Editor's note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Find out more here.
As its name implies, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000 is all business; nevertheless, it has more than enough performance and battery life to satisfy mobile gamers looking to kill time between flights and meetings. We liked this demure black-and-silver system so much we gave it an Editors' Choice award last December, and the upgraded nc6000 Dothan configuration is also at the top of its class.
A little bigger than the competition, at 1.4 by 12.4 by 10.2 inches, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000 is slightly thicker, wider, and longer than the ThinkPad T41 series. More to the point, its 5.9-pound heft is several ounces heavier than the ThinkPad T41's, but its small AC adapter adds only 6 ounces, for a tolerable travel weight of 6.3 pounds. Like many of its peers, the nc6000 requires a three-prong outlet to charge up and lacks the convenience of an LED charge gauge.
Inside is a system that delivers on the performance promise of a second-generation Pentium M, with a 1.8GHz CPU, a 5,400rpm, 60GB hard drive, and 512MB of 333MHz high-speed memory. The nc6000 can hold up to 2GB of RAM. An ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics accelerator with 32MB of video memory feeds pixels to the 14.1-inch XGA display. The HP nc6000's modular CD-RW/DVD adds more flexibility and can be swapped for a second hard drive, a DVD burner, or an additional battery.
The HP nc6000 comes with a comfortable keyboard that has 19.1mm keys with 2.3mm of depth. The system's SoundMax audio delivers great sound that you can control via handy volume and mute buttons. The nc6000 comes with a pointing stick and a touch pad as well as a small-and-light wireless optical mouse that puts both to shame. Unfortunately, the mouse transmitter takes up one of the notebook's two USB slots.
In keeping with its business leanings, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000 provides the Embedded Security Manager, which includes an encryption chip and software to protect the laptop's contents. To make the most of the Embedded Security Manager, however, you'll need to add a $70 smart-card reader, a PC Card adapter that slips into one of the nc6000's two available slots.
In addition to a Secure Digital flash-card reader, the notebook can accommodate two Type II PC Cards or one Type III. Unfortunately, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000 lacks a FireWire port. For networking, the nc6000 provides a gigabit Ethernet port, a V.92 modem, and an increasingly rare infrared port. Wireless is the laptop's strong suit; its 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi radio covers all the popular wireless LAN standards, and it also has a Bluetooth adapter for short-range connections.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Powered by a 1.8GHz Pentium M CPU, the HP Compaq nc6000 scored 207 on the MobileMark 2002 performance benchmark, putting it a hair's breadth behind the Dell Latitude D800. With a 4,400mAh battery, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000 can run for over five and a half hours on a single charge. With a little power management, that makes for a full day of computing.
As it does with all its business laptops, HP backs the nc6000 with a three-year warranty. The company's Web site provides a smorgasbord of downloads, tips, online help, and even assistance with recycling the unit at the end of its life.
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 128MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm
Dell Latitude D800
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Nvidia GeForce FX Go5600 128MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.8GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.7GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Hitachi 5K60 80GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 5,400rpm