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HP has equipped the nc2400 with a 12.1in screen and considering how slim the bezel is on either side, it must have been quite a squeeze to get it into such a small chassis. This is a widescreen display with a familiar native resolution of 1,280 x 800. This is a great resolution for a notebook this size, especially when you consider that some 15.4in notebooks sport the same native resolution.
The screen doesn’t have a high-contrast coating – it seems that HP saves that feature for its consumer notebooks. Although I quite like the high-contrast coatings, I don’t think it’s a great loss in a machine like this, which is aimed at the business user. Even without the coating, this is a very bright and vibrant screen, the lighting is even across the whole surface and even with the brightness turned down on battery power, it was still vivid and punchy. The viewing angle is also very wide, although it’s unlikely that you’ll be showing off too many presentations on a machine this size.
Below the screen you’ll find what look like indicator lights, but in fact are touch sensitive controls. Rather than just volume up and down controls, you’ve got a volume slider that you can run your finger up and down. There’s also a mute button that lights up when activated. Even the wireless indicator light is also the hardware switch for the antenna – very cool indeed.
The keyboard is, quite simply superb. If you’ve been reading my notebook reviews for a while you’ll know that I rate the ThinkPad keyboards as the best in the business, but the keyboard in the nc2400 comes closer to that ThinkPad nirvana than any other I’ve used. In fact my wife has a ThinkPad X41 so I had a little play on that to remind myself, and I have to say that there really is almost nothing between them. I don’t know whether HP used the ThinkPad keyboards as a benchmark, but there’s no doubt that if I closed my eyes and started typing, the difference in the texture of the keys would be the only real give away.
What’s so amazing is that HP has managed to produce such a superb keyboard in a notebook this small – OK, I know that the ThinkPad X41 is almost as small, but then Lenovo hasn’t had to squeeze an optical drive into the chassis as well. The amount of key travel seems almost impossible considering the depth of the chassis, and there isn’t the slightest hint of flex no matter how hard you hammer the keys. In fact, the harder you hit the keys, the more separated and responsive they feel. I don’t know who developed this keyboard at HP, but they deserve a pay rise.