On the lighter side
The N600c shares the black-magnesium-alloy-with-silver-touches motif seen in rest of the Evo family, although this model is the biggest of the bunch at 1.2 by 12.1 by 9.8 inches--and a surprisingly light 4.8 pounds. The two-spindled design houses 128MB of 133MHz SDRAM, a 20GB hard drive, a combo DVD-ROM/CD-R/CD-RW drive, two USB ports, and two Type II (one Type III) PC Card slots. Unfortunately, the N600c ships with easy-to-lose plastic PC Card dummies, rather than spring-loaded doors. Other ports and slots include one each of the following: IrDA, serial, parallel, VGA, NTSC/PAL video-out, a 56K modem, Ethernet, headphone, and microphone. Swapping options for the modular bay are numerous: DVD-ROM ($345), LS-120 ($199), Zip 250 ($299), extra battery ($184), CD-R/RW ($399), or floppy drive ($69).
The 14.1-inch, 1,024x768 XGA TFT display is one of the sharpest we've seen. The keyboard feels great, with a perfect layout and responsive keys. We like the choice of a pointing stick or a touchpad, although the pointing stick might be set a tad low for some, causing you to hit neighboring keys as you maneuver. Left and right mouse buttons nestle atop and below the trackpad. Four user-programmable buttons reside above the keyboard, which are all preset but can be changed to match your preference. The speakers deliver above-average sound for a notebook.
Now about the silver bump: The Evo N600c includes unique wireless capabilities through its MultiPort, which connects to a USB port on the lid. It lets you connect to multiple wireless standards such as 802.11b or Bluetooth. Compaq also plans to migrate the technology to future wireless standards.
Speed doesn't kill
The N600c's 1.06GHz PIII-M has been eclipsed by faster versions of the chip, but the notebook still cranks out impressive performance scores, even when compared to those of laptops with faster CPUs and more memory. The Dell Inspiron 4100, featuring a 1.2GHz PIII-M and a whopping 256MB of memory, nosed past the Evo N600c in two out of the three SysMark 2001 tests, though the Evo beat the Dell in Internet content creation. Where the Evo N600c really shines, however, is battery life. It made it to the 223-minute mark, easily outpacing the Dell.