There are netbooks and there are netbooks and the HPdefinitely brings something new to the table when it comes to style and design. The lid is made out of lightweight anodized aluminium while the base of the Mini 5101 is crafted out of magnesium alloy, all of which should make for a very sturdy and light weight netbook. At 1.18kg, the Mini 5101 might not be the lightest 10.1-inch netbook, but it’s not far off.
This alone is of course not enough to make for a great netbook, but HP hasn’t exactly skimped on the rest of the features on the Mini 5101. For starters it has a 95% full-size chiclet keyboard, with soft-touch paint on the palm rest. The touchnow has the buttons at the bottom which is likely to make a lot of potential buyers happy. HP has also fitted its DuraKey keys on the keyboard which has a special coating on them that is said to make them last 50 times longer against wear and tear than regular keyboard keys.
The display will be available with either the standard 1,024×600 resolution, or with 1,366×768 resolution, which yet again should be drawing quite some attention from potential buyers. Still not enough? How about a 7,200rpm hard drive (most likely 160GB or less) or the option for an 80 or 128GB SDD drive? HP hasn’t stopped there though, as you can also get a “Gobi” module which is a combined 3G/WiFi card. Then there’s of course Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, a 2Megapixel webcam and a four or six cell battery (the six cell unit has claimed battery life of 8h).
HP hasn’t specified what CPU or chipset the Mini 5101 will use. It has three USB 2.0 ports, a D-sub connector, an Ethernet port, an SD/MMC card reader and a pair of audio jacks. HP also offers an optional optical drive which seems to be powered by the netbook itself via a small power connector next to the USB port on the right hand side, as well as a strange looking USB port replicator.
The HP Mini 5101 will be available sometime in July with a starting price of $449, which isn’t exactly a bargain basement price and with a few extras this is likely to climb quickly. However, it seems like you’ll get your money’s worth, at least judging by the pictures.