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Finally, I was able to connect but the wait was worth it. Being online while sitting on the train, or indeed anywhere you can get a signal, is liberating. It clearly is the future and having used it I would find it difficult to buy a notebook without HSDPA. Having it integrated is important too - it's all so seamless - no cards to install, to stick out, to carry in your bag or lose.
The Windows installation is basic with Norton Internet Security making its usual appearance. No office suite is installed but HP does include a full recovery utility with an image located in the D partition.
One of the good things about HP notebooks is that you can accessorise them and a range of docking stations and extended batteries are available.
In terms of performance the HP acquitted itself well. For comparison I’ve put its number up against a Dell Latitude D620 that we reviewed way back in May last year. When we tested the D620 it shipped with a 2GHz Core Duo and if you’re buying now you’ll get a 2GHz Core 2 Duo as a minimum, but it’s still an interesting comparison as the Core 2 Duo in the HP is only running at 1.83GHz.
When plugged in the HP races past the Dell in SYSmark 2002, with 322 compared to 304. In PCMark 05 it’s almost neck and neck though the HDD score is better. The hard disk can have a noticeable impact on performance so that’s a bonus. The HP is constrained by only having a single DIMM, but if you add a second you’ll get the benefit of double the RAM, and dual-channel. If you plan to get it with Vista or upgrade later this would be a highly recommended upgrade.
In Mobile mark the HP held out for almost six hours – a really fantastic performance. It out lasted the Dell D620, though possibly because its power profile throttles the CPU more and the Dell was actually faster when unplugged. Of course this test was run with all the wireless features completely disabled so you won’t go for that long if you’re online but it’s a great starting point.
The HP then is an impressive machine. It’s built well, it’s fast the keyboard and trackpoint are excellent and it’s well featured too with the integrated HSDPA a real highlight. If you’re looking for a reliable business workhorse for yourself or your business, the nc6400 is a fine choice. The only real negatives are the average screen and the lack of Express card might be a limitation in the future.
HP’s nc2400 may be lighter and sexier but with more speed, a larger screen and integrated HSDPA the bulkier nc6400 certainly has appeal.
A trackpoint and trackpad combination, fingerprint and smart card readers and integrated HSDPA 3G Broadband make the ncare all highlights on the nc6400. The screen is better suited for work rather than entertainment and there’s no Express card or Firewire, but for the business user who wants a larger screen and plenty of performance the nc6400 is a good solid notebook.