HP Aims for the Suits with New ProBook, HP Mini

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Hewlett-Packard is the world’s leading PC maker, and that means in its arsenal of products, something is bound to be a little staid, boring, conservative, and almot anonymous to fit into broader corporate cultures without raising eyebrows or engendering discrimination suits. To that end, HP has just introduced its new HP MIni 5101 and HP ProBook 4310S, with the former being a 10.1-inch netbook aimed at executives while the latter looks like it will be a flexible, portable workhorse for mobile workers.

The Mini 5101 features a 1.66 Intel Atom processor, a 10.1-inch display, 1 to 2 GB of RAM, and either an SSD or traditional hard drive for up to 128 GB or 320 GB of storage, respectively. Unlike many netbooks, the 5101 ships with Windows Home Basic, but is also available with FreeDOS; the unit also packs 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA output, an SD card slot, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, and optional mobile broadband from Sprint or Verizon. Expect to see the Mini 5101 this July at prices starting at $449; HP will also be offering docking stations and other peripherals.

The ProBook 4310S, on the otherhand, looks to be a flexible and even vaguely stylish workhorse: users can choose a glassy noir or merlot finish, and despite the 13.3-inch screen, the system offers a full sized keyboard. But the 4310S’s strength is probably the sheer number of configuration options HP is offering for the unit: users can choose anything from a selection of Core 2 Duo processors, 1 to 4 GB of RAM, 160 to 500 GB of hard drive storage, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 or Intel GMA graphics, DVD and Blu-ray optical drives, ExpressCard and SD slots, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth wireless networking, 3 USB 2.0 ports, plus VGA and HDMI output. The systems will be available with Vista, XP downgrades, or FreeDOS, and the 4310S has a starting weight of just 4.19 pounds.

The ProBook 4310S notebooks will go on sale in the United States on July 20 with a starting price of $799.