Review HP Compaq nc6400 Notebook
Security First. Among its huge product range Hewlett-Packard also offers 14 inch models of the "Balanced Mobility" market segment. The HP nc6400 is not the most recent model, but this is only a subordinate aspect of high-quality business notebooks. Properties like a robust case, user-friendly input devices and comprehensive security mechanisms are far more important and durable.
The nc6400 by HP comes with the typical HP business case with well-known advantages. This case is extremely flexural rigid and resistant against forces. During handling this notebook it might be possible to hear some minor creaking noises, however, deflection do not get apparent at all.
The high-quality material in decent colors does not only look good, also the haptics of this notebook is first-class. The display cover in blue-gray and the palm rest areas, whose color is well matched to the color of the display cover are some of the highlights.
Similar to the case, the display also has a good flexural rigidity and also its resistance against applied forces is acceptable. Both of the hinges make it possible to precisely adjust the position of the display. We could not detect any see-saw of the display thereby. Furthermore, the display is equipped with a ramshorn hook, which secures the display against object penetration, if closed.
The Compaq nc6400 provides a number of interfaces, which are mainly placed at its back side and at both sides near the back. Only the 2 USB ports at the left side are placed, because of the fan behind them, a little to far to the front. At the right side near the front this notebook also provides you with a Smartcard slot.
A special positive aspect of the Compaq nc6400's keyboard is its clearly arranged and user-friendly layout. Apparently, it was also possible to leave some space empty in between single keys in order to reduce the likelihood of typing mistakes.
If you thought, that this is at the expense of the keys' size, you are wrong. A big space bar and an enter key, which extends over two rows, enlarged Shift and Crtl keys hardly support such an impression.
Also typing is alright. The keyboard is tightly attached to the case, during typing you face a somewhat shorter travel. Despite this, the keyboard is still comfortable in use, even for longer typing durations.
Besides a user-friendly touch pad with comfortable to use buttons, this notebook also provides you with a blue track point. Unfortunately, it reacts slightly too sensible which makes controlling it difficult. Also regarding ergonomics HP could still learn from the form of competitor notebooks.
Above the keyboard near the left edge, there are the power switch, and from there to the right a number of additional keys. These provide you with a WLan switch up to volume control.
The Compaq 6400 we reviewed was equipped with a non-reflecting 1280x800 pixels WXGA display. Alternatively, also a WXGA+ version with a resolution of 1440x900 pixels is available.
The maximum brightness was measured at the center of the display and reached excellent 181.8 cd/m². Because the brightness diminishes next to the corners, the illumination is slightly below-average at 75%.
The measurement diagram depicts the usual lowered blue color curve and a slightly raised red color curve. So, the displayed colors appear warmer to the user.
The black value of 0.9 cd/m² (minimum brightness) and the maximum brightness of 181.8 cd/m² leads to a calculated maximum contrast of acceptable 202:1. In the Pixperan test of legibility this notebook reached an average result of grade 6.
Because of the good brightness together with an acceptable illumination and a non-reflecting display surface, the HP Compaq nc6400 is ready for outdoor usage, even in rather bright environments.
Horizontally, the stability to the vantage point is good. Vertically, you can observe a heavy darkening and a color change to red, if looking from bottom up and a color change to turquoise, if looking from top down, outside an acceptable area of operation.
The HP Compaq nc6400 is available with a number of different equipments. They range from 1.6 Ghz Core Duo CPUs up to 2.3 Ghz Core 2 Duo processors (T7600).
Also regarding video solution, there are a couple of different versions available. The least powerful is a Intel GMA 950 video chip. If your demands are higher, you can also choose a X1300 video card by ATI, which has up to 512 MB hyper memory.
Nevertheless, you should not expect to much graphical power from a X1300 video card. Both video solutions, the GMA 950 chip as well as the X1300, are optimized for office use. Still, non-demanding 3D applications like, e.g., Vista or simple programs should run without problems.
The customer also has the choice regarding main memory and hard disk capacity. The maximum RAM capacity is 4GB.
Regarding hard disks there are, at the time of writing, 5400 revs models with 40-100 GB and 7200 revs models with 60-80 GB available.
The Seagate Momentus hard disk with a capacity of 80 GB, which was built in the notebook we reviewed, rated slightly above average regarding transfer rates and access times.
|3DMark 05 Standard||664 points|
|PCMark 05 Standard||3716 points|
The fan of this notebook could be heard even without load (idle), but stayed subjectively rather decent. Even the maximum loudness under load of up to 39.1 dB is yet alright and can also only be reached during periods of higher demands.
The surface of the HP nc6400 can become rather warm. E.g., the maximum temperature of the top side was about 40°C and at the bottom side even 47 °C. Therefore, a mobile use at the lap could become rather uncomfortable.
We want to note, that the nc6400 also has a main board temperature sensor besides the usual CPU and hard disk temperature sensors.
palmwrist: 30.0°C max: 40.0°C avg: 34.6°C
max: 47.0°C avg: 40.4°C
The notebook only has a single speaker next to the front edge at the right. The maximum volume is remarkable, however, the quality of the sound is unacceptable. Low background music is possible, however, we, nevertheless, recommend using a headset.
The measured runtime of the standard 55 Wh lithium ions battery was in between a minimum of somewhat above 1 hour up to a maximum of more than 4.5 hours.
Should you demand a longer battery runtime, you could either use an "Extended Life Battery" (52Wh) or an "Ultra Capacity Battery" (95 Wh), which are both capable of clearly enhancing the battery runtime.
Both of the additional batteries are to be docked at the bottom side of the notebook and clearly increase the weight and the height of the notebook. It is even possible to externally recharge the Ultra Capacity battery with a standard power adapter.
|Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)||4h 40min|
|Load (maximum brightness)||1h 17min|
|Off / Standby||0 / 0 Watt|
|Idle|| 16.6 / 21.7 / 22.2 Watt|
49.6 / 48 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max:
The Hewlett-Packard Compaq nc6400 is a compact, high-quality mobile notebook, which leaves hardly anything open to be desired. Especially business customers might find the comprehensive security tools of the notebook useful. Besides a comprehensive software package, this notebook provides you with a fingerprint reader, a TPM chip and a Smartcard reader. This should be sufficient for optimal data security.
The robust case of the notebook ensures a long life-time without impacts of wear. Also the notebook's keyboard should be optimal for daily use, and convinces by a user-friendly layout.
The matt display has a good brightness, and acceptable illumination and contrast ratio. Even the standard display with a resolution of 1280x800 pixels helps you maintain an overview. Should you demand more space for your applications, a 1440x900 WXGA+ display is also available.
The performance of nc6400 depends on the chosen equipment and can be inconspicuous up to remarkable. In any case this notebook is and stays an office notebook, with clear weaknesses regarding 3D.
Regarding emissions, the noise emissions are low, whilst the surface temperatures are clearly raised. Depending on the planned usage, this might be more or less important.
The battery runtime provided by the 55 Wh standard battery is quite passable with a maximum of about 4.5 hours. Still, there are some additional batteries available, which provide you with an even longer battery runtime.