Talking of power, HP has gone for the same 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage Core Duo CPU that Dell used for the Latitude D420, and it’s a wise choice. This chip draws very little power and generates minimal heat, making it an ideal partner for a thin and light machine. But despite its frugal power requirements, the fact that it’s a dual core chip means that the nc2400 remains fast and responsive, no matter how much load you throw at it. HP has backed up the CPU with 1GB of RAM, which is what I’d expect these days, even in a machine this small. In fact, if I was buying any notebook right now, I’d specify an upgrade to 2GB of RAM at the point of purchase – you really can never have too much memory.
There’s a 60GB hard disk taking care of storage. That’s not a huge amount by desktop standards, but it should be more than adequate for a notebook like this. Also, since this machine is part of HP’s business line-up, it’s fair to say that many users will be working off a corporate server and only storing essential files locally. The hard disk spins at a relatively slow 4200rpm, but HP will have chosen this drive on purpose, once again to reduce heat and power draw. If you needed to free up some space on the hard disc, you can easily backup important data to optical disc using the integrated Super-Multi DVD writer. This drive is a Panasonic unit that supports every DVD format – DVD-RAM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-R/RW, as well as dual layer DVD.
Connectivity is admirable for such a small notebook. There’s an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG WiFi adapter supporting 802.11a, b and g standards to get you hooked up to your home and office wireless networks, or any hotspots that you might encounter. There’s also integrated Bluetooth, in case you want to get online using your mobile phone, or even use a Bluetooth headset when making VoIP calls. On the wired front you’ve got a Gigabit Ethernet controller and if you want to go back to basics, a 56K modem.
With any notebook, especially an ultra-portable one, ergonomics are vitally important. There’s no point having a super-small, super-light notebook if you can’t actually work on it. I’ve seen a lot of fully featured, tiny mobile PCs over the years, but very few of them have been usable enough to be considered as your primary computer. If you’re going to be working on your notebook for hours on end, there are three very important areas – the screen, the keyboard and the pointing device.