HP launches $499 VIA-based laptop

Yet another company has gone after the Asus Eee PC, and this time it happens to be the world’s biggest PC vendor. HP has unveiled its new 2133 Mini-Note PC, a tiny ultra-portable notebook that’s aimed chiefly at the education market and starts at just $499. That’s a little pricier than current Eee PC 700 models, but the 2133 has a larger, 8.9" 1280 x 768 scratch-resistant display and a fancier-looking anodized aluminum shell.

The new HP 2133. Source: HP.

Delving into the HP 2133’s innards, you’ll find a 1GHz VIA C7-M ULV processor, integrated VIA Chrome9 HC graphics, 512MB of DDR2-667 RAM, a 4GB solid-state drive, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, an ExpressCard/54 slot, an integrated VGA camera, and a three-cell battery. HP also allows customers to pony up as much as $849 for other versions of the 2133 that include C7-M CPUs clocked as high as 1.6GHz, up to 2GB of RAM, 120GB or 160GB hard drives, six-cell batteries, and Bluetooth 2.0 support.

HP’s base $499 configuration comes with a copy of Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 distribution, but users opting for the more expensive models can also go with Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Business. The whole package weighs in at just 2.63 lbs (1.19 kg) with the three-cell battery, and it’s just over an inch thick (33 mm).

According to HP’s official press release, the 2133 Mini-Note PC is scheduled to become available "later this month."

Comments closed
    • Firestarter
    • 12 years ago

    This thing looks nice, but I’ve got to say that the EEE PC has a thing going for it by sticking to the Intel platform. Using a VIA graphics card is begging for trouble in my experience.

    • Chrispy_
    • 12 years ago

    This looks better than any effort so far, but it’s still either too big or the screen is too small.

    When will a sub-notebook come with a screen that occupies all the available space, and a build-quality that needs to accompany the “ultraportable” tag?

    There’s no point in anything being ultraportable if it’s also ultrafragile.
    I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll have to wait for that loathesome apple company to copy the eee. I want an underpowered, undersized macbook running windowsxp.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 12 years ago

    Geez, they should’ve at least used via’s Isaiah or an Atom processor. That thing is sluggish, even for everyday tasks.

    • flip-mode
    • 12 years ago

    Screen resolutions are finally getting decent. I’d like to have one of these. I think the price is a little high.

    After thesis is over and done I’d love to sell my full size laptop and get one of these instead.

    • floodo1
    • 12 years ago

    Sweet! Once this platform size gets switched over to Atom (aka decent horsepower) I’m gonna buy one for sure. Here’s my requirements / reasoning.

    I want something with a full size keyboard and a screen with a little bit of resolution. I also want enough processing so that I can watch all my non-hd movies on it. Beyond that I just need it to be durable (so i can throw it in mybackpack and not worry about it), and have good battery life (so i dont have to find an outlet). It needs to do basic software stuff like browse the net, do some calendar action, and word process.

    Aka I just want a small, easily transportable device to do basic on the go type of stuff, that can play videos.

    Oh yeah it needs to be 550 or less 🙁 preferably closer to 400 🙂 I think there’s a LOT of people that would like a device like this. Basically a super-portable laptop that handles the basics.

    • TO11MTM
    • 12 years ago

    I feel like this seems too expensive for the price. It’s not likely to show up on sale because it’s a niche item, and even back in august I found my Girlfriend a laptop with a C1D and DVD Burner for 449, no rebates… upping it to a full GB of ram was only another 50 bucks.

    Yes, I know it’s an ‘ultraportable,’ but I feel like it’s in that bizzare price range where someone spending that much on a laptop will want something better powered… and will thus either buy a ‘full’ laptop or will save up for a better equipped ultraportable.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      You’re looking at this backward. The question is — what can I get that’s well under 3lbs and no bigger than a roughly a couple of CDs? Given that, you have two price ranges: the (well) over $1K and and these EEE-like machines. If you need a full-powered laptop in that small a package, and are willing to pay for it, great. But a lot of people don’t.

      It’s like you’ve got a long alley 4 feet wide and you’re trying to buy a vehicle to drive up and down it. Your choices are a moped and a Ducati. And while you’re looking at the moped you have all these people coming up trying to convince you to buy a Hyundai for the same money. Yeah, it’s more vehicle for the money /[

        • ludi
        • 12 years ago

        The lady protesteth too much, methinks.

        I don’t think people are looking at this from the perspective of “we finally have SFF notebooks at less than $1k.” If you were itching to have something like that, then sure, any of these devices is manna from heaven. Meanwhile, a lot of other people, myself included, are approaching it from the perspective of, “What is larger than a $300 smart phone, smaller than a $500 entry-level laptop, yet it is inexplicably climbing in price to cost more than the latter while doing less than the former?”

        I bought a $350 Asus 4G Surf last month. I like it. I also have an 18-month old $650 HP notebook, which I sometimes use for business travel and thus don’t want to trash the screen connector or battery any sooner than necessary. Hence, I could justfiy the Asus as a travel companion for the 1-3 times during any given week when I just want a mobile Internet device with the possibility of using a word processor for twenty minutes or less. If the choice had been between $500+ devices like what this HP and probably the 8.9″ EeePC will become, I would have said “screw it”, bought a new $200 video card now, and set aside the difference against the accellerated failure of my laptop.

          • UberGerbil
          • 12 years ago

          Like I said in several posts (including the earlier one where I agreed with you), I don’t think this HP hits the mark exactly (except perhaps in overall appearance). But we’ve seen, over and over, people make the same criticism of all of these devices, starting with your 4G surf. “Pfffft, I can get a /[

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            Again, I’m not sure if it actually does miss the point. Observe what he said in his first line: “I feel like this seems to expensive for the price.” He’s looking at a device that falls, in terms of size and performance, smack between a 3G smartphone and a low-end notebook, and then doing exactly what many potential buyers will also do: comparing the trade-offs against the price.

            Without regard to whether this unit in particular is overpriced, IMO that is going to be a problem for the SFF laptop market in general if the vendors (including ASUS…a dual core ULV proc in the 8.9″ EeePC? What the crap?) make the mistake of forgetting why the first-gen EeePCs are selling so well.

            • UberGerbil
            • 12 years ago

            Well, that line didn’t make any sense to me so I just ignored it. Too expensive for the price? Is it too heavy for its weight? Too strong for its strength?

            In terms of bang for the buck, in this particular niche, yeah it seems to miss the mark a bit — the price would certainly be easier to swallow if was using Isaiah, say, or even Atom if that turns out to be a performer (at its pricepoint, anyway). I certainly wouldn’t consider the higher-priced variants. This is probably one of those cases where the big OEM will keep trying to follow the leader until they figure it out — probably in a version or two. The did get the screen and the overall look right, though.

            Nevertheless, it’s still a half or two-thirds of the cost of a comparably-priced “real” sub-notebook (I’m looking at the Fujitsu P series, or the Thinkpad X, and factoring in a 4GB SSD), though they’re quickly going to get themselves into the space of (and clobbered by) things like the Lenovo 3000 V200 if they bloat and price it any higher.

            The market is probably going to settle around a machine of roughly these dimensions, or perhaps a tad smaller, with a full 1280×720 screen for video playback (displacing those “discman” DVD players), increasingly larger SSDs as they fall down the price curve, and probably using Atom processors if Intel sells them as cheaply as they’ve claimed, all in the $300-$600 range that overlaps the top of the smart-phones and the bottom of the “real” notebooks.

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            Yeah, that seems reasonable. I don’t know if they will replace portable DVD players outright, though; seems more likely that if these devices catch on and Flash capacity continues to expand, the optical drive will typically be regularly omitted and the market for downloadable low-end HD content (e.g. Amazon Unbox, iTunes media, etc.) will get a corresponding boost.

            • TO11MTM
            • 12 years ago

            I feel like I was mildly misunderstood…

            You might be right. Maybe people will buy this notebook in (relative) droves. But I don’t see it happening, given I think most people will indeed weigh the tradeoffs.

            I have pondered my original post and perhaps it was a bit harsh. the screen is indeed very nice compared to the EEE… I suppose my largest concern with this notebook is the CPU… That and the Anodized aluminum shell seems like just a way to drive up the cost of a midrange notebook. (Disclaimer: I drive an Ion Sedan, if that shows what I think about looks versus Function versus cost…)

    • Voldenuit
    • 12 years ago

    What’s the battery life like?

    An ultraportable is useless for school if it has to be plugged in all the time.

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 12 years ago

    lol not enough for the $

    • steelcity_ballin
    • 12 years ago

    Save the money and buy a real laptop with a real videocard, ram, etc for another few hundred dollars. The limited power and nil hard drive space are huge turn offs for me. $500 for a very limited machine for $700+ dollars for a LOT more?

      • LoneWolf15
      • 12 years ago

      Not everyone wants what you want.

      Too many people here are failing to understand what this product is. Like the eeePC, this isn’t meant to replace a full-fledged laptop. Rather, it’s meant to fit another niche entirely, the niche of ultraportable, lightweight communications device, web browser, basic word processor, etc.

      For people that want more, e.g., running Photoshop or video editing apps, then yes, this is the wrong machine. But the people that want this device don’t want the power you want –they want the portability. You’re expecting everyone to want what you want, which isn’t the case, and then expecting them to fill an entirely different niche than yours with the wrong product.

        • UberGerbil
        • 12 years ago

        Exactly, I want one of these /[

          • willyolio
          • 12 years ago

          yeah, i would consider this to compete with the iphone more than real laptops. i would definitely prefer this- small enough to fit in a random backpack pocket, but large enough for an actual keyboard and readable screen.

        • steelcity_ballin
        • 12 years ago

        We’re talking 500+ tax for a device that can check email, suf the net, and word process then? Sorry, no one needs that. Put a crank on it and drop it 400 dollars.

          • echo_seven
          • 12 years ago

          A couple more (that iPhone can’t do):

          -Bittorrent gopher
          -Powerpoint presentation driver (via VGA port)

          • UberGerbil
          • 12 years ago

          I want that. I may not need it, but I want it. Heretofore sub-notebooks in that size/weight range were well over $1K.

          (I probably don’t want this particular offering; I like the looks, but I don’t like the guts. Nevertheless, the niche is a valid one. Just not for you, evidently).

          • d0g_p00p
          • 12 years ago

          Sounds like the iPhone

            • indeego
            • 12 years ago

            Except that is over $1800 after 2 years contractg{<.<}g

            • d0g_p00p
            • 12 years ago

            Very true, plus the same people who shelled out that type of cash for a Apple branded cell phone will do the same thing again. Steve J will unveil the next “insanely great” product, the iPhone 3G. The same user base will spend even more money for the same product with a slight change, just as Apple will hope they do.

            I got to admit. Steve Jobs is a brilliant business man.

      • indeego
      • 12 years ago

      Company I work for go for the previous generation of ultraports and we’re happy. 3-4 pounds, can do everything with a good full sized kb. built in optical dvd, very low power CPU. 5-10 hour battery life. Before core2 you would really suffer on performance with anything this small and light.

      Can’t wait for SSD’s to get more mature, we will get those also.

      These ultraports fill a niche that isn’t quite appropriate for our needs, but I can def see where people would useg{<.<}g

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      the 1.2GHz C7s can run fanless, actually!

    • d0g_p00p
    • 12 years ago

    Man I have been waiting for this to come out to replace my EeePC. However with the specs being way underpowered I think I’ll have to pass.

    • donkeycrock
    • 12 years ago

    i just got a new laptop by everex, it has a 15 widescreen, 1.5 GHZ via cm-7, 512 ram 60 gig hdd. 349. way better deal. the thing is great with xp, down clocks to 400 mhz when using minimal processes. The only bad thing is the 3 cell battery last 90 mins. and it has a dvd player and cd rw.

      • mongoosesRawesome
      • 12 years ago

      so what you mean to say is your laptop is nothing like what’s being offered here.

        • ludi
        • 12 years ago

        His point is that a laptop equal or superior in almost every specification costs less than this.

        Personally, I’m not fond of where these EeePC competitors are going, myself. The chief virtue of the EeePC is that it is lightweight and tiny, and that’s worth paying for. These competing models which are arriving on the market slightly larger, slightly better, and more expensive than similarly-equipped entry level notebooks are, IMO, at risk of missing the point.

          • eitje
          • 12 years ago

          what about the size specification? is it equal or superior for someone looking to get a small form screen?

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            I didn’t say this particular model was bad. I think it looks pretty good, personally. But the price tag is quickly heading in the wrong direction relative to what you get.

            • ozy666
            • 12 years ago

            Then perhaps you can point me to a better <$500 sub-notebook, ~2lbs. with a decent screen resolution…

            Sure, when the larger screen Eee’s come out, they might provide a better value, but right now I don’t know of any superior machine given the above constraints.

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            Unfortunately, that’s an obvious setup. You’ve written the criteria so that it exactly accommodates this unit, instead of looking into the marketspace these units are intended to serve.

            My point was, if you want to pay regular laptop money for a full-featured laptop, there are much better options with full-size screens and keyboards. If you want a sub-notebook and can accept the trade-offs that it carries (small screens, small keyboards, limited storage capacity), there are cheaper options. This unit here, though quite nice, is on the hairy edge of feature bloat and the price shows it — especially considering that it’s using VIA hardware across the board and only has a 4GB drive.

            • ozy666
            • 12 years ago

            Actually, no I wrote the criteria for a very portable laptop that _I_ would like to own…it just so happens to fit this particular model very well.

            And that’s the whole point, this model fills a niche that other larger laptops (too heavy) and other small laptops (poor resolution) just don’t currently hit. Heck, just go back to when the original Eee was released and count how many people said that it would be awesome with a tad more screen space and a bit high resolution…I was one of those people. As I said, the upcoming Eee 900 may be a strong competitor.

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            Then by all means, buy one. I do think you’re paying about $100 too much, however.

            • UberGerbil
            • 12 years ago

            I agree that there’s a spectrum here, and this HP pretty much defines the high end of the sweet spot on weight/size/price and the original EEE lies at or near the low end. More than that, and you might as well get a “real” laptop; less than that, and you’re looking at smart phones.

            There certainly is a risk, as you (I think) pointed out in earlier comments, that these things will bloat up like “compact” cars until they’re no longer in the segment they’re supposed to be in. More isn’t always more; more can be less if it means the result is too big and fat and expensive to remain in its original niche. This HP isn’t there, but it’s within spitting distance and pointing in that direction.

            That said, it’s certainly the most attractive /[

    • marvelous
    • 12 years ago

    It’s too underpowered.

      • UberGerbil
      • 12 years ago

      Then you’re using it for the wrong things.

    • bthylafh
    • 12 years ago

    The 1 GHz Via chip might be able to keep up with a 600-some MHz Celeron-M. I wonder how a full-on Linux distro will work versus the Eee’s customized version.

      • gtoulouzas
      • 12 years ago

      No it can’t. NotebookReview’s benchmarks of the laptop in question show even the 1.6Ghz Via model lagging behind Eee’s pudgy Celeron which runs at 630Mhz. Via continues to churn out Cyrix-worthy pieces of merde, as usual.

      Too bad for HP. With only a semi-decent CPU, this would have been an extremely enticing proposition. As is, I’m not touching it with a barge pole.

        • Rza79
        • 12 years ago

        Well you’re talking about the PCMark05 results which include CPU, RAM, GPU & HDD tests. Not only the cpu.

        BTW, this review has a funny conclusion:
        /[

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    That looks kickass. Best of the cheap mini books I’ve seen by far.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    The Chrome9 ? That’s a “super” gaming video card!

      • DASQ
      • 12 years ago

      Maybe when it can display screensavers without the drivers crashing, will I consider it even an acceptable integrated card.

      • Hattig
      • 12 years ago

      Damn right! I don’t think that anything can compete with a 3DMark06 score of 93 (yes, ninety three).

      Maybe there aren’t Vista native drivers for it, or something.

      It’s a real shame actually. The device looks great, brilliant display (apart from reflection issues), good keyboard, nice design.

      VIA continue to disappoint. Everything was going so well for them until a few years ago. What happened? They need to reverse it.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 12 years ago

        lol /[<93<]/ ? I can swede a 3DMark video and get a higher score.

        • ludi
        • 12 years ago

        What happened is that they couldn’t keep up with Intel on the low-power computing or chipset fronts once Intel extricated itself from its S&M fetish with Rambus (i820, Banias) and chucked the handcuffs.

        They’re probably getting a fair bit of milk money out of the present mini-laptop market expansion, but that will shortly and quickly get shut down by Atom.

        • Rza79
        • 12 years ago

        Well it’s a SM2.0 part, so it can’t run most of the 3DMark06 tests. Top that off with a single channel 667 memory bus and unlike AMD or nVidia, it’s gpu is clocked at a low 250Mhz. It’s based on the 2004 released Deltachrome …. you can’t expect much more.

          • Rza79
          • 12 years ago

          Well i forgot to mention something.
          The VIA CN896 is getting relatively old.
          From my understanding, VIA is preparing a new northbridge (i guess launching together with the Isaiah) with includes the Chrome HD. That’s a Chrome S27 derivative clocked at around 450Mhz.

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