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One of our favorite Netbooks gets a sequel: meet the HP Mini 5101

When we heard that HP was making some big changes to its small business Netbook, we were worried.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
Watch this: HP Mini 5101

When we heard that HP was making some big changes to its small business Netbook, we were worried. After all, the current version--the Mini 2140--is probably our all-time favorite Netbook, thanks to an innovative keyboard (since adopted by HP's consumer Netbooks), full ExpressCard slot, and solid metal construction.

This new version, the Mini 5101, is indeed a stylistic departure from the 2140, trading the gently rounded silvery metal look for a sharp-edged black brushed-metal chassis. It's a little bigger than its predecessor, and also a little less expensive, at $425.

But since the start of 2009, we've seen a radical shift in Netbook prices, with entry-level models coming in under $299, for essentially the same combo of an Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, Windows XP, and a 160GB hard drive (in this case, you get the slightly faster N280 version of the Atom).

Still, if you can spend a little more for your Netbook, you'll find that the Mini 5101's keyboard and touchpad are hard to beat, and the rugged metal construction screams quality.

Read the full review of the HP Mini 5101.