HP recently entered the affordable mini-laptop category with its eye-catching 2133 Mini-Note PC. UPDATED: July 29 2008

Small, light and affordable is the name of the game in the flourishing market for mini laptops right now.

But when HP, one of the world's biggest computer makers, entered the fray this year it made its own original statement for the midget laptop - the HP Mini-Note 2133.

Unfortunately, while the HP Mini-Note 2133 is one of the finest of the breed in certain areas, it really misses the mark in others.

Quite unusually HP opted for a VIA processor rather than the usual Intel or AMD offering, in the HP Mini-Note 2133's case a VIA C-7M CPU designed for low-power use rather like the Intel Atom.

This single-core unit, clocked at 1.2GHz, must take most of the blame for the HP Mini-Note 2133's biggest weakness: speed. Not everyone needs a racehorse as a runaround, but the fact is that the Mini-Note is dreadfully underpowered – never more so than if you follow HP's recommendation to use Vista.

Our Vista-burdened HP Mini-Note 2133 came from Research Machines, who also kindly provided the necessary discs to 'upgrade' to Windows XP; or alternatively there's a version with Red Hat Linux preinstalled.

We used the HP Mini-Note 2133 initially with Vista, but soon grew impatient with the time it took to get simple tasks done, or even to open and view Windows' Control Panels.

Our real-world benchmark test also bore out the subjective experience. Scoring just 21 points, we subsequently wiped the disk and installed Windows XP Pro. Now with slightly less bloat and DRM to slow the machine down, the HP Mini-Note 2133 earned a WorldBench 6 score of 25, still pitiful even by the standards of other mini laptops. All the ensuing tests were made using Windows XP.

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