The HP Mini 5102 is unarguably one of the best mini-laptops around. It has a great keyboard, gets excellent battery life and is incredibly sturdy. Agreed, it is a bit pricier than typical netbooks but it is aimed at businesses that wouldn't probably mind shelling out a few more bucks for a netbook with premium features.
The HP Mini 5102 is basically an updated version of the HP Mini 5101. The new version looks pretty much the same as the previous version, but there are some changes in the specs. While the Mini 5101 has an Intel Atom N280 processor, the Mini 5102 is powered by an Atom N450 Pine Trail processor.
HP Mini 5102 specs
Processor: 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N450 processor
Display: 10.1 inch display with 1024 x 600 or 1366 x 768 pixels, optional capacitative touchscreen
Operating system: Windows 7 options (including Home Premium and Starter Editions), Windows XP Pro or Home, FreeDOS, SUSE Linux
Memory: 1GB (Expandable to 2GB)
Storage: 160/250/320GB 7200RPM HDD, Optional SSD: 80/128GB
The HP Mini 5102 is different from the Mini 5101 in some aspects. For one thing, it is offered with an optional capacitative touchscreen display. It is also offered with higher capacity batteries. The 4 cell battery is expected to provide up to 4.5 hours of uptime. The 6 cell battery will power the laptop for around 10 hours on a charge. Other new features include optional handle which may come handy in educational settings and optional GPS.
The touchscreen recognizes multi-touch gestures such as pinching and zooming. The handle is non-removable, but it is an optional feature which you can choose while ordering the laptop.
The HP Mini 5102 gets slightly better battery life than its predecessor. This is probably due to the improved power efficiency of the Atom N450 processor which is said to consume less power than the Atom N270/N280 processor. HP has also bumped up the wattage of the batteries. The six cell battery offered with the Mini 5102 is rated at 66WHr. The previous model had a 59Whr battery.
Design and Build quality
The HP Mini 5102 is incredibly sturdy for a 10 inch netbook. It weighs around 2.6 pounds with the 6-cell battery and measure just 0.91 inches in thickness. If you buy the netbook with the touchscreen display you may find it a bit thicker. The laptop is available in black, red and blue colors. Design is attractive.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard is nearly full-sized. It is excellent and comfortable to type on. The touchpad is the normal size for a 10 inch netbook. Touchpad sensitivity is good.
Ports and Slots
The HP Mini 5102 has the regular array of ports. The supported connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G and GPS.
Performance is quite satisfactory. The netbook has enough power to handle everyday jobs such as surfing the web and typing documents. What if you want to watch some HD videos and play a few modern games? Well, Atom powered netbooks aren't necessarily good at decoding 1080p HD video. But to solve this problem HP offers the option of configuring the Mini 5102 with a Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Media Accelerator which would enable 1080p video playback. It also supports HD video streaming using Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta. Only HP's consumer oriented netbooks offered the Broadcom card previously.
The HP Mini 5102 has a starting price of $399 which doesn't make it pricier than a typical netbook. But if you need additional options like touch-screen and handle you will have to pay more. In fact a fully-decked up machine may cost as high as $1,000.