hp mini 5101-2HP is launching a new business class netbook that will eventually replace the HP Mini 2140. The new HP Mini 5101 should be available in late July with a base price of $449. I got to spend a few minutes with the new model recently, and it has a few features that really set it apart from the crowd.

As you can see from the images, the HP Mini 5101 features a completely new look. While the HP Mini 2140 and HP 2133 Mini-Note shared a metallic gray brushed aluminum case, the new model is black. It also has a new chiclet-style keyboard which HP says is 95% size (compared with 92% on earlier models), and two buttons below the touchpad, rather than to the left and right sides, which is a welcome improvement.

keyboard 1

The Mini 5101 also has 3 USB ports, including one which is powered, meaning it can provide electricity to certain peripherals, like HP’s optional USB DVD burner. The disc drive will set you back $149, which is a bit pricey for a USB DVD drive. But the fact that it doesn’t need a separate power cord is nice.

While the HP Mini 5101 has the same 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 CPU found in many lower end netbooks, here are a few of the things that make it stand out from the crowd:

  • It will be available with either an 80GB or 128GB solid state disk or a 7200rpm 160GB, 250GB, or 320GB hard drive, while most netbooks come with 5400rpm or 4200rpm hard drives.
  • The netbook features a sturdy brushed metal aluminum lid and a magnesium alloy base.
  • There’s a 2.0MP webcam instead of the 0.3 or 1.3MP cameras found on most netbooks.
  • You’ll have a choice of a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel glossy matte display or a higher resolution 10.1 inch 1366 x 768 pixel display.
  • Like the HP Mini 2140, the Mini 5101 will include an accelerometer which shuts off the hard drive in the event of a fall, a spill-resistant keyboard, and HP’s durakey finish on the keyboard.
  • The netbook includes 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and an optional Gobi EV-DO/HSPA module.
  • The HP Mini 5101 will be available with Windows XP Home, XP Pro, Vista Home Basic, Vista Business, or SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11.

Some of these options won’t come cheap. The HP Mini 2140 offered an 80GB SSD that cost a whopping $575. HP says the prices for SSDs has come down, and the Mini 5101 SSD option won’t cost quite as much. But the SSD option is still a premium feature and ain’t going to be cheap.

Left: HP Mini 5101 / Right: HP Mini 1101
Left: HP Mini 5101 / Right: HP Mini 1101

The higher resolution display, on the other hand, should be available for around $25. Both the standard resolution and higher resolution screen should be available as options at launch.

The netbook is available with up to 2GB of RAM, although the base $449 model which comes with Windows XP Home will only be offered with 1GB. The HP Mini 5101 measures 10.3″ x 7.1″ x .09″ and weighs 2.6 pounds with a 4-cell, 29WHr battery.

A 6-cell, 55WHr battery, which will increase the weight and stick out from the bottom a bit, is also available. HP says the 4 cell battery should be good for about 4.5 hours, while the 6 cell battery should provide about 8 hours of run time.


HP is also offering a few accessories as part of the HP Mini 5101 ecosystem, including a $79 docking station, a $10 slipcase, and the previously mentioned USB DVD drive.

While HP has already pulled the Mini 2140 from some areas of its website, I’m told that the plan is to offer both the Mini 2140 and the 5101 for about 4 months before phasing out the 2140.

And for those of you holding out for the rumored HP Mini 2150 with 3G support, it turns out that’s not going to happen. It turns out that was just a rumor, and HP has no plans to release a 3G enabled version of the Mini 2140. Instead, the HP Mini 5101 is considered the follow-up to the Mini 2140.

You can find more photos of the HP Mini 5101, but I’ve saved one of the coolest feature for last.

You can remove the RAM access panel without a screwdriver. All you have to do is push two switches to pop out the battery, and once the battery is out push them again to pop off the door to the RAM access panel. I’ve never seen a netbook that makes it easier to upgrade or replace the RAM. The HP Mini 5101 supports up to 2GB of RAM.

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38 replies on “First look at the HP Mini 5101 business class netbook”

  1. Bought one a few days a go. What i love:

    Price. The design, brushed aluminum, mmmm 🙂 I like it simple, the machine doesn’t have to look like the Darth Vader’s bathroom. I’m glad that the screen cover is not shiny plastic, it will look horrible in a while and collects dust like crazy. The rubbery coating on the bottom and on the palm rest is very nice. Awesome keyboard. I like the fast memory cover opening but it seems to be quite useless since you probably won’t be changing memory modules all the time on the machine 🙂 Good resolution and matte screen!! Fast n280 atom processor, 7200rpm HDD, integrated bluetooth & wifi.

    What i don’t like:

    The screen bezel is glossy, collects dust and other crap. I guess HP had to put some shine to this thing to make it pop out in the ads 🙂 The trackpad should be matte too…

  2. Id like to know how this compares to the Gigabyte T108X. As thats what im fairly sold on atm.


  3. Compare now to Fujitsu Lifebook T5010 $2100 TABLET PC
    (FPCM1132S) Core 2 Duo T9600 2.8 GHz, 13.3 Active Digitizer
    1280×800 250.0 Gb HDD 4096 Mb RAM DVD-Multiburner Windows Vista Business SP1 802.11a/b/g/n wireless,10/100/1000 Ethernet,
    Bluetooth .
    You’ll be better, faster and more versatile with it than with the hp!!

  4. with all the bells and whistles you’ll spend easy $2000. For this money you get the fujitsu t5010 with 13.3inch active digitizer, 4gb ram, 250gb hdd, core 2 duo t9600 2.8mhz, the new dvd multi burner and the best – a tablet, handwriting, voice recorder, text to speech, all wireless, ethernet and bluetooth.

  5. If they’d take a cue from some of the other manufacturers out there and offer this in the new hot 11.6″ form factor with a HD screen I’d be all over it. Maybe even with one of those new CULV processors (basically an Acer t1810 that’s not an Acer).

    I can live with the new design although I think the 2133 and 2140 were definitely better looking (beautifully understated with the aluminium cases). At least it’s less shiny and plastic looking than anything Asus and Acer put out these days.

  6. this fixes everything i dont like about the 2140, except the wifi card. would have prefered atheros, ralink, or at least intel. and you cant just put your own card in because of the stupid bios whitelist of approved wifi cards.

    darvf, the gma 500 is a worthless pile of silicon poo made by power vr with an intel sticker on it. sure you didnt mean ion?

    switchable graphics (intel / nvidia) would be really cool, wonder how much it would add to bulk or weight.

    1. GMA500 recieved new drivers a while ago which make it good in Vista/Win7, which has been its problem all along – terrible drivers for a decent netbook GPU. It takes less electricity and is more capable than the GMA950, so I’m not sure how GMA950 can be spun as a positive at all, given that it’s 2009.

      Yes, I’d like a GeForce 9400 or a Radeon HD3300 etc in my netbook, but I’ll settle for “better than GMA 950” these days.

  7. I like it, its a 21th century thinkpad
    since i bought my asus eeepc 4g I was in the market for a ultraportable thinkpad, now there it is: a 10 incher, magnesium-aluminum goodness.
    thats thinking outside the box

    1. How is this thinking “outside the box”? The size, shape, specs are now identical to every other netbook. The previous 2140 was more unique.

      1. He’s talking about style (rugged, all about business) and function, not specs. But if he were talking about specs, he’d be referring to the faster hard drive, SSD options, higher res screen and drive parking/software additions. Clearly, this isn’t the cheapest netbook, but it seems to be the nicest so far.

  8. > I’m told that the plan is to offer both the Mini 2140
    > and the 5101 for about 4 months before phasing out the 2140.

    Given that the 2140 has all but disappeared from the HP website and is only available at a few internet retailers (and good luck finding the HD model), how should we interpret this?

  9. The magnesium frame is INSIDE the bottom, which may stiffen the frame, but the bottom is apparently still plastic on the outside.

    It doesn’t have multitouch. Not sure why all laptops don’t come with multitouch now honestly. Especially small ones on netbooks–that special reserved area on the right for scrolling is usually really small and hard to hit. Stupid.

    From all the pictures it seems to be a huge fingerprint magnet.

    I liked the 2140 better. Too bad the 720p option barely shipped before they killed the thing off. Its certainly disappeared from the US website, I can’t find it anywhere.

    Please explain more about the “powered USB port”. All USB ports are powered. I have a portable DVD drive that works by drawing power from its USB port, and it works on all the USB ports I’ve tried it on. How is this different?

    One of those USB ports is clearly a combo USB/eSata which is a nice step forward.

    Its under an inch thick, which is good. The increase in size and the corresponding huge bezel are NOT.

    The gobi WWAN module is nice, but will apparently only ship with 2 year service commitments like other models, meaning its probably not a user-accessible upgrade/PCIe slot.

    The RAM access panel is nice, but seriously how many times am I going to access the panel? And how do I upgrade the hard drive? I see no other access panels on the bottom to get at the hard drive or mini PCIe slots.

    1. Regarding the “powered USB port” explanation: some USB ports are powered enough for something like a flashstick but unable to provide the power for a one-port DVD burner etc. Essentially, these underpowered ports are OK for low-power data transfer but not good for complex standalone USB-powered devices. This is mostly a problem in cheap or simple USB hubs.

      Putting “powered” in the description serves the purpose of “hey man, don’t worry” more than it does “AWESOME NEW FEATURE” in a modern PC – it’s not uncommon or boastworthy, it’s something a few customers would like to confirm.

  10. Does anybody know the GPU in this?

    I’m hoping it’s GMA 500 or better, anything but the standard 950.

  11. PortableMonkey says “Update: The display is matte, yeah! not glossy as I’ve mentioned below.” But you saw it and say glossy? Any idea why he says matte?

      1. See how the screen reflection has a soft focus, while the bezel’s reflection is sharp? Look at any matte monitor you have from an extreme sideways angle – you’ll see reflections with a similar soft focus. I think it really may be matte.

        Check the Engadget Mini 5101 Gallery:

        especially https://www.engadget.com/photos/hp-mini-5101-hands-on-shots/2102711/ which seems to confirm matte, from the glare profile

        and https://www.engadget.com/photos/hp-mini-5101-hands-on-shots/2102716/ which seems to confirm matte, no keyboard reflection from a view which couldn’t avoid that on a shiny screen

        1. A lot of it has to do with the angle of the camera. Honestly, I can’t
          say with 100% confidence that the screen is glossy, but I do remember
          thinking it seemed glossy and that I had trouble finding good angles
          to shoot from that didn’t reflect a lot of glare. But that may have
          been more from the shiny bezel and case than the display.

          I’ll see if I can get a definite answer from HP.

          1. My bad. I checked with HP, and I’ve been informed that the screen is matte and non-reflective. Sorry about the misinformation, but this is one of those cases where I’m glad to have been proven wrong!

          2. But why (#$%!^) is the bezel shiny? What does that have to do with business class and professional usage? Where the f*** those notebook guys take their ideas from? I mean – who’d rather have constant problems looking at the screen? This may be yet another HP netbook that I will specifically NOT BUY… we finally have a decent matte screen… ok, let’s f*** that up with a shiny bezel…

  12. Hm… this doesn’t impress me at all. Definitely not what I expected or hoped for from a successor to the 2140… there’s really no advantage to this design aside from below-pad buttons and a chiclet keyboard.

    I’d been hoping for essentially an upgraded 2140… like, with a better (flush or near flush, not protruding like the old extended) battery and stronger graphics. I definitely didn’t want a complete redesign like this.

    Also, what’s up with only having the lid be brushed aluminum? That’s a definite step down from the 2140’s design. I hope HP wises up and puts out a true 2140 successor once the next generation of Atom processors come out. Preferably with improved video capability and a battery at least on par with the stuff Asus is putting out.

  13. The Screen bezel s big because they fit in a larger keyboard and trackpad. But honestly, I don’t like the design

  14. I liked it until someone mentioned the bezel. I’m still debating on getting a 2133. Though most say those are slow.

  15. Also, it’s grown in size, now as big as a Lenovo S10-2. Was putting the buttons on bottom of trackpad really worth growing the entire netbook? The keyboard is now a chiclet style, which I realize is the current fad started by Apple, but I don’t really care for. Not to mention, nice sharp squared off edges. Oh well, my search for a HD 2140 left in stock continues…

  16. This is a huge disappointment. Not just the Delorean looks… Where’s the higher speed Atom? Where’s the Ion or Crystal graphics accelerator? The battery still sticks out the bottom, rather than back? Most of the listed “features” were already on the 2140.

    Hasn’t HP heard the phrase “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it?” All they had to do is take a 2140 and add the Broadcom Crystal chip and a 3G antenna inside. But I guess that isn’t as fun for development team.

  17. Wow. After offering something as good looking as a 2133 right from the bat, I expected its successors to be at least as sleek. Definitely wasn’t expecting a print magnet with an oversized screen bezel that could very well be the result of a crossing between SpongeBob squarepants and a DeLorean.

    1. wow, I just created an account to make the same comment. Too right, I have been waiting for the 2140 to come out with a high resolution screen and possibly a better graphics card. The oversized bezel is most annoying, as is the glossy screen. I’d rather get a 2140.

    2. Maybe the oversized screen bezel is there to allow for a larger screen?? Maybe 12″ option at some point. “Cross between SpongeBob & a DeLorean” thats really funny.

  18. honestly speaking, i think i like the looks of the 5101 compared to other netbooks… That’s what I call ‘simple’.

  19. Almost exactly what I want, except for the glossy screen thing. That just doesn’t work for a portable computer that is used outdoors. Also, no right Fn key…although I could always hack in my own.

    Get me a matte screen (yeah right! I don’t think HP knows what those are anymore) and I’ll bite.

  20. The keyboard looks fantastic. But it looks like it’s too little too late for such a high price. Sure, the HP brand will help to sell it, but a lower price could go a long way into making it a success.

  21. Very nice looking and well-spec’d. This one’s going to be on a lot of wish lists, especially if the 6 cell battery is not too big and obtrusive.

  22. Is it as fugly in person as it is in those pictures? The 2140 was sexy, this looks like a blast from 1998.

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