Differentiating between the model numbers that make up the HP Mini lineup can be tricky, perhaps even more so with the competing Inspiron Mini series from Dell out there. The new HP 5103, however, does have a lot under the lid to make it stand out.
The next iteration of the 5102, this new model is aimed at enterprise users just like its predecessor. In comparison to other netbooks that too often feel cramped, the 5103 has a 10-inch screen and "almost" full-size keyboard (95 percent of full-size), which should make it a fine solution for getting work done on the go. You might want to equip one of the three USB ports with a mouse, though, as the trackpad on this little guy looks a tad small.
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Of course, the 5103's "showroom" feature most likely to wow potential buyers is the capacitive touchscreen. However, it's unlikely that you'll get any real use out of it, especially the virtual keyboard. I mean, why would you reach right past a real keyboard to fumble about with an on-screen one? But in the event that you happen to upset a coffee while reaching, HP has you covered as the proper Durakeys keyboard is spill-resistant.
As for the specs, the Mini 5103 has a few processor options, the most notable being the Intel dual core Atom Processor N550, which should give it some pop. Memory can be either 1 or 2GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, though personally I'd hesitate to operate on a single gig on any Windows 7 system (though perhaps that's a Vista-induced prejudice).
The base model hard drive is 160GB, with an option to push it to 320GB or the pricier 80 and 128GB solid state drives. Graphics are handled by the Intel GMA 3150. There are 4 and 6-cell lithium-ion battery options, though if the 5102 is any indication, either should be more than enough to get you through your work day. The integrated 2MB web-camera will work well for your video chatting needs.
Currently HP has the Mini 5103 available via the company website for US$399, although extra bells and whistles will run the bill up a little more.View gallery - 4 images