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HP Mini 2140: A Nice Netbook With SUSE

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Hardware
SUSE

A year ago, HP jumped into the netbook market. Well, stepped in. Well, put a toe in. But now HP has gotten around to getting specific: The 10.1-inch-screened Mini 2140 is the company's first netbook aimed specifically at mobile professionals.

Externally, this means an aluminum rather than plastic case--plain silver-gray, without the squiggle-and-swirl patterns that decorate HP's (and other vendors') consumer notebooks or the Crayola red, blue, and pink hues available on other netbooks. We find it handsomely understated, or understatedly handsome if you prefer.

There's also some extra engineering done with reliability in mind, led by a technology HP calls 3D DriveGuard--a three-axis accelerometer that senses a sudden drop or shock and instantly parks the hard drive. We've seen this safety feature in HPs, Lenovos, and many other business laptops. It's a pleasure and a plus to see it in a netbook, although you shouldn't mistake any 2.6-pound compact for a truly ruggedized system. Our test unit sailed through a few bumps and fumbles, but we refrained from dropping it more than an inch or two onto a desk.

If you're truly terrified by the prospect of a hard disk crash, you can custom-order a Mini 2140 with an 80GB solid-state drive. However, that no-moving-parts solution costs $575 more than the 160GB, 5,400-rpm Hitachi drive in our model. Actually, our model in its entirety cost $449.

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