Technology journalists are fickle creatures. One minute they’re telling you about the latest and greatest bit of kit that they just can’t live without, and the next they’re telling you about an even newer product that makes the first look like an antique. I’d love to say that I’m immune to this syndrome, but in reality I’m one of the worst culprits. You see I just get such a massive amount of cool hardware and gadgets landing on my desk every day, that it’s hard for any particular product to remain the object of my desire for more than a couple of weeks.
Pretty much everyone knows that I’m a sucker for ultra-portable notebooks, and every time a thinner, lighter and more feature rich laptop arrives in the lab I tell myself that THIS is the one that I want – for now anyway. My allegiance is constantly switching from Sony TX and SZ series machines, to Samsung Q series, Lenovo ThinkPad X series and even the odd Dell Latitude. But now my attention has been dragged off in a new direction, one that I haven’t looked to for many years in fact, because sitting in front of me is the HP Compaq nc2400 and it is, quite simply, excellent.
Of course I shouldn’t be surprised that HP has produced a first rate ultra-portable machine. Back in 2001 when I was still Editor-in-Chief of Personal Computer World magazine, I got my paws on the HP OmniBook 5000 and it was my favourite notebook of the moment. It’s just been a while since I’ve seen HP produce a machine that could rival that old OmniBook, but with the nc2400 HP has proved without a doubt, that it still knows how to do thin and light.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first – with dimension of 282 x 213 x 25mm (WxDxH) and weighing in at 1.3kg, the nc2400 is the smallest and lightest dual core notebook that I have ever seen. In fact this machine is even lighter than the Dell D420 and the Dell didn’t have an integrated optical drive. Of course the Sony TX3XP does have an integrated optical drive and comes in ever so slightly lighter than the nc2400, but the Sony only has a single core CPU inside it. The Samsung Q35 sports both a dual core chip and an optical drive, but it’s larger and heavier than the HP – although to be fair to Samsung, it’s also a much more powerful solution.