HP 5101 netbook thinks it’s a notebook

Palo Alto, CA – It had better be good at this price, but HP’s new Mini 5101 netbook, launched today, ticks the right boxes.

The new, top-of-the-range device looks good, with a black, brushed anodyzed aluminum finish, and has a newly designed, spill-resistant keyboard that is not far off the size of a normal keyboard. HP has spaced the keys out a bit compared with previous models and slapped on a coat of HP DuraKeys, a clear coating which the company claims makes the keyboard 50 times more resistant to visible wear. The mouse buttons have been moved to the traditional space below the touchpad.

HP clearly believes the machine’s looks are its best selling point. “The HP Mini 5101 is truly a work of art, a sophisticated companion PC crafted for the trend-savvy mobile professional who needs functionally, durability and style.” said Ted Clark, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Notebook Global Business Unit.

Weighing 2.6 pounds, the Mini 5101 features a 10.1-inch diagonal LED display available in either WSVGA or HD resolutions. Customers can choose either the four-cell battery for lighter weight, or a six-cell version which is claimed to give a pretty astonishing eight hours of battery runtime.

Based around the Intel Atom processor, the machines comes with 7,200RPM hard drive as standard, although an optional SSD is available in either 80GB or 128GB.

Wireless technologies include an optional, integrated Gobi-powered HP Mobile Broadband module. There is also integrated Wifi Certified WLAN and optional Bluetooth 2.0. An integrated two-megapixel webcam allows for easy still-image capture, web-conferencing or video-enhanced instant messaging with no additional hardware.

HP QuickSync software, planned to be available as a web download in September, allows quick synchronization of the HP Mini with notebooks or desktop. Information also can sync to portable storage devices.

The big drawback is the price. Starting at $449, the HP Mini 5101 is more expensive than most of the competition. But with netbooks one of the strongest sectors of the PC market these days, HP clearly reckons there’s room for a really flash model or two. It’s expected to be available in late July.