Desktop Replacement: The HP Compaq Nx9600

If you have a couple grand to spend and a strong back, take a look at the HP Compaq Nx9600. This 9.4-pound mammoth features the latest in connectivity technology. Its 17-inch widescreen is worth an ogle or two. And it packs a desktop-sized wallop in storage and speed. But at an estimated cost of $2229, it’s not a cheap notebook.

The Nx9600 is definitely not light on ports and multimedia options. Buyers can choose an optional multi-format DVD burner drive, while a six-in-one memory card reader is standard. For storage and digital cards, there is an ExpressCard slot and a HP USB Digital Drive. Besides these cutting-edge features, you also have FireWire, S-Video, docking station, and 5 USB 2.0 ports.

Inside of its plain black chassis, the HP Nx9600 houses even more powerful tools. The 100GB hard drive is complemented with 1024MB of DDR2-400 SDRAM. The 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X600 graphics card can light up the 17-inch monitor. And for Internet and networking, turn to the V.96 modem, the gigabit Ethernet, and the 802.11g connectivity.

The Nx9600 also gives your fingers room to dance with its luxuriously big, elevated, and sloped keyboard. Other ergonomic features include mouse buttons that are easy to grip and volume and Wi-Fi controls on the keyboard.

The laptop has room to run when it comes to upgrades, too. Memory, hard drive, and other components are easy to reach in the Nx9600. And for an additional $250, the HP Xb2000 expansion base boosts computing with keyboard, wireless mouse, additional ports and storage, and Harman Kardon speakers.

For a few grand, you would expect this notebook to be perfect in every aspect. But alas, it is not. Journalistic tech giants, PC World, discovered it had a middle-of-the-road performance on the WorldBench 5 with a score of 85. More importantly, for a mobile computer its battery is limited. It may only last for an hour and a half on the road. That’s only long enough to play one game of solitaire!

By Matthew Brodsky

Thursday, May 05, 2005