HP may be one of the largest suppliers of notebooks in the world, after Dell it's ranked second worldwide, so why do their machines lack that “must have” factor of the likes of Sony and Apple? For the main part, HP works to the keep-it-simple approach and just take care of business.
Which segues neatly with the arrival of the HP Compaq nx6125, which so clearly is taking care of business, users that is. This is the first Compaq to sport an AMD processor and it has taken the arrival of the Turion 64-bit processor to make an impression. Turion is being billed as the rival to Intel's all-dominant Pentium M chip and while we've yet to see any real battery gains from the Turion, the use of 64-bit processing means its more than powerful enough for notebook use.
At this price point you find the Turion 64 ML-30 CPU running at 1.6GHz and is complemented by 512MB DDR SDRAM and a Seagate 60GB hard drive with a 5400rpm rotational speed. As a base specification this isn't too bad but if you consider that the nx6125 has a list price of £645 (inc. VAT) and suddenly you're looking at something special. In use, we found that this notebook could more than handle daily tasks. If you want to edit a little video or audio, it'll more than handle that too.
The 15-inch TFT panel uses standard technology, so you won't find an anti-glare layer, but this is a small sacrifice to pay as its bright and clear. In terms of graphics, you'll find the ATi Mobility Radeon X300 GPU, which is entry-level standard but is far better than opting for an integrated solution. With the inclusion of a TEAC dual-format DVD rewriter, large amounts of data can be backed up on DVD+ or DVD- discs. RecordNow! software is also included for creating CDs and DVDs, while InterVideo WinDVD plays movies.
Built with the corporate market in mind you'll find that the slate-grey chassis looks more like a ThinkPad from IBM than a Sony VAIO but it's still a relatively attractive machine. The main focus though has to be the build quality, which is robust and strong, you get the feeling that this notebook will take some serious damage and still come up fighting. Once again, this harks back to the concerns of the business buyer, who wants something a little more than just good looks.
Weighing in at 2.9kg, it isn't really ultraportable but we managed to get just less than 4 hours of battery life out of the system without too much trouble.
As if to remind you that this has been designed with business use in mind, the nx6125 comes with a biometric fingerprint scanner and the option of adding a Smart Card reader, which are controlled and managed using the HP ProtectTools security manager.
The HP Compaq nx6125 could well be the saving grace of the budget notebook market. Not only does it come in at an attractive price it also has the build quality and the physical clout to make this a notebook not only corporate users but also home users will be looking to buy.