HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110

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HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110
The nx9110 offers a good compromise between performance, features and price for the mobile executive.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 is aimed primarily at business travelers, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it. From its wide, 15.4-inch screen to its 3GHz Pentium 4 processor, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 is just as good at shooting aliens or watching DVDs as it is at churning through spreadsheets.

What's more, the nx9110's dual-band Wi-Fi adapter is sure to find a compatible wireless network. One of the best-equipped notebooks anywhere, the AU$2,595 HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 is also one of the best priced. It all fits into a thick, 3.76kg case and has a battery that delivers nearly four hours of life between charges. All in all, it is a great notebook for business travelers who, nevertheless, spend more time behind a desk than an airline tray table. For more-frequent flyers, we recommend a lighter powerhouse, such as the IBM ThinkPad X40.

Like a Swiss Army Knife, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 has a variety of tools to deal with all sorts of situations, and as a result, it's a tad bulky. At 362 x 284 x 50.5 mm and 3.76kg, the black-and-silver laptop is an armful. Add the 0.64kg AC adapter, and the nx9110 weighs a hefty 4.5kg. It's thicker and heavier than the Toshiba P15 and a few ounces lighter than the Dell Inspiron 9100, both of which deliver comparable hardware.

One nice design touch on the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 is its wireless on/off switch, located near the front edge of the laptop. The switch lets you eliminate the risk of an open connection and preserve battery power.

HP offers a wide variety of configurations and components for the HP Compaq nx9110, starting at AU$1,695. You can order the system with Pentium 4 CPUs ranging from 2.8 to 3.2GHz and memory that varies from 256MB to 2GB; there are 40GB, 60GB, and high-performance 80GB hard drives. You can choose a 15.0- or 15.4-inch screen for your HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110, and there's a DVD-writer option that uses the DVD+R/RW format.

Stocked with a good assortment of premium components, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 that we tested comes with a 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of 333MHz DRAM, and a DVD/CD-RW drive. The crisp 15.4-inch WXGA screen uses ATI's Mobility Radeon 9000 IGP graphics accelerator that taps into up to 128MB of the system's memory. The 4,200rpm 60GB hard drive is adequate, though nothing unusual for an entry-level business laptop.

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Editor's note: The australian price for the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 with a configuration of a 3GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of 333MHz DRAM, DVD/CD-RW drive, 15.4-inch screen and a 40GB hard drive is AU$2,595.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 has an impressive array of well-marked ports, including a parallel port, an S-Video connector, a VGA connector for an external monitor, four USB 2.0 ports, and a FireWire port. In addition to a Type II CompactFlash PC Card slot, the system can handle SmartMedia, Secure Digital, and Memory Stick cards, and it includes a unique but redundant USB digital drive Secure Digital card reader that snaps into a recessed USB slot. For connectivity, the nx9110 has an integrated V.92 modem, an Ethernet port, and a dual-band wireless adapter that works with 802.11a, b, or g networks.

The keyboard flexes a little too much in the middle, but it provides 19.4mm keys that offer 2.3mm of depth. While the nx9110's large latch release is easy to press, it requires a second hand to pull the lid open. The laptop's JBL Pro speakers deliver very good sound and have push-button volume controls.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 includes the standard, bare-bones software package that is the hallmark of a business system. The laptop comes with the Windows XP Pro operating system, as well as the CD-burning software Record Now and Express Labeler, which prints labels for optical discs.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 came out on top in mobile performance in our latest testing group of mainstream laptops. It scored 24 percent higher than the Toshiba Satellite A45-S250 and 12 percent better than the ABS ZForce F1. The difference in the mobile performance of these similar machines can be attributed mostly to their processor throttling.

The processors in each of the laptops throttle their respective speeds down when running on battery power to save on battery life. Both the ABS ZForce F1 and the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110, house the Pentium 4-3.06GHz CPU, but the HP Compaq nx9110 comes out on top, thanks in large part to the fact that its CPU's speed isn't throttled as dramatically. While this is good for the HP's mobile performance, it can adversely affect battery life unless precautions--such as including a bigger battery--are taken by the manufacturer. That said, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 is a good mobile performer that will have no problem running office-productivity and content-creation apps.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 came in a distant second in battery life in our latest testing group of mainstream laptops. Second place, however, is nothing to sneeze at in this case, as the system lasted nearly four hours, thanks to its powerful 14.8V, 6,000mAh (89WHr) battery.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110, however, could not hold its own against the Toshiba Satellite A45-S250, which lasted more than five and a half hours with its 10.8V, 8,400mAh (91WHr) battery. While these specs may not seem that different, remember that the Toshiba Satellite A45-S250 is drawing less power from the battery because of its 2.8GHz processor, which is 266MHz slower than the HP Compaq's nx9110's 3.06GHz Pentium 4. The ABS ZForce F1 brought up the rear because of its average, 14.4V, 4,000mAh (58WHr) battery. Thanks to HP's foresight in giving the nx9110 a powerful battery, the notebook is able to offer the best of both worlds: good mobile performance and great battery life.

The HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110 comes with a short one-year warranty on parts and labour. HP has a copious collection of online resources, including electronic manuals, online forums, and even advice on recycling an old notebook. The HP support site also hosts BIOS updates, drivers, and a variety of software enhancements. Our favourite is the interactive troubleshooting application that can help track down technical problems.

HP Compaq Business Notebook nx9110
(Pentium 4 3GHz, 512MB RAM)

Company: HP
Price: AU$2,595
Phone: 1300 305 018Performance chart