CNET First Look
HP Mini 5103The newest iteration of HP's business Netbook adds some useful optional features including an HD 10-inch screen and a dual-core Atom processor, but it's looking dated next to faster 11.6-inch ultraportables.
-Hi! I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor of CNET.com and this is the HP Mini 5103. It's a business-minded netbook that we have seen in various iterations before. The HP Mini 5102 that we reviewed back in January 2010, we thought was a really great little compact, well-built laptop that was a little bit pricey, but we really thought like selling a little better than a lot of the Atom netbooks out there. Well, now times have changed. There are tons of 11-inch ultraportables like the new Macbook Air that are sleek, faster, and while expensive, aren't too far away from the higher end specs of these types of laptops. Friends, as the HP Mini 5103 starts at 399 for a single core Atom processor in your basic netbook specs, that is not bad. But when you start adding a lot of the bells and whistles on it, our configuration which has a dual core Atom N550 processor and a high res screen and some other features including Bluetooth comes up to $670. Now, that's a lot of money. You get a regular laptop for that amount of money, or if you want to get one of these 11-inch ultra portables like an Acer Timelinex 1830T or the Macbook Air, may be spend a couple of more hundred dollars, especially if you're in small business, you're gonna get a lot better value. On the other hand, the design on this is still really great. It's nice to see that it almost feels more like a fine piece of furniture than a netbook in terms of how smooth its lid opens and closes, its nice textured features on its trackpad. Also, its keyboard is really edge to edge and it feels good underneath your fingers and types well. On the other hand, it performs like the other netbook. Video streaming is a mix bag. If you have Flash 10.1 installed and a right browser opened, it can look very smooth. We also tried Hulu full screen and it was a little bit choppy, but on Youtube and also on Netflix, it looked really nice and smooth, so that's actually a nice feature about this. There aren't many new editions since we reviewed the HP Mini 5102. A dual core Atom is one of them, which provides better multitasking, but pretty much operates at the same speed that you'd expect the netbook to work for single task. There is also an HD resolution display available as an option. 1366 x 768, that is a nice feature on a 10-inch screen. There is also an available option separately to add capacitive multi touch on to the screen. That's a little less useful and also has a little bit of a gloss onto the screen and it makes a bit harder to make out details. It's nice if you're doing Powerpoint presentations on the road, but we'd prefer the HD resolution as a better option. That's not to say there aren't a few knocks on this laptop. Let's face it. At the end of 2010, a trackpad this small is a drawback especially compared to the really nice enlarged Macbook Air 1. There is also no HDMI out, which is a surprising omission, and in addition, the battery life is pretty sub par for a netbook. This one came at under 3 hours. We see a lot of netbooks that are getting 5 to 6 hours at this point. So, overall, it's okay and it definitely feels a little bit executive. On the other hand, there are better options out there if you want to get an ultraportable. I'm Scott Stein, and this is the HP Mini 5103.