HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 review: HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000

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MSRP: $999.00

The Good Top-notch battery life; excellent assortment of ports; good audio; quiet fan.

The Bad Three-prong plug; one-year warranty; hard to open.

The Bottom Line With more than six hours of battery life, the sturdy nx5000 is a good choice for frequent flyers and desk jockeys.

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8.3 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 9
  • Support 7


You'd be hard-pressed to find a mainstream laptop that provides more for less and in a smaller package than the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000. At 6.3 pounds, not only is it smaller than competing systems, it also shows the possibilities of using Intel's Pentium M processor to downsize bulk for the sake of mobility. Despite its compact size, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 is not an underpowered weakling. On the contrary, this affordable business laptop has all the right stuff for work and play, including a 1.6GHz CPU, a 15-inch screen, excellent audio, and all the ports you could ever want. The nx5000's three-prong power cord can make it difficult to find an outlet for recharging, but you won't have to plug it in often, because this marathoner can run for more than six hours on a charge, making it an excellent all-around travel companion.

By packing so much into such small a space, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 is a hybrid that has the gear, the performance, and the battery life of a desktop replacement in the case of a mainstream notebook. It provides all of the creature comforts of a huge laptop for pounds and inches less than the rest, and it does it with a sophisticated design that you'll be proud to show off wherever your travels take you.

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A wireless on/off button above the keyboard helps you conserve power when you're off the network.

At 6.3 pounds and measuring 1.5 by 12.8 by 10.8 inches, the rounded, black-and-silver plastic case is a few tenths of an inch thinner and a few ounces lighter than IBM's ThinkPad R50, and it's tiny compared to the ABS Mayhem G1. Add in the compact AC adapter and the power cord, and you have a tolerable 6.8-pound travel weight, although you'll need to find a three-prong outlet to power up this puppy. The system's 4,400mAh lithium-ion battery pack gives the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 an exceptional six hours of use.

Like its Compaq cousins, the nx5000 has a large central lid release that is easy to unlatch but requires an extra hand to flip open. After you fumble with it a few times, you'll learn to do it with one hand by slipping your thumb up to push the lid open, but other notebooks have latches that are easier to use. Once you get inside, you're rewarded with full-size, 19.3mm keys with 2mm of depth, which makes typing comfortable and intuitive. The oval touch pad is responsive but lacks a scrollwheel or a button for zipping through long documents.

Even when working hard, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 keeps its cool, despite having only a single, very quiet fan on the bottom. The JBL Pro speakers and the SoundMax audio chip are a bonus because, despite its business pretensions, the nx5000 can rock, with solid bass, rich midrange tones, crisp treble, and the ability to blast it with the best of them. With excellent push-button volume controls and a mute button that lights up red when activated, all the system lacks are external CD-player controls.

HP offers a variety of configuration choices for the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000, ranging from a $1,199 1.2GHz Celeron M model to the top-of-the-line, $1,684 1.6GHz Pentium M version that we tested. All systems can hold as much as 1GB of 266MHz RAM. Hard drive choices run the gamut from 30GB to 60GB, with a couple of 5,400rpm high-performance versions available. You can fill the modular bay with the CD-RW/DVD we looked at, a second battery, a 60GB or 80GB hard drive, a floppy-disk drive, or a DVD+RW disc burner. You can order the system with either an XGA or an SXGA+ display, but the nx5000 comes only with Intel's Extreme 2 integrated graphics, which may use as much as 64MB of the system's memory, making the nx5000 less than ideal as a portable gaming machine.

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The modular drive bay can hold a second battery, a floppy drive, a DVD+RW drive, or this CD-RW/DVD drive.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 provides ports aplenty. In addition to a pair of USB ports, a FireWire port, an S-Video connector, and audio and external monitor ports, the system has a parallel and a serial connector. For connectivity, this business laptop also has ports for Ethernet LAN and a V.92 modem, as well as an integrated 802.11b/g adapter or an optional dual-band adapter that covers all the Wi-Fi bases. Adding Bluetooth costs only $24. Expansion is at hand with a pair of Type II PC Card slots and a Secure Digital flash card reader. In addition, the nx5000 is one of the few notebooks these days with an infrared interface.

In tune with its business aspirations, the nx5000 doesn't come with much software beyond Windows XP Professional, although HP's homegrown diagnostic utility is a good way to track down problems. However, we did note that it overrated our battery's capacity. The nx5000 laptop also comes with Sonic's RecordNow CD utility and InterVideo's WinDVD movie player.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 ranks second place in mobile performance in this group of mainstream laptops. The nx5000 lagged just 2 percent behind the group's performance leader, the WinBook C series. The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 was able to stay 3 percent ahead of the IBM ThinkPad R50, which had identical base specs. The performance scores vary somewhat, but the difference is so small that is probably wouldn't be noticeable in any real-world experience. The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx5000 achieved a very good mobile performance score that compares favorably to that of other notebooks in its class.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Mobile application performance (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. 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).

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

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