Apr 19 2007

HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6400

If you are searching for a business notebook PC that is big on features yet small in weight, then the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6400 may be just what you are looking for.

End-user Advantages

The nc6400 notebook is well balanced for mobility and power. It sports the newest Intel Core Duo processors, can be configured up to 4GB of RAM and has the option of discrete graphics, such as the ATI Mobility Radeon X1300. The discrete graphics option will be especially useful if you have upgraded to Microsoft Windows Vista.

The nc6400 is the lightest notebook with a 14.1-inch screen that I have used. While many users are torn between the travel-friendly 12.1- and the larger 15 /15.4-inch screen, I find a 14.1-inch screen to be a happy medium for a notebook PC.

Why it works for IT

Connectivity and security are the two strong points that any business or IT professional is sure to love.

The nc6400 offers an internal EV-DO module for Internet access that provides connectivity practically anywhere you can get a cell phone signal. In larger cities that have EV-DO, you will be able to achieve broadband-type speeds. This is a separate service provided through Verizon Wireless, which charges a $60 to $80 monthly fee. Typically, users have to use an external PCMCIA or ExpressCard to do this, but it’s built into the nc6400. Just open and turn on your notebook, and you’re online.

These days security can’t be overlooked, and it’s something that HP kept in mind when designing the nc6400. At a software level, it comes with HP’s ProtectTools, a set of utilities that complement and increase security provided by Microsoft programs. These HP tools integrate with the standard Smart Card reader, fingerprint reader and TPM security chip.

HP’s Mobile Data Protection System 3D offers both passive and active protection in the event of shock, vibration or a fall. The hard drive stops if the accelerometer detects abnormal operation to protect the integrity of the drive and your data. 


It is hard to find major disadvantages with this notebook PC, which competes most directly with the Lenovo ThinkPad T60.

While I generally love the form factor of this system, I am disappointed by the sharpness of the edges around the wrist pads. Proper ergonomics probably will tell you not to rest your wrists there in the first place, but I couldn’t help notice the edges digging into my wrists. All the edges should be smooth or rounded, and not sharp.

Another disadvantage is one that IT professionals who deal with network appliances might experience. The nc6400 lacks a serial port, a device that comes in handy for making physical connections to equipment, such as switches and routers. This probably isn’t an issue for most people, but I have had the need for this on several occasions.


Overall, the nc6400 is a great notebook PC that takes advantage of the latest technologies, while providing mobility. If the minor disadvantages don’t pose problems, the nc6400 may be notebook utopia for the business or IT user.

CDW Price: Starting at $1,199.99

Greg Ashbaugh is an IT systems administrator, and the owner of AshbaughOnline.com, a technology site that includes news, reviews and tutorials.