The HP Mini 5102 is the latest business-oriented laptop from Hewlett Packard. It has some killer features including a 7200RPM hard drive, an accelerometer to shut down the hard drive in the event of a fall, a 2MB webcam, and a choice of options including a touchscreen, an attached handle, HD display, extra RAM, or alternate operating systems.

When HP first introduced the Mini 5102, the company promised that it would have a starting price of $399. But when it first showed up on the HP web site this week, the lowest price was $749. So what gives?

Long story short, the Mini 5102 is sold through HP’s business division. That means that generally you get a handful of “Smart Buy” configurations at low prices. And while the lowest price available today is $599, that’s about to change. I just got a note from HP letting me know that starting February 1st, there would be three new Smart Buy options, priced at $399, $525, and $649 respectively.

The $399 model will get you a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display. 1G of RAM, 160GB, 00RPM hard drive, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, a 4 cell, 29Whr battery and Windows 7 Starter Edition.

For $525 you’re upgraded to 2GB of RAM and a choice of Windows 7 Professional or Windows XP Professional.

The $649 model will pack a 6 cell, 66Whr battery, 2GB of RAM, Windows 7 or XP Pro, and a Gobi mobile broadband module.

If you want to pick and choose from the less common options such as the HD display, touchscreen, or handle, you’re probably not going to find a Smart Buy option. That means you’ll either have to configure your laptop for a premium price at HP.com or contact the sales folks at HP Business to see if you can work out a deal on pricing.

While it’s a shame that the base model comes with a 4 cell battery, $399 is a pretty reasonable price. Sure, it’s more expensive than a number of other mini-laptops with Atom N450 processors. But most of those models lack the magnesium alloy case, 7200RPM hard drive, and other features that make the Mini 5102 stand out.



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17 replies on “HP Mini 5102 to hit the magical $399 price point next week”

  1. The metal casing is something which netbooks haven’t seen since the Asus 1002HA. It’s a great upgrade for people looking for a more professional touch.

    It’s a shame that HP is pricing this so inappropriately.

    For $399 you can get an HP Mini 311 which is a more useful all around netbook and with only a 4 cell battery in the 5102 the battery life is going to be the same.

  2. I’m imagining some nerds (myself included) doing group buys in the style of Steam discounts: orders of ten units with HD/touchscreen/handle/SSD to reap a discount, followed by shipping them to each other because HP sucks at serving enthusiasts.

    Based on how quickly custom options jacked up the price on the 5101, this is the only way consumers will get what they want from this :'(

  3. $399 sounds reasonable, but then you read the specs – only 4 cell battery? No, thanks, this is useless.
    And then no HD display? Why would I pay $649 for a lousy 1024×600? Bad, HP, bad.

    1. Well I believe with the N450 processor this should get at least 6 hours with the 4 cell battery which is not that bad. So I can see me picking this one great buy in my opinion.

  4. A couple of updates and corrections. The 5102 does not come with the 7200 RPM 160gb drive standard (you get a 5400), but it is an option. What completely baffles me is why HP keeps making up smartbuy skus for the 5102 that is contrary to why someone would even buy a 5102. You don’t leap to a 5102 because you want cheap!

    HD screen, Accelerator Card (or 3g), Win 7 Pro, the carry handle, 80gb SSD, 6 cell battery, 2gb ram, bluetooth. Pretty straightforward really. We want that set up for about $600.

    But did HP make such a smartbuy? Nope. That config is over $1000 today. The smartbuys are all neutered versions and all have the non-HD screen. HP is selling 5101s for less than $400 right now that have the same intrinsic properties as the $700 5102, albeit with the n270 chipset. What made HP think we’d want to pay double for a product with the same specs, formfactor and guts as another one of their products? Where is the competitive advantage? The upsell? The value add? HP, are you listening to these threads?

    1. Yes, the 7200rpm HDD does come standard. It may be possible to order the laptop with a 5400rpm HDD because HP does offer a number of configuration options if you’re willing to pay. But there’s not a single smart buy option that doesn’t come with the faster hard drive. This was also true for the HP Mini 5101.

      As for the config you want for $600, that’s just not going to happen. The 80GB SSD alone will run you a couple hundred dollars. This isn’t the same kind of cheap flash memory used in early netbooks. It’s a real SSD with much faster-than-HDD read/write speeds (although I don’t have the exact specs in front of me).

      As far as the HD screen, while it’s definitely popular with readers of this site, I was told by HP that there just isn’t enough demand for it to make it one of the smart buy options.

      A big part of the problem is that the Mini 5102 is sold through the business channel, which doesn’t work the same way as the company’s retail channel. For a retail netbook like the HP Mini 210, you can go to the website and choose from all of the customization options and place your order at the lowest available price. Through the business channel you either order one of a handful of smart buy configurations which are set up the way you like or you pay a premium for a custom job.

      Trust me, I pressed HP on this when I got the chance, letting them know that there’s a lot of interest in the business netbooks like the 5102, but that people get turned off when they have to pay $150 extra for the HD screen which should be just a $35 upgrade. But the unsatisfactory answer is simply that the business and retail channels do things differently.

      1. One main element missing here (at least for me), is the absence of a touch screen “smart buy” option. Since it was one of the main features that set it apart from the 5101 and other netbooks, why aren’t they at least giving it as an option now?

  5. Business Level? You need at least 1366 x 768 resolution as 1024 x 768 is needed to use a projector in business meetings with PowerPoint of OpenOffice.org Impress. AND editing or showing these presentations at 1024 x 600 JUST IS NOT A GOOD PLAN.

    HP needs to settle on 1366 x 768 as the minimum for business use.

  6. I just noticed that HP pulled the 5102 completely off their website. Maybe the new prices will kick in tomorrow?

    I’m also disappointed in the new Smart Buy options mentioned here. Wish they would make the HD screen standard. I was playing around with the configurator the other day and the total came out to over $650. Way too much to spend on a netbook.

    I might have to settle for one of the Smart Buy options. I prefer the design of the 5102 over the 210/2102.

  7. hey, i just bought this pc its amazing and it has a 6 celluls batterie i used it and its awesome

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