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HP launches Linux-loaded Eee PC rival

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Updated HP has launched its attempt to grab a little or a lot of the Asus Eee PC's success, two months after the sub-notebook slipped out onto the web. Pitched primarily at schools, the 2133 Mini-Note PC sports a 'choice' of 7in or 9in display, and is available with SuSE Linux pre-installed.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

HP's 2133 Mini-Note: 7in or 9in screen?

We say the 2133 has a choice of screens, but in reality HP is claiming two different sizes depending where on its website you look. The product page's spec sheet says 6.9in; the press release says 8.9in.

Update HP has made up its mind - the 2133 has a 8.9in display.

Both sources are agreed on the fact that the 2133 is powered by VIA's C7-M processor, clocked at up to 1.6GHz - a CPU we found a tad noisy when tried in another sub-notebook. The unit also has a VIA chipset - the graphics come courtesy of the Taiwanese chip maker's integrated Chrome 9 GPU.

There's up to 2GB of 667MHz DDR 2 memory on board, and storage options include 120GB or 160GB, 5400rpm or 7200rpm hard drives, or 5GB of solid-state storage.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

Wi-Fi of the 802.11b/g variety comes as standard, but Bluetooth 2.0 is optional. Users also get a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD memory card slot, ExpressCard 54 bay, two USB ports, analogue audio connectors and a VGA output.

HP claimed the 2133 has a "92 per cent full-size" keyboard, which defines the sub-notebook's dimensions: 256 x 165 x 33mm. That's the front thickness - HP didn't say how much bigger the 2133 gets at the back. The unit weighs 1.27kg, rather more than the Eee but fractionally less than the MacBook Air.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

Brought to book

The standard battery is just a three-cell job, so it'll be interesting to see how much runtime the 2133 delivers. There's an optional six-cell power pack too.

HP will want $500 (£250/€318) for the 2133 when it goes on sale in the US later this month. It's price from £299 over here. While it's being touted as an education machine, the 2133 will also be pre-configurable with Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Home and Windows XP Pro, suggesting HP plans to offer it to consumers and business buyers too.

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