Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq nc2400
- Brilliant battery life, Small, Optical drive
- Performance a little lacking, No touchpad, Flex in display casing
Exceptional battery life and a compact design make the nc2400 a great option for those willing to sacrifice some performance.
Price$ 3,299.00 (AUD)
Ever find yourself on a long haul flight wishing your notebook would last just a little bit longer? Then perhaps the HP Compaq nc2400 is for you. Offering absolutely mammoth battery life combined with a petite design and solid performance, the nc2400 is a great mobile workstation for business professionals, or those who are regularly on the move.
Perhaps somehow related to the Energizer Bunny, this machine just kept going on and on. It achieved an amazing score of 361 minutes in MobileMark 2005's productivity test, which runs a variety of basic computer and desktop publishing tasks on a loop. A six hour battery life is phenomenal, and makes the nc2400 ideal for long road trips where AC power isn't readily available. Furthermore, it managed to run for 271 minutes during MobileMark's DVD run down test, which is one of the most strenuous battery trials we have. That gives time for roughly two full length DVD feature films, which is an excellent achievement.
While not designed with media functionality in mind, the 12.1in widescreen monitor does serve this purpose quite nicely. It has an excellent viewing angle, and while text looks a little fuzzy at times, colour reproduction is excellent. With a resolution of 1280x768 it is well suited to a variety of tasks, from multimedia browsing through to basic desktop publishing. We were however a little concerned by the amount of flex the screen exhibited. It moved too much for our liking when put under pressure, and may be a point of weakness if you don't treat the notebook with care.
The rest of the unit has a fairly solid design, despite being constructed mostly from plastic. It isn't particularly fancy, but has a svelt, business like style that will appeal to a lot of people. Furthermore, it is tiny. Measuring 28.2cm x 21.3cm x 2.5cm and weighing a feather-light 1.29kg, the nc2400 is an excellent portable workstation. It is light enough to carry around without causing discomfort, yet still powerful enough for most basic functions. It also puts out little in the way of heat thanks to the energy saving U1400 processor.
The keyboard's keys are slightly more raised than on some other ultra portable units and they are constructed from a gritty plastic that offers good tactility, making them comfortable to type on. Furthermore, despite this unit's size, HP has managed to keep the keyboard rather spacious, with nothing unnecessarily shrunk or cramped.
That said, while the keyboard itself is quite well designed, we really missed the presence of a touchpad. Instead, HP has included a track point nub in the centre of the keyboard, and while it is reasonably comfortable to use, it isn't as accurate. There appears to be enough room for a touchpad, so we're unsure why HP chose not to include it; however they have offered a finger print reader in the bottom right corner, allowing you to secure most things that ordinarily require a password. Also note, as the body is already rather packed, there are no media or shortcut keys present on this unit.
Running a 1.2GHz Intel U1400 Core Solo processor with 1GB of RAM and an onboard Intel Graphics Accelerator, we weren't expecting stellar performance from the nc2400. This is a notebook designed for portability and staying power, not graphics processing and raw grunt, and its score of 61 in World Bench 5 reflects this. This indicates suitable performance for day to day desktop tasks and basic office functions, but you certainly won't be doing anything more powerful on this machine. Similarly, its 4148 result in 3D Mark 2001 SE shows gaming isn't really an option either. While basic modern games and some older titles will run, most will struggle, and so unless Solitaire holds a particularly special place in your heart you will be out of luck with this model.
Despite its rather diminutive design, HP has included a full DVD-RW optical drive that writes everything from DVD+RW to Dual Layer discs. All the usual connectivity options are also available, including Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g wireless and Bluetooth 2.0. There is a Type II PC-card slot, as well as two USB 2.0 ports and a VGA port for connecting an external monitor.
Overall, as a highly portable workstation, the nc2400 is a solid product. While its performance in our benchmarks leaves it a little behind other notebooks in this category, it has a single core processor so it is understandable, and the price tag reflects this to some degree. Furthermore, while it may not be a powerhouse machine, it has outstanding battery life, all the connectivity you'd expect and HP has even managed to squeeze in a Dual Layer optical drive, making this an attractive product for the mobile professional.
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