Performance and Benchmarks
The HP Mini 5103 is now being offered with the latest dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor. In our tests this significantly increased the responsiveness of the operating system, with programs loading faster, webpages scrolling smoother, and startup and shutdown times improving. Our review unit was also equipped with a 7200RPM hard drive which also added to the better user experience.
In normal daily activities the dual-core processor was nice when it came to flexing the multimedia power of the notebook. We were able to decode 720P videos played locally on the notebook and also play 720P HD videos on sites like YouTube without stuttering. Currently to get that level of performance you need to include an external decoder card to help with HD video decoding. Compared to other single-core Atom netbooks we didn’t notice an increase in 3D performance, although it could be a side-effect of the higher resolution panel on our configuration.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures gaming performance (higher scores mean better performance):
Heat and Noise
With the dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor the Mini 5103 did generate slightly more heat than previous models, but it was still within reasonable levels. At full load the fan came on at just above a whisper level and was audible to anyone within a few feet of the system. During normal use the fan stayed off most of the time, only coming on intermittently to bring cool air into the system and turn off again.
HP offers two batteries with the Mini 5103 including a 28Wh 4-cell and 66Wh 8-cell battery. The 4-cell battery sits completely flush inside the computer, while the larger 8-cell protrudes slightly from the bottom by about ¼-inch. In our battery test with the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows 7 set to the Balanced profile the HP Mini 5103 stayed on for 8 hours and 13 minutes with the 8-cell battery. With the smaller 4-cell battery it stayed on the 3 hours and 25 minutes before going into hibernation.
The HP Mini 5103 offers a lot of features we like; good looks, great build quality, nice screen, good battery life, and high performance. With a starting price of $399 this system isn’t that much more expensive than other consumer netbooks, meaning all those cool features don’t come at a huge premium. HP has a good thing going with the current Mini 5100-series netbook and they understand this since they have kept the same design for three generations now. The brushed metal exterior finish combines good looks with durability and on the inside the rubbery paint gives a unique texture usually reserved for business notebooks. If you are in the market for a new netbook, don’t mind the looks of a business notebook, and want excellent build quality… look no further than the HP Mini 5103.
- Dual-core N550 improves system responsiveness
- Higher resolution screen reduces need for side-scrolling
- Good battery life
- Non-multitouch touchpad
- Touchscreen could cause problems with small buttons