HP is launching its next generation business-class netbook based on the Intel Atom Pine Trail platform today. If the new model looks familiar, that’s because it’s basically a slightly updated version of the HP Mini 5101. Meet the HP Mini 5102.
Here’s a rundown of what makes the new model different from the 5101:
- 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N450 or 1.83GHz Atom N470 processor
- Optional capacitive touchscreen display
- Slightly higher capacity batteries with a choice of a 4 cell, 4.5 hour battery or a 6 cell, 10 hour battery
- Optional handle for use in educational settings
- Facial recognition software for logging in with the webcam
- Optional GPS
- Available in black, red, and blue colors
The touchscreen supports multitouch gestures such as pinching and zooming. These gestures are supported natively under Windows 7 Home Premium. HP is working with a software developer to enable support under other operating systems including Windows 7 Starter Edition and possibly SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 as well. Multitouch gestures will not be supported under Windows XP Home Edition, but HP will make all of these operating systems, plus FreeDOS available as options.
The handle option is non-removable. But it is optional. Basically, if you order the HP Mini 5102 with a handle, you get one. If you don’t, you don’t.
There are two reasons the laptop gets slightly better battery life than its predecessor. First, the Intel Atom N4xx chipset is a little more efficient than the Atom N270/N280 chipset. And second, HP has bumped up the wattage of the batteries. The 6 cell battery, for instance, went from a 59Whr battery to a 66WHr version.
If you choose the touchscreen option, you’ll notice that the netbook is slightly thicker due to the beefier display.
You’ll also be able to configure the netbook with a Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Media Accelerator which can enable 1080p video playback on netbooks with Intel Atom processors. It also supports HD video streaming using Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta. Previously you could only get the Broadcom card on HP’s consumer oriented netbooks.
The HP Mini 5102 will have a starting price of $399, but you’ll pay extra for the touchscreen, handle, 6 cell battery, or a number of other options. I asked an HP rep if the company would be making more low price “smart buy” options available on its web site. The answer was that there might be a few more options, but not a lot.
In other words, if you want to configure options that aren’t available in smart buy configurations, you’ll end up having to spend quite a bit more money since the base price of a configurable netbook is quite a bit higher. The reasons for this are complicated, but it basically boils down to the fact that HP plans to sell this model through its business and education channels, not its consumer channel. That means you can probably get better pricing if you’re ordering in bulk for your school or business, but if you just want a single unit, you can either grab a smart buy option or pay extra to configure your netbook.
SO while the $399 base cost doesn’t completely price this netbook out of the range of consumer oriented machines from HP and its competitors, you could easily end up spending $1000 for a souped up version of this netbook with all the bells and whistles.
The netbook comes in three colors: black, red and blue. You can find the rest of the specs below:
- CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Atom N450
- Display: 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 or 1366 x 768 pixel screen, optional capacitative touchscreen
- OS: Windows 7 options (including Home Premium and Starter Editions), Windows XP Pro or Home, FreeDOS, SUSE Linux
- RAM: 1GB to 2GB
- HDD: 160/250/320GB 7200RPM HDD
- Optional SSD: 80/128GB
- Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G, GPS
- Special features: HP 3D DriveGuard, battery gauge built into the battery, RAM door removable without a screwdriver
- Weight: 2.64 pounds with 4 cell battery
- Colors: Black, Red, Blue
- Price: $399 and up
The touchscreen model will measure 0.98 inches thick at the front, while models without the touchscreen will be 0.91 inches thick. Both will be 10.3″ x 7.09″ wide and long. HP describes the keyboard as a 95% of the size of a full sized keyboard. More pictures below: