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Summary:

The FedEx guy showed up today unexpectedly and brought a new little bundle of joy to Mobile Tech Manor. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed evaluating HP’s Mini 5101 netbook, and the Mini 5201 that arrived today is just as nice, plus it has touch.

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The FedEx guy showed up today unexpectedly and brought a new little bundle of joy to Mobile Tech Manor. Last year I thoroughly enjoyed evaluating HP’s Mini 5101 netbook, and the Mini 5201 that arrived today looks just as nice. It is a netbook made of brushed metal, which is unusual for a netbook as most are plastic. The 10.1-inch screen has a surprise in this refreshed model — unlike the previous model this one is a touchscreen.

The HP Mini 5102 is that rare notebook that just feels right. I picked this thing up this morning and got right to work with it. It is the perfect size for a 10-inch netbook, and the island keys on the keyboard are as good as those on any notebook. I took it out of the box, installed the Google Chrome browser on it, and have been using it for work since.

I will be doing a detailed evaluation, along with a video review soon. Meanwhile here are the specs of this model as supplied by HP for evaluation:

  • CPU: Intel Atom N450, 1.66 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Storage: 160 GB, 7,200 rpm
  • Display: 10.1-inch, 1024×600 (a 1366×768 hi-res option is available), single touch-enabled
  • Ports: 3xUSB 2.0, VGA out, audio in, audio out, power, RJ-45, SD/MMC slot
  • Communications: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1
  • Webcam: 2 megapixel
  • OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional 
  • Battery: 6-cell, rated at 10 hours
  • Accessories: Carrying handle
  • Dimensions and weight: 10.3 x 7.09 x 0.98 inches, 2.86 lbs.

The 5102 is much the same as the earlier 5101 model, with the addition of the touchscreen option. This is not a convertible netbook, so without the ability to swivel the screen into a slate configuration the touchscreen may not provide a lot of value for some. I intend to spend a fair bit of time using the touchscreen and will have additional thoughts at that point.

HP has included a unique carrying handle which attaches to the side of the battery on the bottom of the unit. It folds up and forms a prop for the netbook which adds a nice typing angle. The handle swings open for carrying, and it is more useful than I thought it would be.

So far I am impressed with the performance of the 5102. The N450 processor coupled with the high-speed disk drive has things hopping nicely. I’ll be testing this more thoroughly as I spend more time using it. I can already tell that the N450 is going to get good battery life. I have been using this for over three hours and based on that limited usage I think I’ll get a good 8 hours of use per charge.

 

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

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  1. That’s a sweet piece of netbook hardware, especially the red metallic version! Definitely the king of netbooks right now. Too bad they didn’t send you the N470 model with SSD – but then you might not have been willing to return it… ;)

    James, does yours have the Broadcom video accelerator hardware? Would like to see how far that can push things.

    I’ll be eager to see your video on this puppy!

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    1. No accelerator h/w, unfortunately. The SSD version would be nice but this 7,200 rpm drive is flat out good enough. I hope to shoot a video pretty soon.

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  2. Agreed. The handle is a bit awkward, I would have to say.

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    1. The handle actually stays folded under the netbook so well that I’m not even aware of it being there. It is surprisingly handy to grab for easy carrying around, even around the house.

      I love this keyboard (I’m on it right now).

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  3. James

    I have the hp 5101 with HD screen, 3g and 128 gig SSD. I love it and the performance is quite impressive. I highly recommend the 5102 especially with touchscreen, facial recognition log on, and the handle. Can you tell me if the detachable handle on the 5102 is compatible with the 5101 and whether the 5102′s facial recognition software can be utilized on the 5101? Thanks. Now if I could only afford the new hp 2740p life would be sweet.

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    1. I believe the handle should work, but I don’t have a 5101 to make sure.

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  4. Jonathan Cohen Friday, March 12, 2010

    I’m all for touchscreens, but if it’s not convertible, I’m not sure what the point is…

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  5. Curious what the software dock is that you are running at the top of your screen? Add on or something HP included.
    Would love to see a picture of the AC adaptor in the slide show. Ever since the release of the newest Dell mini 10 – which has a pretty small “wall wart” adaptor – its become a minor differentiator for me as I search for the perfect netbook.
    Although I will say, spec’ing this unit out w/ the 2gb and upgraded N470 chip – makes for a very sweet machine at a fairly reasonable price. Now if I could just convince myself I really don’t NEED an iPad….

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    1. The dock is Rocketdock, great free utility:

      http://rocketdock.com/

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  6. The touchscreen isn’t available with the high resolution display. Is there technical reason why this isn’t an available option? I owned the 5101 but dumped it before the CES show hoping the 5102 was a much improved product. When will we see USB 3.0 and bluetooth 3.0 (or 4.0) incorporated in business netbooks?

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  7. We have ordered a bunch of these notebooks for our students next year. I think the total is around 450 netbooks. Our tech office is installing Windows 7 & Office 2007 on them to demo them better. Win XP doesn’t do the touch capabilities justice.

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  8. Would you install Windows 7 Pro to test performance?

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  9. Corey McLaughlin Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    How’s this netbook for watching video’s either Youtube or iTune’s? This is my biggest complaint with all the netbooks I’ve tried.

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  10. lalala[[]][][] Friday, July 16, 2010

    I just got one and I was wondering how do you configure the touch screen?

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