capsule review

HP Nx7000

At a Glance
  • HP Compaq NX7000 Notebook Computer (HP (Hewlett-Packard)-DL855A)

Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard
A 15.4-inch wide-aspect screen and a front-mounted SD Card slot are just a few of the tricolor Nx7000's elegant design touches. Thanks to the extrawide case, the keyboard has room for a separate cursor keypad, as well as a touchpad with a separate scroll zone. Built-in stereo speakers flank the keyboard, and press-and-hold volume buttons are located on the keyboard's right side. The front of this Intel Centrino-based notebook sports a handy wireless on-off switch and distinctive multicolored status lights that glow beneath the translucent skin of the case.

Though the wide-aspect screen is stunning to look at and great for graphics work, its native resolution of 1680 by 1050 makes icons and text rather small and difficult to see.

The Nx7000's 3-hour battery life falls short of the running times we've seen in the past from Pentium M notebooks. However, other Pentium M-equipped laptops with wide-aspect screens have turned in similarly disappointing battery results: The Dell Inspiron 8500, for instance, lasted only 2.3 hours.

The Nx7000 weighs a reasonable 6.7 pounds (not counting the power adapter) and measures 1.4 inches thick. It includes most legacy and modern notebook connections: a monitor and parallel port, three USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, and an S-Video-out port. Armed with a screwdriver, we found the hard drive and one memory compartment on the bottom of the system (and all compartments were nicely labeled). However, the second RAM slot sat beneath the keyboard--an awkward arrangement that would require removal of the keyboard for upgrades. Also, both slots were filled in our review machine, so adding more memory would demand that we discard at least 256MB of RAM.

The PC Card slot boasts a well-crafted spring-loaded release that stays put when you close it, unlike many releases that insist on popping out again. The Nx7000 lacks a subwoofer, so the bass from the stereo speakers doesn't sound as deep and booming as that of some other large notebooks we've reviewed. But the speakers are loud and distortion-free even at the highest volumes, fine for listening to an audio CD or hearing the soundtrack of a DVD movie.

The Nx7000 turned in a PC WorldBench 4 score of 123, insignificantly below what we've seen for other notebooks using the fast 1.6-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M. Typing on the Nx7000's well-laid-out keyboard was easy, but we didn't care for the slightly flimsy feel; the keys felt loose and the action didn't feel positive.

The Nx7000 comes with an attractive and helpful print reference manual. Extensive troubleshooting information is provided, but only as a PDF file.

With its quality sound and its wide-aspect screen featuring a high native resolution, the Nx7000 is a good machine to handle in-house presentations or graphics editing, for a business of any size. The 7.6-pound weight is not too heavy for the road, either. The less-than-satisfying keyboard, however, might turn off users who work primarily in word processing or other mainstream office applications.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • HP Compaq NX7000 Notebook Computer (HP (Hewlett-Packard)-DL855A)

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