Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Nc8230
- Lightweight, long battery life
- Easy to ruin the cheap screws on the underside of the laptop, difficult to remove the battery
A handsome design and quick-launch presentation button make this wide-screen notebook a great fit for business travellers.
Price$ 2,995.00 (AUD)
If you yearn for a wide-screen notebook for business travel and don't mind that a 15.4" model tends to engulf your lap or airline tray table, the HP Compaq Business Notebook NC8230 could be your perfect travelling and boardroom companion. It's relatively lightweight for a 15.4" widescreen notebook, at 2.71 kilograms (not counting the power adapter).
We looked at an NC8230 with a WSXGA+ 1680 x 1050 resolution screen, which is just right for most work. (HP offers two other widescreens: 1280 x 800 WXGA, and 1920 x 1200 WUXGA.)
At their default Windows settings, icons and screen elements are smaller than average at this resolution, but not eyeball-bustingly tiny. You should be able to put in several hours of work at a sitting without eyestrain, especially if you spend most of your time in graphics programs.
The NC8230 delivers blessedly long battery life: five hours and 11 minutes on one charge in our tests, which is plenty of time to hammer out a presentation during a plane ride. A port on the bottom of the laptop accepts an optional second travel battery, which would double the notebook's battery life, according to HP (we did not test it).
In the boardroom, the black and graphite NC8230 with its art-deco power button cuts a handsome figure. A quick-launch presentation button with a user-settable power scheme will get your talk off to a smooth start. The speakers stylishly flank the keyboard; though the sound they emit isn't standalone speaker quality, it is loud and rich enough for small-group presentations, and you can control it with a nice set of keyboard volume buttons.
The NC8230 is among the few laptops that do justice to dual pointing devices. Its pointing stick, located in the centre of the keyboard, is an easy-to-steer nub with a finger-friendly texture. The traditional touchpad handles well, too. Each comes with its own set of mouse buttons, including a full-size third button in the middle for scrolling documents or zooming in CAD and animation programs; this eliminates the need for an external three-button mouse or a function key combination that requires two hands. All six mouse buttons sink deep into the case when pressed, unlike the stiff buttons we've found on many other laptops. If you prefer buttons with plenty of feedback, you'll love these.
The NC8230 offers all the basic connections you'll need: three USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, a TV-out port, and a stacked threesome of SD card slot, smart card security slot, and PC Card slot on the left-hand side. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi both come built in, and you even get an old-fashioned serial port.
The fixed right-hand side combination drive on our test unit let us view DVD-ROMs but burn only CDs; upgrading to a DVD burner is possible.
The NC8230 is one of the first HP laptops equipped with the new spring-loaded modular optical drive design. Just remove a security screw (which can remain uninstalled) and press the front of the drive to pop it out. It's the easiest way we've seen to swap modular bay devices.
Our review NC8230 came with 512MB of RAM, but it also offered one empty memory slot in a compartment on the bottom of the notebook. The hard drive is located in another easy-to-access compartment. Either of two optional bottom-mounting docking stations (a simple port replicator or a more advanced add-on) provide desktop convenience and additional ports.
We noted two minor design weaknesses: first, we had to take special pains to remove the bottom panels' small, cheap Phillips-head screws without stripping them. Second, removing the battery is a three-handed operation--you must hold open two sliding releases while simultaneously tugging out the battery.
Nevertheless, the NC8230 is a fine wide-screen portable; and when equipped with a 2GHz Pentium M 760, it can handle any type of mainstream work or heavy multitasking. Our review unit earned a WorldBench 5 score of 85; two similar laptops equipped with 2GHz Pentium M 755 CPUs--the Dell Latitude D600 and the Acer TravelMate 8000--scored 81 and 89, respectively.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSalesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCTest AnalystWA
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- CCBPM Technical AnalystVIC
- CCProgram ManagerVIC
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCSenior Automation TesterQLD
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- CCNetwork Engineer/ Network AdministratorQLD
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- FTLevel 3 Support AnalystVIC
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- FTSenior Software EngineerVIC
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Technical ArchitectQLD
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)WA
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Cyber SecurityACT
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)QLD