Editor's note: The configurations available in Australia may vary, please check with your local distributor for more info.
The HP Compaq's new series of business laptops sports a slate-gray scratch-resistant magnesium-alloy protecting the display which marks an improvement over the somewhat fragile plastic surfaces of the previous generation. This 15-inch mainstream notebook measures 329 x 267 x 30.3 (at front) mm and weighs 2.72kg. Image-wise, we were only comfortable with the brightest display setting as the panel appeared pretty dim otherwise. The lid is fitted with two solid latches to lock the screen and a good hinge to match.
The slight gradient causing the difference in thickness at the front (30.3mm) and the rear (36.8mm) is meant to provide a more comfortable user experience when typing. The well-spaced keys deliver decent tactile feedback though they are a tad shallow in depth. Lining the top of the keyboard is a plethora of seven buttons for quick launch, power, Wi-Fi activation and volume control. The touchpad and two responsive rubber-like mouse buttons lie below the keys.
Our unit came fitted with one of the higher-end configurations available for the nx6120, boasting a Pentium M processor 760 (2.0GHz), 512MB RAM and a fair-sized 60GB hard drive. Though discrete graphics would have been good, we weren't really expecting its inclusion due to the laptop's low price and so it proves with the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900. The optical drive is non-removable and supports the standard DVD/CD-RW combo.
For the amount you pay, the connectivity options you get on this machine are pretty impressive. For networking, you have 802.11a/b/g wireless LAN, Gigabit Ethernet, a 56K modem and Bluetooth capability. You get the standard FireWire, S-video out and VGA-out slots, but note that a generous dose of four USB 2.0 and two PCMCIA slots are provided. You even get the rarely seen parallel and serial ports and a very useful 6-in-1 card reader at the front edge.
The HP Protect Tools security suite comes with the new HP Compaq business range. To give an idea of what this application does, the user has the choice to configure boot options, disable several ports and set passwords.
Once again we used our handy benchmarking software, MobileMark 2002, to gauge performance and battery life. Our test unit was admittedly not too impressive considering its fast 2.0GHz chip and 512MB RAM, getting 195 marks for performance. This is quite mediocre considering that other notebooks with similar configurations get scores of at least 230. However, do note that the nx6120 differs from our test unit, fitted with an inferior Processor 730 (1.6GHz) and 256MB RAM. Battery life was clocked at 188 minutes (3 hours 8 minutes) below the average 200 to 250 minutes by other mainstream and thin-and-light notebooks.
Packaged with Windows XP Professional Edition, the nx6120 comes installed with software such as HP ProtectTools to manage security and Norton AntiVirus 2005. You have an option to burn CDs on the external drive either by using Sonic RecordNow!. DVD playback in Windows OS is managed by InterVideo's WinDVD.