Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq nc6400 (RR666PA)
- Good battery life, Optional 3G card included
- Poor for entertainment uses
While not for everyone, the nc6400 proved to be a solid choice for those after a business notebook, offering reasonable performance combined with optional 3G internet built in.
Price$ 3,178.00 (AUD)
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The last of a dying breed, HP's newest Compaq PC, the nc6400, is one of the only Windows XP notebooks we've had arrive recently. Vista seems to be all the rage these days, but the nc6400 proves that XP still has something decent to offer. While it wasn't exceptional in our performance tests it was more than adequate for general usage, and the excellent battery life will ensure it keeps running while on the road.
With a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5600 processor and 1.5GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM, this iteration of the nc6400 is a mid-range but competent machine. These specifications combined with the onboard graphics chip clearly target this unit at business applications, for which it will work well. Its World Bench 5 score of 94 reflects this. For a notebook this is quite a strong result, and indicates it should have no trouble with desktop publishing and other business applications. However its score of 6034 in 3DMark 2001 is not as impressive and reinforces the business focus of this machine, so don't expect it to handle anything but the most rudimentary graphical tasks and simple games.
The HP Compaq nc6400's forte is definitely its battery life. We ran our MobileMark 2005 productivity test, which depletes the battery using a batch of standard desktop and office tasks. The nc6400 lasted four hours and 50 minutes in this test, which is a brilliant result for an all purpose machine. For the road warrior this is a great boon and should make this model an attractive proposition.
Measuring 33mm x 23.9mm x 2.92mm with a 14.1in screen and weighing 2kg it is a little smaller than average and light enough to take with you on the road. We would recommend an ultra portable for the extremely frequent traveler, but for carrying around on an occasional basis this machine is more than suitable.
The screen itself is of an average quality. It is too bright by default and the image looks a little washed out. This can be corrected in the display properties to some degree, but we prefer a higher quality screen for media watching or other entertainment tasks. Between the quality of the screen and the onboard graphics chip we'd recommend you look elsewhere if you're after a portable entertainment machine.
Despite being relatively small, the keyboard is well laid out and comfortable to use. The keys have a rough finish to them and thus have great tactility. We had no issues writing long word documents on this system and it is more than suitable for those who regularly undertake long typing sessions. Also of note are the volume keys, power button and wireless toggle strung along the top, giving easy access to basic functions.
All the standard connectivity options are supported, including Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g, Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0. However HP has also included something a little different from the norm, offering optional 3G internet built into the notebook at an added cost. This is a great solution for business users, allowing them uninterrupted wireless Internet anywhere that the 3G network extends. It is quite a pricey option, but for those that find themselves constantly on the road, the convenience and broad coverage will be an invaluable asset.
Meanwhile there is a Dual Layer DVD writer and an 80GB hard drive for all storage needs. A VGA port, headphone and microphone jacks, three USB 2.0 ports and an S-Video connection are also available for connections to external devices.
Overall this is a good all-round business notebook. It won't satisfy those after an entertainment device, but its long battery life and solid benchmark performance make it a useful tool for a variety of tasks. The optional 3G connectivity is also a nice touch, making it a strong contender for business users.
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