Netbook Review: HP Mini 5101, Business or Fun: Page 2

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Software and Hardware Extras

The Mini 5101 runs Microsoft Windows XP, and HP has also preloaded the Mini 5101 with a useful selection of software. Most notable is the Corel Home Office productivity suite. Home Office includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications, with a look and feel similar to Microsoft Office 2007.

More importantly, the Home Office apps can open and save-to Office 2007 files (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx), as well as older Microsoft Office formats and a range of other formats such as PDF. For working directly with PDFs, HP also bundles PDF Complete. You also get the HP Disk Sanitizer utility, which permanently destroys data on your hard drive when it’s time to retire the system.

Port selection on the Mini 5101 is typical for a netbook: three USB ports, VGA out for connecting to an external monitor or projector, and an SD/MMC memory card slot. As with other netbooks, you won’t find a PC Card or ExpressCard expansion slot; if your mobile work relies on such a peripheral, you’ll need to step up to a full-fledged laptop. The Mini 5101 does include a built-in Webcam for videoconferencing, video chat and so on. We found the camera delivered good image quality in bright light, with accurate colors; under dim light, the camera still managed to deliver a surprisingly usable image. 

Prices for the Mini 5101 start at a reasonable $399. All models are powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 processor and either 1GB or 2GB of RAM, depending on the configuration you choose. The standard hard drive is 160GB, though a 320GB drive is also available. You can also opt for either a 4-cell or 6-cell battery. HP claims the latter is good for up to nine hours of use between charges, and all models support HP Fast Charge, which recharges the primary battery up to 90 percent in just 90 minutes.

As with all netbooks to date, the Mini 5101 does not include a built-in CD/DVD drive, though HP offers a USB-powered external portable drive for $149.99. Other accessories available for the Mini 5101 include a port replicator ($69), a USB docking station ($139), USB-powered portable speakers ($39.99), a 250GB USB-powered external hard drive ($99.99), and a wireless travel mouse ($39.99). HP backs the machine with a one-year warranty.

As with other netbooks, the HP Mini 5101 won’t replace your primary PC. It doesn’t have the power for heavy lifting like image- or video-editing. But if you need a take-anywhere Web/e-mail companion that can also be used for light office duty and presentations, the Mini 5101 has all the power and features you’ll need along with a design appropriate for business.

Article courtesy of Small Business Computing.


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