Countering the negative points are a top end processor, a fabulous screen and a speaker set up that would dumbfound even the most cynical critics of laptop acoustics. In fact, it’s a shame that there’s no real laptop benchmark available for sound because first, it would embarrass manufacturers into making more of an effort with what is probably the most flawed part of current notebooks and second, it would allow me to produce some cold, hard statistics to back up my praise. In absence of this, I can sum up the JBL Pro speakers with the following words – loud, deep, multidirectional and distortion free.
Another feather in the nx9110’s cap is its user friendliness. Its spacious design lends itself to some well marked and well built chunky buttons for muting, decreasing and increasing the audio volume and toggling the wireless. Furthermore, HP has stuck closely to the keyboard layout of the HP nx7000 which we found close to perfect. Consequently just about every key on the nx9110 is full size, the arrow keys remain slightly detached for greater accessibility and the travel and feedback from each key is almost indistinguishable from a standalone keyboard. I could criticise HP for not including a trackpoint, but by consolation it has included a button to toggle the touchpad on and off to avoid accidentally activating it in the middle of heavy typing.
Battery life is also pretty good for a machine this size, especially considering the large widescreen display. The nx9110 lasted 165 minutes in MobileMark meaning you will get nearly three hours out of it in normal use. So, while its size may not make it the most portable of notebooks, its battery life does at least give you the option to take it with you. The nx9110 shouldn’t be too shoddy in and around Windows either with SYSmark 2002 scores of 240, 376 and 153 for Overall Score, Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity respectively – this ranks alongside some of the faster notebooks we have had in the TrustedReviews labs.
The obvious competitor for the nx9110 will be Fujitsu-Siemens’ well received Amilo A1630 which we reviewed last month, since the two are very closely matched. Which machine you go for will depend entirely on your priorities as the nx9110 has a significant battery advantage of 40 minutes over the A1630 but graphically the Mobility Radeon 9000 can’t come close to the Mobility Radeon 9700 that nestles inside the Fujitsu-Siemens machine. The A1630 also has a slight edge in PCMark and SYSmark. Both feature excellent sound, though the A1630 has a larger 80GB HDD while the nx9110 has a better keyboard. It really is photo finish stuff – the kid in me wants the A1630, but the man needs the nx9110.
HP has produced a super laptop with incredible user friendliness, stunning sound and a battery that lasts longer than you’d probably want to carry a laptop of this size around. If it’s games you want and a little extra power, go for the Fujitsu-Siemens A1630, but for the business user or regular typist the nx9110 has the edge. As I was saying, I’m really beginning to think that there’s no such thing as a bad laptop anymore.