Unboxing the New HP 2140 Mini Netbook Computer

Earlier this week I got my new HP 2140 Mini computer.  It’s one of those new “netbook” computers, so called because they are small and compact, and designed in large part for surfing the ‘Net and using cloud applications — although they are capable of much more.

This is a brand new model that HP just started to ship.  I mentioned on Twitter that I’d just bought one.  A number people asked about it, so I took some pictures during the grand “unboxing.”  I thought I’d share the pictures, along with my initial observations.

First, some background: this is a small portable computer.  I wanted a netbook because I travel on business about 18 times a year. Since I run Web-based businesses, I can’t afford to be away from my computer for long.  Leaving the computer in the office and taking a small handheld device like a BlackBerry on the road is simply not a realistic substitute in my line of work.

My existing laptop is perfectly good, but it weighs nearly 7 pounds.  Lugging it around is becoming tiresome.  Besides, with airlines now charging checked baggage fees, I am finding that in-cabin storage space is tighter than ever.  I needed something smaller than a traditional laptop, but bigger than a smartphone device.

So the first thing I noticed was the amazingly small box that the HP 2140 came in.  When it arrived, my husband asked if I’d ordered new shoes — the box looked small enough to be a shoe box!

HP 2140 Mini in the box

Right about now you’re wondering “when the heck is she going to quit taking pictures of boxes and show us the computer.” … OK, I’m finally there.

I unwrap the 2140 and admire the beautiful brushed aluminum case. But I couldn’t put the boxes away just yet — one last comparison — notice how thin this netbook computer is:

HP 2140 Mini netbook with beautiful brushed aluminum case

Another thing that surprised me, is how uncomplicated it was to get this new HP 2140 Mini ready to boot up.  I am used to receiving computers boxed in enough excess wrapping to choke a landfill, lengthy instructions I am too excited to read, and one or two little gizmos I don’t recognize and invariably neglect to hook up in the right order or never hook up because I have no idea what they are.  This, however, was simple and not wasteful:

Unboxing the HP 2140 Mini notebook

I’m not sure if you can tell, but the battery in the above shot is actually thicker than the netbook computer itself (which is only around 1 inch thick).  What that means is that the battery makes the back of the PC sit up higher and angles the keyboard nicely.  The battery becomes an integral part of the design — obviously the engineers thought that through carefully.  It’s an indication of the attention to design detail on everything about this compact PC.

You do not get a lot of complex paperwork. There’s a simple “Getting Started” Manual consisting of 16 pages (which is nothing for a manual), some backup disks and warranty info.

OK, enough with the boxes and wrapping already, Anita!  Let’s get to the good stuff!

HP 2140 Mini

This little baby has 160 Gigabytes of storage — 40 more Gigs than my current desktop computer that I use everyday.  It has an Intel Atom processor — all I know is that’s considered pretty good for a small netbook.  Plus it has 1 Gigabyte of RAM, which is plenty considering that I won’t load many software applications on it, other than anti-virus software, Microsoft Office Small Business, Irfanview to manipulate images, Skype and AIM.  That’s about all I ever use on the road — the rest are Web-based apps that I access through a browser.

I got it with Windows XP operating system, although you can also get it with Windows Vista.  One of the nice extras: it has a VGA webcam built right in (see image above).

Below you see the 2140 Mini next to my old laptop computer. Notice the size difference compared with a regular laptop.  And it is so much lighter, too!  It’s 2.6 pounds.

Notice the glossy screen, which you can see even though the HP 2140 is not turned on.  It has a 10.1 inch screen.

Here I had to angle the screen downward so that it wouldn’t reflect the camera flash, so the screen may appear a little smaller than it really is due to the angle:

HP 2140 Mini computer - first look

Keyboards are one of the first things to go on me because I do so much typing.  This keyboard has DuraKeys, meaning the keys have a coating that prevents the lettering from wearing off.  Also, the individual keys are actually wider than the keys on my other keyboards, with a crisp snap-back when you press them.

It makes typing (especially fast typing, as I do) much easier.  Another nice feature:  the keyboard is almost as wide as my laptop’s full size keyboard, as you can see in this comparison shot:

The HP 2140 Mini is about the size of a largish business book.  Don’t believe me?  Here it is next to Tim Berry’s “Plan as You Go Business Plan” book.

HP 2140 Mini notebook size comparison

When traveling by airplane, these days I carry a tote bag to take the place of a purse and briefcase.  My existing laptop was always a tight fit for the tote. I could barely squeeze it in because it’s so wide — and after I did I couldn’t fit much else.  Add my external mouse (something I always use), cords and associated stuff, and about all I had room left over for was my wallet, iPod Touch and mobile phone.

If I tried to stuff in a Daniel Silva thriller to read on the plane, a small folding umbrella, water bottle or anything else, it ended up weighing a ton … and I looked like a bag lady with stuff sticking out every which way.  My shoulder ended up killing me, too!

I will not have that problem any more.  Here is a shot of the new HP 2140 Mini ready to slip into my travel bag — as you can see, there will be plenty of room:

HP 2140 with tote bag

And how do I like the 2140?  I love it!  It boots up fast.  It comes with a Flash video tour that shows you the computer’s features — very helpful.  It came preloaded with a trial subscription of McAfee Total Protection Internet security/ antivirus software, and a trial of Microsoft Office 2007.   Plus, the case not only looks great, but because it’s aluminum I expect it to stand up to the rigors of travel.

What did it cost?  The HP 2140 Mini cost me just $529 (USD).  That’s with the upgraded battery with 8 hours’ life, which added $30.  I purchased mine directly through HP’s online store.  But you can check your favorite computer retailer — and shop around.  It looks like even at the HP store the prices are a little lower now than 3 weeks ago when I ordered mine (January 24, 2009).  Compare HP 2140 model configurations here.

At a later date, I intend to write a full review of the HP 2140 Mini notebook computer, including showing you its operating features.  For now, all I wanted to do was to have you follow along with me during the unboxing phase, and give you my initial impressions.  For the use I intend to make of the HP 2140 Mini (for business travel), I am very happy with it.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

18 Reactions
  1. thanks for the un-boxing anita! you could get a side job with engadget or gizmodo now. very nice netbook too, i want the 2140 also as it seems to be the best value for the features. looking forward to reading a lengthier review once you get to try it out.

  2. Anita:

    I love your review! “Shoes not included!” I wonder what Manolo blogger would say about that comment?! 😉

    I am interested to hear more about the keyboard and “crisp snap-back when you press them” feature. Is this like the old sturdy IBM typewriters? I miss that true keyboard feeling. I recently got an Asus Eec PC 900 (XP Windows) from the commission body of a new business venture I will be involved with. It is a handy dandy computer, but it will take some time to get used to it, e.g., the small keys, although I have small fingers! 😉 You could read more about the computer in my post, Subnotebook. If you click on “Martin Lindeskog” Says you will see a picture of the computer and yours truly, EGO editor! 🙂 Nota Bene: No shoes included in the picture, but a caffe latte glass! 😉

  3. Hi Justin, thanks. My, you are a glutton for punishment — a “lengthier review”!!!


  4. Hi Martin,

    Regarding the keyboard, the keys are not very deep (after all, the notebook is very thin). You can only press them maybe an 8th of an inch. I think that makes them feel very crisp when you touch them.


    PS, congratulations on your new blog design at Ego — I love it! Very clean and up to date.

  5. Anita,

    Thanks for the info. What’s an 8th of an inch in millimeters? 😉

    Thanks for your kind words re. the new blog design at Ego! I like it very much. I will soon work with the original WordPress template for a new business venture. Brian Gardner ( @bgardner on Twitter) has created great looking templates.

    All the Best,


    P.S. I say as Justin: “Looking forward to a lengthier review!” Take your time! 🙂

  6. Thanks Anita – I felt like I was really right there with you. Being a complete gadget geek – I literally hung on every word and picture. I’ve been lusting after one of those as well.

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see how much storage space it has for the size – and the battery life sounds great — and not taking up space – but adding to design. Very exciting – happy traveling!

  7. Congratulations with your new netbook, Anita! My only wish for new netbook generation is to have atleast a slot loading optical drive.

  8. Wow, that’s very impressive and now I understand why many are choosing to purchase netbooks rather than new laptops. That looks pretty slick and I’m impressed with the memory capabilities, as well, and the extended battery. That was a smart choice. Enjoy it and have fun – it looks very cool!

  9. Hi Martin, I think an 8th of an inch is about 3 millimeters (if I did the conversion properly).

    So, as you can see the keys don’t depress as deeply as a regular keyboard, but there’s something about the feel that makes it easy to know that you’ve hit the key and it “took”.

    I type by touch and type very fast, and I rely on that crisp feel. I don’t like a keyboard where the touch is too soft because it makes it harder to tell whether my keystroke registered.


  10. I had typewriting in high school. I know how to type pretty well by touch without looking at the keys, but I am not very fast. I have learned how to place my hands, but I have my own version of using the “qwerty” keyboard.

    I am looking for the crisp feel as you describe, that’s why I liked the old IBM typewriters.

    How many characters do you type per minute? 🙂 It could be handy dandy when you write tweets (140 characters)! 😉

  11. Cool…This looks like it’s much easier to handle while on the go. I too am amazed by the battery life, that’s impressive. You’ll have to report back after your next trip with it and let us know how it worked for your needs.

  12. Wow. This is really cool. Great writeup and explanation about your experience Anita. I enjoyed this product review more than most. And the size of that netbook, amazing. Trimming down for travel is so essential.

  13. I’m glad everyone is enjoying the photo montage.

    A couple of people asked me why I didn’t do video. Maybe I will do a video when I write the review.

    While it takes me longer to put together a post like the one above, it’s faster, actually, for you to read and view photographs. It would have taken 30 minutes for you to view a video from start to finish covering the same amount of ground.

    Plus I really think it’s more interesting to read and see the photos. I’ve viewed some of those “unboxing” videos. After 2 or 3 minutes of excruciating video footage of someone wielding a box cutter and getting no farther than cutting through the packing tape, I’m about to jump out of my skin with impatience.

    Trust me, the above post is much more interesting and fast moving! 🙂

    — Anita

  14. I love my mini Everex computer. I can slip it into my purse and take it to lunch with me. I don’t know what I’d do without it now.

  15. The HP 2140 is the best of the netbooks for business people. You can find cheaper ones, but for the whole package you won’t find better.

  16. I need one of these. It sure beats the Sherpa that i have to pay to carry my current laptop bag… Poor guy.

  17. Great review, Anita! I actually just ordered the Mini 2140 (with the new hi def screen) and have read a lot of reviews already, but I still found yours to be very helpful.

    Have you written your “full” review of all the features yet? If so, I’d love to read that one too–please post the link!

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