on many surfaces.

And some notes about Ubuntu 8.04, which probably applies to all Netbooks:

  • XFCE by default won't show useful mobile applets like a battery indicator.
  • KDE 4.1 has some serious issues with the graphics hardware. Graphics corruption is common after wake, and KDM usually won't come back up after logging out. I believe all of the issues are related to the Via Chrome driver, as it showed dumps in the dmesg logs. It's too bad; KDE 4 was very attractive and looked to perform rather well.
  • The full-screen modes in both OpenOffice and Firefox are very useful.
  • Some applications (VPN Connection, Kontact) don't fit in the 1024x600 resolution, with the dialog buttons often going below the screen.
  • CPU speed is still an issue. Scrolling a page in Firefox is often laggy.

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