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HP uncovers the 2133 Mini-Note PC

Nine-inch NetBook-style laptop now on sale.

Surprising virtually no one, Hewlett-Packard has finally officially announced its new low-cost, low-power NetBook-style mini-laptop, called the 2133 Mini-Note PC. Of course, we've been following every detail of this system for months, including the presumed launch date, but they're finally officially on sale starting today, from $499-$749.

We've had a chance to play around with an early test unit for about a week now, and so far we like it a lot. Like the Asus Eee PC or Intel Classmate, the 2133 Mini-Note is a smaller-than-ultraportable laptop that trades high-powered specs for portability and price. The HP 2133 keeps the compromises to a minimum, however, with a decent 1,024x768 resolution on its 9-inch screen, and options for 2GB of RAM and even a 7,200rpm hard drive. Its best asset is a unique keyboard, which manages to cram in nearly full-size keys, as opposed to the tiny, hard-to-use keys found on other small laptops.

Our main sticking point was the pokey VIA processor (although VIA's integrated Chrome 9 graphics runs the Vista's graphical interface smoothly), especially with Intel's new Atomultramobile chips around the corner, and skimpy battery life with the default three-cell battery (you can also get a larger battery, but it's so big as to defeat the purpose of having tiny laptop like this).

The upshot on NetBook-style laptops like this is that they're best for basic tasks, such as Web surfing and working on office documents--but that's 90 percent of what we spend our time doing on laptops anyway.

Check out our full review and video of the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC for a more in-depth look.