By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-04-10 Print this article Print

Road warriors will find a lot to like in the HP Compaq nc6320: The laptop is armed with a great feature set, wireless broadband and dual-core processors, all at a competitive price.

The nc6320, which was released in March, weighs 6.1 pounds—slightly heavier than the other products we tested, but it also boasts a bigger display, at 15 inches. The laptop has a six-cell battery, which ran for 4 hours and 24 minutes in our tests.

For a starting price of $1,349, the nc6320s configuration includes a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo T2500 processor; a 15-inch display; 512MB of RAM; a 60GB hard drive; a Wi-Fi module capable of accessing 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g networks; and an integrated EvDO wireless broadband module.

Click here to read a review of Lenovos ThinkPad X60s. The nc6320 that we tested featured the 2GHz Intel Core Duo T2500 processor, 512MB of DDR2 RAM and a 100GB hard drive. The laptop can also be purchased with the Core Duo T2300 or T2600 or the Core Solo T1300 processors.

We received an early build that was configured before final pricing options were determined. However, a similar laptop with HPs SmartBuy configuration—including an 80GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM—costs $1,799.

The nc6320 uses Intels GMA 900 with up to 128MB of shared system memory. The 15-inch display has a 1,400-by-1,050-pixel resolution and a 4-3 aspect ratio. IT managers purchasing laptops with Microsofts Windows Vista in mind should note that Intels GMA 900 does support Vistas Aero Glass features.

Click here to read a review of Dells Latitude D620. Business travelers can keep in contact via a variety of connectivity options. The system we evaluated was equipped with standard tri-band Intel Pro/Wireless 3945ABG wireless and Bluetooth connectivity.

Our unit also had an integrated WWAN antenna and radio that provided broadbandlike speed wirelessly over Verizons EvDO network.

The nc6320s keyboard makes very little noise—a nice touch for people who like to bring their laptops to meetings or use them on mass transit. The keyboard features a touch-pad and an optional biometric reader (priced at $149) that secures the notebook in conjunction with a TPM.

The nc6320 comes with a set of management utilities that allows users to manage the biometric fingerprint reader along with other aspects of the laptop, including hard drive protection. The management suite of tools also includes backup and restore software.

The nc6320 has four USB ports, IEEE1392a support and a Type I/II PCMCIA card slot. Our unit also had a dual-layer LightScribe DVD+/-RW. (LightScribe allows users to burn a label onto a CD or DVD directly from the disk drive.)

The feature that made the nc6320 really stand out, however, is the integrated seven-in-one digital media reader. The reader, which comes standard with the laptop, supports SD (Secure Digital), MMC (Multi-Media Card), Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, xD, SmartMedia and Memory Stick Duo. Direct competitors, such as Lenovos ThinkPad T60, on the other hand, dont support any digital media readers.

With the extended battery, our unit had a BAPCO MobileMark score of 264, or 4 hours and 24 minutes of battery life.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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