Saturday, July 18, 2009

My HP Mini 2140

I am still gaga over this cutesy little performer. As a true to God 933k, I knew we were meant to be together when I saw it during MSC OSCONF and it came without Windows! Sweet! While many of my fellow brethren were busy checking out the attractive ladies selling the netbook, I was more intrigued by the gadget then with the cleavage.

Also later when I found out my wife was expecting our first kid, it was a good, me thinks, to let her use the netbook for computing (and catching up on her serials) rather than that beast HP gave her for a notebook during her confinement period/maternity leave.

It arrived a little more than 2 months later with SLED 10 pre-installed. SLED 10 is a fine OS but it's dated and it doesn't work with the latest Wireless HSDPA dongles.

The 2140 runs excellent with openSUSE 11.1, but sadly it came with pre-built with a Broadcom 43xx wireless card. No deal with cajoling it working out of the box, heck even SLED 11 couldn't deal with it. This was unfortunate as I really wanted to support Novell with buying SLED 11, seems like it was a no go. Put in a search and all I got was some feedback on how to do it via compiling the driver challenge for me but hey, it's the 21st Century now man, and since compiling drivers into the kernel requires a recompile after each kernel upgrade, that is a hassle I do not need. Where's the freaking RPM man?

openSUSE has better community support and a short detour later to got my Broadcom issue resolved effortlessly.

The keyboard for the HP 2140 was what got my attention in the first place. I mean a netbook is a netbook is a netbook. I don't expect to run jaw-dropping 3D stuff on it. But at least I can type comfortably and in that aspect, the HP 2140 does not disappoint. The literature says 2140's keyboard is 92% of a full keyboard, I did not measure or anything but the keyboard does have a nice feeling to it (and it's silent) and big enough for me to do my stuff comfortably.

The LCD is 10.1" wide-screen type and is somewhat is "shorter" that other 10-inch screen netbooks like the Asus 1000h. openSUSE 11.1 and SLED 11 had no problem configuring it "automagically" and compiz works! Graphics is powered by Intel 945GME.

The openSUSE 11.1 Live CD didn't work however (it could not load X) and that was an extra hassle when I needed to connect my netbook to an external DVD drive to get the DVD version installed.

It's not a openSUSE only issue as I tried making a Fedora 11 Live USB and it didn't load as well. Odd. Must be the xorg drivers.

The on-board webcam worked liked a charm and the capture was pretty clear and crisp. Cheese worked like it should.

The on-board speakers performed well enough for me to view some AVIs and listen to my MP3s without resorting to my earphones. Not Dolby 3D or anything fancy but hey, those who expect to get real 3D effects on a netbook are unrealistic to begin with.

In all, it is an excellent device, light enough (1.1kg) to tote around and powerful enough to do most stuff. And mine has 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD. Sweet!

The extra RAM me thinks is part of the promotion at OSCONF.

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