Little PC Gets the Big Stuff Wrong

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Hardware

A small, light laptop makes an excellent second computer -- unless it costs more than your first. Hewlett Packard's $499-and-up 2133 Mini-Note comes from the same basic template as the Eee but falls woefully short in some aspects.

That's a shame, considering the details HP got right with the Mini-Note. Its screen, at 8.9 inches, leaves enough room to read any Web page without scrolling from left to right, and its tightly packed keyboard permits touch-typing, unlike the Eee's dainty keys. (HP's cramped touchpad, however, deserves an F: With mouse buttons on its sides instead of in front of it, you can't drag things with the usual thumb-and-forefinger gesture.)

But HP falls on its face with this machine's software. The company offers a choice of Microsoft's Windows Vista (in Home Basic and Business editions, with an optional "downgrade" to Windows XP) or a version of the open-source Linux operating system, Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10.

None of these choices serves this machine well.