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HP Compaq nc2400 Ultra-Portable Notebook - HP Compaq nc2400
The left side is dominated by the Super-Multi DVD writer, but there’s also a second USB 2.0 port, a modem connector and the power socket. Most of the rear is taken up by the battery, but you’ll also find the network port for the Gigabit Ethernet controller.
When it comes to performance, a machine with a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage chip is never going to be breaking any speed records. That said, the overall SYSmark 2002 score of 200 is very respectable, and it’s clear that you can run pretty much any Windows application on this machine without issue.
Battery life was reasonable at just over three hours, but it’s worth remembering that this review sample only shipped with a standard three cell battery. An extended battery would obviously improve the battery life considerably, but it would also add weight. This is where the Sony TX series really shines, with the TX3XP turning in a battery life of over nine hours when I tested it. The Sony TX3XP doesn’t have a dual core CPU inside it though, so you’ve got to decide what's most important to you. The nc2400 managed two hours 19 minutes of DVD playback, so you could probably watch most movies on a single charge – Lord of the Rings excepted.
Of course the Sony TX3XP may beat the nc2400 hands down when it comes to battery life, but it also costs close to £1,700. The nc2400 on the other hand can be found online for as little as £1,073, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a very large price difference. In fact, even if you take the Sony out of the equation, the nc2400 offers very impressive value for money when judged in isolation.
Although the battery life could be better, HP has created a superb ultra-portable package in the nc2400. You’ve basically got a machine that looks and feels as good as a ThinkPad X series, but has the added advantage of an integrated optical drive. And with a three year, collect and return warranty as standard, you’re getting peace of mind thrown in as well.
The nc2400 is definitely the best business focussed ultra-portable notebook that I’ve seen. Even for an individual buyer, this thin and light laptop has a great deal to offer. The specification is good, the warranty is impressive and the ergonomics are first rate. It seems churlish to complain about three hours of battery life on a notebook this small, but Sony has raised the bar so high in this area that every other manufacturer is playing catch up. But when you factor price into the equation, you can forgive the nc2400 for its modest battery life. In fact you could happily specify an extended battery with this machine and still end up with a superb notebook at a great price.