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Presented as part of the "HP Desk" bundle, the Compaq nx6320 (AU$1,499 individually) is designed to be a "one-stop shop" for small business users and professionals. Almost everything you need for your personal workstation is included in the set, but as we found, it wasn't quite the "Perfect Office" we were expecting.
The notebook itself was launched 12 months ago, and though it now boasts some newer components, is essentially the same model.
As far as notebooks go, the Compaq nx6320 comprises a fairly bog-standard build and colour for a business notebook. It features a black chassis with a silver top designated with an HP logo -- despite belonging to HP's budget Compaq brand.
As a business-oriented notebook, it has a good heft and should withstand the trials and tribulations of life on the road -- even if it's a little on the weighty side at 2.8kg.
Above the well-appointed keyboard is a set of media buttons -- unusual for a business model -- which includes a volume up/down control with mute, and a wireless toggle.
Connectivity is good with a total of four USB ports -- two on right and two on left. Also included is a mini FireWire port, which is handy for camcorder enthusiasts, and also a VGA out.
The Compaq nx6320's HP Premium Desk Bundle, which comes as an option on all HP notebooks, is available in two different versions. The first -- the HP Desk Value Bundle, which we received -- retails for AU$499. It includes HP's basic docking station and notebook stand, a Belkin-branded keyboard, mouse and a four-port Surge Protector. The premium model upgrades to an Advanced Docking Station, wireless peripherals, and Belkin's seven-port Surge Protector. Both docks feature legacy ports and audio ins and outs, while the advanced dock increases the basic's complement of four USB slots to six, and adds MultiBay II and ExpressCard slots.
You can also choose to add a monitor if you wish, and we received the very good 19" HP LP1965 LCD (AU$599), but presumably you would use this instead of the notebook stand. The LP1965 transforms from landscape to portrait, and boasts very good readability and colour definition for a monitor of its size.
The Compaq nx6320 itself also features a 15-inch screen, which sports good colour saturation and a non-reflective coating. Under its clothes you'll find a 1.66 GHz T2300 CPU and 1GB of RAM - which means it can upgrade to Vista Ultimate if needed. For users of memory cards there is also a 5-in-1 reader on the front edge of the notebook. One of the downsides to this device is that the included 40GB drive is rather small by today's standards.
In use, the Compaq nx6320 and Premium Desk in concert worked well, though we have to add that the supplied mouse was fairly basic -- we've used better budget peripherals. The keyboard has a decent feel -- one reminiscent of older notebooks. A bit "clicky" but comfortable to type on.
The keyboard stand itself, the HP PA508A, has two large handles used to unlock the height, and the base is quite sturdy and reinforced by steel. The notebook sits on springy feet, but it doesn't move while in place. The package we received didn't include the dock replicator so unfortunately we're unable to comment on it.
When not using the bundled keyboard we found the trackpad to be of a good size, and the mousing buttons -- though unusually raised and not flat -- had a good feel and tactile feedback. Unlike some other portable laptops, the Compaq doesn't get too hot during use, so you can easily nurse it on your knees without fear of burning through three layers of skin.
The 15-inch LCD screen itself is of a decent quality -- bright and clear -- although not a resolution buster at only 1024 x 768 max resolution. And to further dampen our multimedia spirits, the front mounted speakers were what you would expect from a business 'book -- not amazing, but will keep you notified of alerts. Rounding out the package is an onboard microphone -- which worked successfully at capturing our voice and will translate well in VoIP applications.
As the laptop came with Windows XP and not Vista we were able to use our standard benchmark Bapco's MobileMark 2005. We found the battery life was excellent for a device of its type with a total of four hours and nine minutes with the six-cell battery connected. The productivity performance rating benchmark ended up with a score of 161.