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One Mighty Mini

from Technology & Learning

HP Introduces the new Mini-Note, the latest in ultra-mobile computing.

Company: Hewlett-Packard; www.hp.com
Pros: Computing punch in small package
Cons: Tiny keyboard

Priced at just under $500, Hewlett-Packard's new 2.5-pound 2133 Mini-Note PC is certainly lightweight and compact—adults can hold it in one hand much like they would a book or small purse. But our 1st-grade student reviewer still gave it the two-hand clutch. The QWERTY-style keys, at first glance, look oversized, as the keyboard itself is slightly smaller than standard. The touchpad is also smaller, which meant some readjustment for adult finger movement but that wasn't a problem for the student reviewer.

Unlike many of the other education ultra-mobile devices, the Mini-Note comes equipped with features you would expect from a full-fledged notebook: built-in Wi-Fi (Bluetooth optional), a range of internal storage options, and Windows Vista preinstalled. Our student reviewer liked how quickly Flash-laden sites like Noggin.com loaded, something that wouldn't happen if the Mini-Note didn't pack computing punch. Of course, many of the features in the Mini-Note are more appropriate for the higher end of the K-12 market, which is why its clamshell is brushed aluminum and not Day-Glo green or purple. HP also intends to market the Mini-Note to business and mobile professionals.

The device seems ready for the rough-and-tumble handling it will get once in the hands of students. The keyboard sports a clear coating that protects the finish and the printed characters. The display is scratch resistant. Magnesium hinge brackets secure the clamshell design. HP's 3-D DriveGuard protects the inside—it sends a signal to shut down the hard drive upon sudden shock or movement.

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