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More expansion capacity than you'd expect

Around the left side of the Mini-Note are one of the system's two USB ports and its microphone and headphone jacks, which are fed by an Analog Devices HD audio codec. A VGA output is also provided, should you wish to hook the system up to a larger display.

From this angle, we can also see the Mini-Note's exhaust port, which features two layers of venting artfully cut from the system's aluminum skin. I can't help but think that a single vent layer would have been sufficient here, especially since it would be likely to allow for greater airflow. As it stands, the Mini-Note's fan seems to be on at all times, regardless of system load. At least the fan is quiet; it's only barely audible if you have the system sitting on your lap, although it does get louder when the system is plugged in and charging.

Spinning the Mini-Note to the right reveals another USB port, the system's power connector, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack fed by a Broadcom networking chip. Interestingly, HP cautions that wired networking might not be fully up to speed due to the poor cache performance of the system's VIA C7 processor. In our own testing, we measured GigE throughput at a paltry 127Mbps (with 100% CPU utilization to boot), which isn't much of an improvement over plain old 10/100 Fast Ethernet.

The right-hand side of the Mini-Note houses the system's SD and ExpressCard/54 expansion slots, as well. The former is perfect for anyone looking to offload pictures from a digital camera (budget subnotebooks with plenty of storage capacity make particularly good travel companions), while the latter is compatible with cellular broadband cards that are all but essential for road warriors. Of course, the Mini-Note has its own integrated Wi-Fi capability, too. Base configurations include a Broadcom 802.11b/g wireless module, and users can upgrade to an a/b/g unit if they please.

There isn't much to see at the rear of the system apart from the battery. Pictured above is the optional 6-cell unit, which is rated for 55 watt-hours and 4.5 hours of run time. Standard Mini-Note configurations come with a three-cell, 28-watt-hour battery that HP says will keep the system running for 2.5 hours.

The presence of a 6-cell battery option is great for users who need longer run-time, but because of how the screen hinges back behind the system, the larger battery is forced to poke out beneath the case. This arrangement puts the keyboard on a slant, which is great if that's how you prefer to type, but not so hot if you like your keyboard to sit flat. Having the battery sticking out of the bottom also makes it more difficult to slide the Mini-Note into a notebook sleeve or bag.

If you're wondering just how much charge your Mini-Note battery has, you can check its status without even booting the system. Like many full-sized laptops (and unlike the Eee PC, we might add), the Mini-Note's battery has a four-light indicator that quickly conveys the charge level.

Speaking of charging, the Mini-Note comes with a 65W power adapter. The adapter is much smaller than the power brick for my 14" notebook, but it is larger than the diminutive plug Asus includes with the Eee PC. At least the Mini-Note's power plug can be inserted into a power bar without obscuring other outlets. The same can't be said for the Eee PC's power adapter.

Flipping the Mini-Note onto its back reveals, well, very little. There are a couple of vents on either side of the system's underside, but little else of interest. Surprisingly, there isn't a screw in sight.

For a peek up the Mini-Note's skirt, we first have to remove the battery to expose three screws that sit along the back edge. Removing these screws pops off the keyboard, providing access to the system's guts.