The Bottom Line
- Very Durable Aluminum And Magnesium Design
- Excellent Keyboard
- Faster Hard Drive
- Above Average Price
- Upgrade Features Price It Too Close To Better Performing Ultraportables
- Intel Atom N455 Mobile Processor
- 1GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 250GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 10.1" WSVGA (1024x600) LED Backlit Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA 3150 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 2.0, VGA, SD Card Slot
- 10.3" x 7.1" x .9" @ 2.7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Starter
Guide Review - HP Mini
Feb 14 2011 - HP's Mini 5103 looks pretty much no different externally from the previous Mini 5102 but the model number increase is the result of updated internals. The new motherboard platform uses the Intel Atom processors with DDR3 memory instead of older DDR2. This is nice for improved upgrade potential as DDR2 memory is being produced less. In terms of the processor, most models feature the Atom N455 single core processor that results in very similar performance to the previous Atom N450. There is an optional Atom N550 dual core processor model available but for most applications the 1GB memory will negate any real performance gains making the upgrade not really worth the extra hundred collar cost.
Storage has been improved in the new Mini 5103 from the past versions. Much of this is thanks to the Windows 7 licensing that allows for up to 250GB hard drives. In addition to the larger hard drive, it also spins at a faster 7200rpm desktop class rate compared to most netbooks that use the 5400rpm rate. This makes data access and booting a bit snappier. Media card support is a bit more limited to just standard SD flash cards.
The display and graphics remain unchanged from the previous Mini 5102. It keeps the 10.1-inch display with the average 1024x600 resolution. It is possible to get a custom built models that include a higher 1366x768 resolution or a standard resolution with multitouch capabilities. Each of the options does include an anti-glare coating that helps reduce reflections and glare making it easier to use in tough lighting conditions such as outdoors. The graphics remain the Intel GMA 3150 that lack performance for even standard 720p high definition video streaming. But then most business users won't really need this function.
One nice change for the HP Mini 5103 from the 5102 is the battery. Previously, the least expensive model came with a four cell battery pack which now is a six cell. It does add some to the bulk and weight but also adds extra running time. In video streaming tests, the larger battery pack was able to run for just under six and a half hours before going into standby mode. This is roughly two hours longer than the four cell pack of the predecessor and pretty typical of most six cell netbooks. It isn't as long as some class leading units but plenty for most users.
With the exterior design remaining the same from the Mini 5102 to the 5103, it retains the excellent keyboard design that is one of the best available. It is extremely comfortable and accurate thanks to the isolated key design that also includes a DuraKey coating. The trackpad is a bit smaller than competing corporate classed netbooks but it does a good job and the individual right and left buttons is definitely better than the rocker bar used on many netbooks and laptops now.