Living With The HP Mini 2140

hp-mini-2140-netbookAs I make my way back from SFO for the 8th time in as many weeks I’m given to consider what good company my little netbook has become. It’s been my traveling companion for a relatively short 4 weeks and I’m still coming to graps its utility. It can’t possbly replace my laptop or desktop. After all, I’m in the TV graphics business and there’s just no replacing a high resolution display for some activities.

Yet, here I am on another flight and the little netbook is my solace. Even in a regretably coach class seat I’m able to listen to music, catch up on by backlogged RSS feeds and write blog posts. It’s as close to ideal as I could have hoped for. 

I winced a little earlier this week when I read that Dell was about to start shipping a netbook with a high resolution 10″ LCD. The implication is that HP too will soon start shipping the Mini 2140 with a better display. My 2140’s display is 1024 x 576 pixels, or what they presently call the “SD” display. The newer option is 1366 x 768 pixels, aka the “HD” display.

I ask myself, “Should I have waited another 8 weeks for the better display?” Maybe, but even in its current form the 2140 has been good company…a worthy addition to my traveling menagerie.

hp-mini-2140-netbook1

Tim Higgins was absolutely correct, the keyboard is a joyous thing. I can type almost as well on the 2140 as on the larger 8510. Since I’m not a great typist that might not be so fast in either instance. After all, when I was in high school I had choice; take computer class or typing. I elected to take the computer class, and I don’t regret it one bit…but Mavis Beacon surely laughs at my every approach to the keyboard.

His further assertions about the display I completely understand, but I guess it just doesn’t bother me as much as other people. I just find myself taking best advantage of the available space. I set the task bar to auto-hide, and I use my browser in full-screen mode a lot. As an experiment I’ve also started using Google’s Chrome over Firefox for the moment.

It happen thats I am often tasked with procuring new laptops for Pixel Power Inc in the US. Not that that’s anything related to my job description, rather I have some skills a finding deals and connections at the HP SMB depot located in Houston.

One of my younger co-workers is the beneficiary of this fact, being that he is carrying a new HP8510w.  The difference between the 16-month old HP 8510p model that I carry and his 8510w was lost on me until this week. The w model denotes the “mobile workstation” and indicates a powerful NVidia GPU as well as an obscenely high resolution display. These 40+ year old eyes looked upon a 15″ LCD running at 1920 x 1200 pixels and went WTF! Very small font, very difficult to read…but what a nice display for working Photoshop & After Effects!

It’s simply amazing what kind of hardware one can procure for comparatively modest prices. I recall when any kind of decent laptop was in the $2k+ range. These days we don’t go much beyond $1k5…and we get superb systems. Of course, even the Mini 2140 with it’s little 1024 x 576 pixel display is better than my first laptop, which in 1996 had an 800 x 600 pixel CSTN display. 

That old system weighed about 6 pounds and had a state-of-the-art NiMH battery capable of almost 2 hours of continuous operation! Fast forward to today and MiniMe gets 6 hours on a LiIon battery in a package that weights less than three pounds.

I’m liking the Mini 2140 for now, even with the lesser display.

  • Ray Seals

    Wow, great breakdown of these machines. I’m going to start looking at them. Especially for travel. As a Datacom guy I just need a usb to serial adapter for console cables and the ability to run putty.

  • Your thoughts on the keyboard are very interesting to me. They keyboards on all the netbooks that I have used so far have been nothing short of horrible. This has been one of the main things holding me back from getting a netbook. My interest has been peeked.

  • TJ,

    Check out the netbook related stuff by Tim Higgins at http://www.smallnetbuilder.com. Tim has a very well developed sense of what he likes/dislikes and took a good long while to try various models before making a keep/return decision. He ended up keeping a Dell Mini 12 in the end, but not for the reasons he expected.