So the HP 2133 has more or less launched, and the reviews have been trickling in. I'm fairly certain now that it's the one I want. It falls down on two things only: the CPU is a bit shit, and the bigger battery makes it bulky and irregular-shaped. To be honest, I can live with it; and the early reviews as well as the announcement of UK availability has answered a very important question. Yes, there will be versions with Win XP. This means that I can easily go for the cheap 1gb RAM version with the slower hard drive, as I have spent four years with a Duron 1300, on 128mb RAM, running XP Pro, and I even played games on it. NFS Porsche Unleashed and GTA 2 (I still hold that GTA 2 was by far the funniest and most creative one of the entire series).
The new 9-inch Asus is comparatively far inferior. It's a little bit narrower, but has a much smaller keyboard, worse speakers, worse screen resolution, and inadequate storage at best (up to 20gb on the fancier versions, compared to 120gb or 160gb on the Hewlett-Packard). Supposedly the Asus will have a touchscreen and/or Apple-style gesture touchpad and/or built-in GPS, but I'm not quite as impressed by those as I am by a half-decent keyboard. Also, it seems that Asus has dumped its one unassailable advantage, by choosing not to ship with Atom processors in the beginning. I'm sure it's a smart business decision for Asus, but the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the HP. It's also prettier.
I've also had a chance to finger a MacBook Air at the Apple shop here in Tartu. It's nice, and I'd give it more serious consideration if it didn't cost over $2200 in basic spec.
Bonus story: the weirdest thing I've heard in a very, very fucking long time - Tanel Padar's 'Welcome to Estonia' (cover of James Brown's 'Living in America') sung in Russian. Reinars Kaupers, the guy from Brainstorm (who I saw live in Tartu on April fucking 28th last year, and who are brilliant) uses his soft Baltic accent to great effect in Russian; Tanel Padar just sucks completely.