We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Laptops Reviews
15,670 Reviews

HP Mini 5102 review

£418.35 inc VAT

Manufacturer: HP

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The HP Mini 5102 is the latest in HP's line of business-optimized netbooks, featuring a ruggedised metal chassis and design elements tailored for the office road warrior.

The HP Mini 5102 is the latest in HP's line of business-optimized netbooks, featuring a ruggedised metal chassis and design elements tailored for the office road warrior.

It does a great job of offering features that business users care about, but they come at a considerable price; the configuration of HP Mini 5102 we tested, with a touchscreen, 2GB of RAM, an Atom N450 CPU, and an extended six-cell battery, clocks in at around £450 - easily the cost of a larger, more full-featured laptop.

The fit and finish are excellent, if a bit angular. The brushed metal finish on the HP Mini 5102's lid is handsome and doesn't attract fingerprints or smudges. If you don't like basic black, you can pay a little more for a red or blue finish. Open the lid and you'll find a keyboard that is quite easy to type on, with extra-wide <Shift>, <Backspace>, and <Enter> keys.

It has a good clicky feel with plenty of travel, but no backlight or keyboard light for working in the dark. The touchpad looks a little small (a common problem with netbooks), but in practice it isn't much of a problem. It tracks well, and the buttons are separate, distinct, and easy to use accurately without looking at them.

The screen quality is slightly better than average, with decent contrast and viewing angles, but the resolution is a bit limited. The 10.1-inch screen features a resolution of 1024 by 600, which simply isn't a lot of desktop real estate - it results in lots of scrolling to read web pages or long documents and email messages.

You can pay a bit extra for a higher-res, 1366-by-768 screen, and it's probably worth it, but this option isn't available if you go for a multitouch screen, which our review HP Mini 5102 unit has. You can choose from a variety of operating systems: SUSE Linux, Windows XP, Windows 7 Starter, and even Windows 7 Professional. (If you opt for the multitouch screen, you have to get Windows 7.)

The variety and layout of connections is reasonable, with two USB ports on the front left edge and a VGA port on the back left edge, along with an ethernet port and a third USB port on the back of the right edge, followed by headphone and microphone jacks in the middle, and a card reader up front.

The front edge of the HP Mini 5102 system features only a Wi-Fi switch. Above the keyboard you'll find only a power button and two quick-launch buttons, one for email and the other for your web browser.

Besides the ports and jacks mentioned, the HP Mini 5102 has other connectivity pathways: 802.11n wireless networking is standard, as is Bluetooth.

In addition, you can choose from a variety of hard-drive options, from the 160GB drive our test unit came with up to 320GB, or an 80GB or 120GB solid-state drive.

Since most netbooks are based on the same Intel "Pine Trail" platform, the performance of the HP Mini 5102 doesn't vary much from its contemporaries using the same Atom N450 processor.

The WorldBench 6 score of 34 is in line with most other netbooks based on this CPU, although in practical use the 2GB of RAM makes things a little snappier when you have multiple applications running at once (many netbooks only have 1GB of RAM).

Our test unit has the extended six-cell battery, which adds only a little bump to the bottom of the machine but seriously improves battery life. It took 9 hours, 41 minutes to kill the battery in our tests.

As with other Atom-based netbooks, the graphics and video decoding capabilities are quite poor - this thing is useless for playing games, and it struggles with Flash-based web video, especially in high definition. If such capabilities matter to you, you'll definitely want to pick up the Broadcom Crystal HD upgrade, which our unit didn't have.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

HP Mini 5102 Expert Verdict »

Intel Atom (N450) 1.66GHz 0.512MB (L2 Cache)
160GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
10.1in WSVGA TFT display
Microsoft Windows 7 Starter
WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, webcam
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The design and feature set of the HP Mini 5102 is quite good, especially for the business audience it targets. The keyboard and touchpad are an improvement over the consumer-focused HP Minis, and scores of options are available. Unfortunately, this all comes at a price. All but the barest configurations cost as much as many full-sized laptops - laptops that may not go for over 9 hours on a charge but that certainly perform a lot better. This is a great netbook for simple note-taking and document editing on the go, or for those long business flights, but most consumers hunting for an inexpensive companion PC would be better off considering less expensive models.

  • Samsung N150 review

    Samsung N150

    The Samsung N150 is a 10in netbook with a thin profile and it weighs only 1.25kg.

  • HP Mini 5103 review

    HP Mini 5103

    HP's Mini 5103 netbook offers good input ergonomics and a cornucopia of security features, but its touchscreen is small at 10.1in.

  • HP Mini 2140 review

    HP Mini 2140

    The HP Mini 2140, the latest entry in Hewlett-Packard's 2100 series of netbooks, is what the company's Mini 1000 aspires to be when it grows up. Read this first UK review of the HP Mini 2140.

  • HP Mini 110 review

    HP Mini 110

    The HP Mini 110 (NB-1006TU_09): a 10.1in netbook that has a swirly patterned lid for its LED screen and an Intel Atom N280 CPU. It's available with either a spinning hard drive or a solid-state drive, and you have the option of purchasing either a Windows XP or Linux model.

  • HP Mini 210 review

    HP Mini 210

    The HP Mini 210 is a 10in netbook with plenty of style. It looks and feels different to the netbook it replaces - the HP Mini 110 - but it still performs like a netbook.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model