HP OmniBook Xe4500 (Pentium 4-M 1.7 GHz review: HP OmniBook Xe4500 (Pentium 4-M 1.7 GHz

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Three-hour battery life; great keyboard; wide variety of ports; integrated wireless; 15-inch screen.

The Bad Disappointing performance; short warranty; no swappable drive bays.

The Bottom Line For business users, the Omnibook xe4500 serves up long battery life, expansion and communications features, and one of the best keyboards this side of a desktop PC. But its middling performance and short warranty keep it out of the top echelon.

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Take a good, long look at the HP Omnibook xe4500 because it's likely to be the last new Omnibook you'll see after the HP-Compaq merger forces the elimination of HP's venerable business line. HP says the desktop-replacement xe4500 will be on the market for a year or more and will then morph into a similar notebook. It'll be sad to see it go; despite its mediocre performance, the xe4500 has the makings of a business-success story. Take a good, long look at the HP Omnibook xe4500 because it's likely to be the last new Omnibook you'll see after the HP-Compaq merger forces the elimination of HP's venerable business line. HP says the desktop-replacement xe4500 will be on the market for a year or more and will then morph into a similar notebook. It'll be sad to see it go; despite its mediocre performance, the xe4500 has the makings of a business-success story.

Not quite top-shelf
At 1.7 by 12.8 by 10.5 inches and weighing 7.3 pounds, the $2,500 Omnibook xe4500 packs in all you'll need for an office anywhere. This system is a few ounces lighter than the IBM ThinkPad A31p but heavier than Compaq's upcoming N1000. With its midsized power adapter, a road-ready xe4500 weighs in at just less than 8 pounds.

With a 1.7GHz mobile Pentium 4-M processor, a 40GB hard drive, and 256MB of RAM, the xe4500's specs are solid but one rung down from the top of the notebook ladder. Fed by an ATI Mobility M6 graphics accelerator with 32MB of video memory, the 1,400x1,050 resolution is a nice match for the 15-inch screen. The display was picture-perfect, with even lighting and no bad pixels; the same notebook with an XGA display costs $50 less. Fixed combo DVD/CD-RW and floppy drives (no swapping options here) round out the xe4500's spec sheet.

Good keyboard, port selection
The Omnibook xe4500 stands out from the crowd with an excellent keyboard that is firm, quiet, and easy to master. The keys are a comfortable 19.3mm, and there's an oversized touchpad, which has both a scroll zone and on/off buttons. Around the edge of the system is a first-rate mixture of old and new ports, from the infrared, PS/2, external-monitor, parallel, and serial connections to USB, FireWire, and S-Video ports. Add a pair of PC Card slots, a V.92 modem, LAN, and built-in 802.11b (Wi-Fi) radio, and the xe4500 can remain well connected whether at work, in your home, or on the road.

While this sleekly designed, silver-and-gray notebook would be the envy of any skateboarder, it is at heart a straight-laced business system that makes do without extras such as CD controls on the front edge. The pair of speakers under the screen hinges deliver tinny and frail sound, but there is a convenient, two-button volume control and a Mute button on the side of the machine.

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Where to Buy

HP OmniBook Xe4500 (Pentium 4-M 1.7 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD)

Part Number: F4881JT#ABA

MSRP: $2,328.00

This product is no longer available.
Click here to view the new dv6700z model lineup.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Installed Size 256 MB
  • CPU Intel Pentium 4-M 1.7 GHz
  • Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Color Black
  • Weight 7.1 lbs
  • Optical Drive 1 x DVD-ROM - fixed
  • Graphics Processor AGP 4x - ATI Mobility Radeon - 32 MB DDR SDRAM