Hewlett-Packard announced the Compaq Business Notebook nx7000 in June but just recently started shipping the flashy system, with its unusual wide screen and wealth of multimedia capabilities. HP sells the nx7000 in two configurations. The $1,699 model comes well equipped for ordinary use but doesn't offer much advantage over a notebook with a standard 1,280x1,024 resolution and Intel Centrino technology. In contrast, the $1,999 model that we tested offers a high 1,680x1,050 native resolution and should appeal to creative videographers and spreadsheet fanatics alike. Long battery life, fast performance, great speakers, and a big screen make the nx7000 almost irresistible to anyone who needs to view large spreadsheets, edit digital video, or do graphics-intensive work.
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The firm keyboard makes some noise when you type.
Although the HP Compaq nx7000 measures only 1.3 inches wide and 10 inches deep, its 14-inch width makes the notebook feel much bigger. Its slightly odd dimensions, however, accommodate a wide-aspect, 15.4-inch screen with a 1,280x800 or 1,680x1,050 native resolution. Both resolutions feature an 8:5 &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ewebopedia%2Ecom%2FTERM%2Fa%2Faspect%5Fratio%2Ehtml" target="_blank">aspect ratio, which means that they can display almost twice as many pixels across the screen as down. (By comparison, a standard resolution of 1,280x1,024 features a 5:4 aspect ratio.) In practical terms, this means that you can work on large spreadsheets side by side and view Web sites without scrolling. The screen itself has a white, even background, saturated colors, and smooth textures and shading, and it displays sharp, crisp text. We did, however, find the 1,680x1,050 resolution on our test unit to be a little too dense, causing us to squint or sit close.
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The right side of the touchpad can be used for scrolling.
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Two loud JBL speakers sit on each side of the keyboard.
The nx7000 weighs a reasonable 6.7 pounds (7.5 pounds with the AC adapter) and features a charcoal-gray, alloy lid and a black-plastic base. The lid opens easily with one thumb, and its hinges let it yawn to 180 degrees. Seven rubber pads on the bottom keep the notebook flat and stable for typing, though the oversize lid wiggles a bit. The spacious, firm keyboard feels sharp, but the keys rattle somewhat. Below the keyboard lies a wide, comfortable touchpad that features an embedded scroll bar and a button that turns off the touchpad. Next to the keyboard sit two very big, loud, fine-sounding JBL speakers.
The HP Compaq nx7000 comes in only two configurations, without the ability to upgrade any of the specs. The $1,699 model comes with a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, a fixed DVD-ROM drive, and a 32MB Radeon 9200 graphics controller. For $300 more, you can get a system with a 1.6GHz Pentium M processor, a 60GB hard drive, a fixed DVD/CD-RW combo drive, and 64MB for the graphics controller. Both units feature integrated 802.11b wireless LAN and a 15.4-inch wide-aspect display, although the higher-end system offers a 1,680x1,050 native resolution compared to the 1,280x800 native resolution of the cheaper system.
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The Secure Digital (SD) slot lets you quickly transfer files, music, and other information.
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The nx7000 comes with either a fixed DVD-ROM or DVD/CD-RW drive located on the left.
HP packs in the usual assortment of ports and slots, plus a few extra for digital-video enthusiasts. On the front edge, there's a Secure Digital (SD) flash media slot and audio jacks, as well as a handy wireless On/Off switch. For ordinary communications, the notebook features a single Type II PC Card slot, an IrDA port, a 56Kbps modem, and an Ethernet jack. The back of the notebook sports the following ports: one for S-Video, another for four-pin FireWire, and three for USB 2.0. HP also offers an external floppy drive that connects via USB for $89.
The nx7000 ships with Microsoft Windows XP Professional as its operating system. You also get HP's proprietary management, diagnostic, and troubleshooting software. The lack of productivity apps won't faze business users who already have software licenses in place.
Mobile application performance
The HP Compaq nx7000 placed second in this small roundup of desktop replacements. Its mobile score made it one of the fastest 1.6GHz Pentium M notebooks we've tested yet. It beat the Gateway 450, which throttles its CPU and has a relatively low 256MB of memory, by a substantial amount. The nx7000 came in just four points behind the Dell Inspiron 600M, an insignificant difference in real-world use.
Mobile application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).
Maximum application performance
The nx7000 came in a distant second to the Inspiron 600M, which uses a faster 5,400rpm hard drive. It did, however, beat the Gateway 450, with its relatively low 256MB of memory. The nx7000 offers great maximum performance when running office and content-creation apps, especially for a system with a 4,200rpm hard drive.
Maximum application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).
3D graphics performance
The nx7000 easily captures first place in 3D performance, thanks to its 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9200, a more advanced version of the graphics adapter used by the Inspiron 600m. But although the nx7000 offers good 3D performance, we thought it could have been a bit better. Only the hardest of the hard-core gamers will be disappointed with the nx7000.
3D graphics performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE. We use 3DMark to measure desktop replacement notebook performance with the DirectX 8.1 interface at the 32-bit color setting at a resolution of 1,024x768.
Find out more about how we test notebooks.System configurations:
Dell Inspiron 600m
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 64MB; IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 5,400rpm
Gateway 450 series
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility M7 32MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm
HP Compaq Business Notebook nx7000
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 64MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm