capsule review

HP Compaq Business Notebook Nc6000

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Business Notebook nc6000

Beneath the HP Compaq Business Notebook Nc6000's mild-mannered exterior lies a 5.8-pound powerhouse. Its stupendous battery life of 6 hours and 23 minutes is one of the longest we've seen. And it's no slouch: Equipped with a 1.6-GHz Pentium M processor and 512MB of RAM, the Nc6000 earned an impressive PC WorldBench 4 score of 125.

The Nc6000 offers just about everything a corporate notebook user could want, including a combination DVD-ROM and CD-RW drive, dual pointing devices, and options for both internal Bluetooth and 802.11a/g wireless interfaces (our review model came with just 802.11a/g). There's also a gigabit ethernet port for speedy connections to a corporate network. And HP tucks an SD slot under the Nc6000's dual PC Card slots.

The keyboard feels a bit springy, but it has a touch-type-friendly layout. The touchpad and the eraserhead have separate sets of mouse buttons, which we found slightly stiff but usable. Above the keyboard sit three shortcut buttons, including one that toggles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, and another that launches a presentation program with your preferred power and display settings. A third shortcut button puts the notebook in a "quick lock" mode that disables the keyboard and clears the display, a handy feature for when you have to step away from your work briefly. For extra security, HP offers a $50 SmartCard reader (filling one of the PC Card slots) that uses a password-protected SmartCard to prevent unauthorized access. For $75, you can order HP's ProtectTools Security module, a built-in chip that lets you set up the notebook to automatically encrypt certain files and folders.

The documentation we received was less comprehensive than that accompanying other HP Compaq notebooks. It consisted of a single printed booklet. Nevertheless, it does a fair job of identifying parts and describing features. (HP says that it bundles an electronic manual too, but we didn't receive one.) HP offers a number of expansion options for the Nc6000. Power gluttons can beef up battery life by swapping out the removable combo drive for a $170 secondary battery or gain more storage with a $600, 60GB secondary hard drive. The two slots for RAM modules are located under the keyboard in a cramped compartment we could barely squeeze our fingers into. On our test unit, one was filled with a 512MB module. But storage upgrades should be easy: Just remove a couple of screws on the bottom to tug the hard drive out of the left side of the notebook. HP sells two port replicators for this notebook--a $179 basic model and a $279 unit that includes two built-in modular bays. Both use a connector on the bottom of the notebook.

The all-around excellent Nc6000 will please business users with its combination of speed, long battery life, and style.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP Business Notebook nc6000

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