Hewlett-Packard has expanded its ProBook notebook line, as well as introduced the Mini 5101, a netbook that's as nice to look at as it is to hold.
Or rather, the holding might win out. The Mini 5101 features a 10.1-inch (diagonal) screen and a spill-resistant keyboard that's just 5 percent away from full size, plus an attractive anodized aluminum display enclosure with a brushed black finish. But good luck keeping your hands off the "soft-touch paint" covering the palm rest and base of this 2.6-pound companion PC.
HP is hoping that business professionals, as well as students - like Dell, it's courting the education vertical - will also enjoy using the Mini, and they've outfitted it with an Intel Atom processor and loads of options for connectivity, convenience and speed.
The 7,200RPM hard drive can be updated to an 80GB or 128GB solid state drive. There's integrated Wi-Fi and WLAN, plus optional Bluetooth and HP Mobile Broadband, powered by Qualcomm's Gobi module.
Users can choose to include a 2-megapixel Webcam, upgrade the WSVGA display to high definition, and bump up the included 4-cell battery to a 6-cell, which is said to deliver up to eight hours of run time.
There are three USB ports, Microsoft and Linux operating system options and wear-and-tear deterrents that include 3D DriveGuard, a three-axis digital accelerometer that protects the hard drive during a bump or a fall, a DuraKeys coating on the keyboard, which keeps the letters from rubbing off and a Panel Protection System, which entails a scratch-resistant acrylic LCD cover and a magnesium hinge bracket for greater durability.
Come late July, the Mini 5101 will be available for a starting price of $449.
As for HP's ProBook family, it is welcoming the 4310s notebook, which shares the design and business features of HP's s-series notebooks, but with some features previously only available in HP's EliteBook portfolio.
The EliteBook perks include QuickLook software, which lets users peek at certain information when the notebook is turned off or the OS is hibernating; HP SpareKey, for password-forgetters, and File Sanitizer, which permanently removes data using a Department of Defense algorithm, to ensure it's safe to redeploy or recycle the notebook when the time comes.
The 4310s features a 13.3-inch (diagonal) display, weighs 4.34 pounds, has a full-size keyboard and is available in glossy black or merlot finish.
The processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo, memory is upgradeable up to 8GB of 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM, operating system options include FreeDOS or Windows XP or Windows Vista in various versions.
There's an HDMI port, an Express Card slot and a fingerprint sensor and Webcam are optional.
The HP ProBook 4310s will arrive in the United States on July 20 for a starting price of $799 and be accompanied by a line of carrying cases, as well as a USB 2.0 Port Replicator and a multitasking merlot-covered mouse, which can additionally be used as a screen cleaner and fits exactly over the keypad, to offer the screen extra protection during travel.
Both the 4310s and the Mini 5101 are Energy Star qualified and EPEAT Gold registered in the United States.