by Eric Wong
First and foremost I’ll start off by saying that this laptop is not appropriate for everyone. The nx7300 is an HP Compaq business line notebook designed for cost-conscious business enthusiasts. Being a “budget” business laptop the nx7300 excludes luxury features such as a fingerprint reader, ambient light sensors, or dedicated video card. All of which are/can be included in the more expensive virtually identical nc8430. Being a business laptop it lacks consumer oriented staples like a media card reader and fancy multimedia buttons.
So why on earth would you consider this laptop? Well, like I said before the nx7300 is not for everyone. The appeal of this notebook is the build quality, reliability, durability, and affordability. The NX7300 is arguably on the upper echelon of the laptop quality/price spectrum. A relatively low-cost price tag with superb build quality makes for a great combination, especially for people looking for a professional looking yet cost friendly laptop.
HP nx7300 laptop (view large image)
The configuration of my nx7300 is as follows:
Total Cost with tax: $1068.53 CDN ($954 USD)
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Reasons for Buying
After three years of lugging around an eight pound Gateway laptop caught off the shores of your nearest BestBuy, I decided that I had built enough muscle from carrying around this deadweight all over campus. Not only was it heavy but it was power hungry, the Pentium 4 sucked battery life like a starved Vampire. I decided I needed an affordable, durable, relatively power friendly, lightweight notebook. I decided that it would only be used for work/school and movies, games, music, or in other words anything fun would be limited to my desktop. After weeks of searching with these parameters in mind, I narrowed it down to the NX7300.
Where and How Purchased
This notebook was bought directly from HPshopping.ca. I got this when HP had their 10-15% online savings deal, so I saved over $120, plus HP were offering a mail-in-rebate for an additional $100 off. My online receipt said my nx7300 would come with Win XP Pro, but when I received the laptop it actually came with Vista Business.
Build & Design
The HP NX series laptops all have very similar designs. The lid is a dark gray with the staple HP logo in the middle, the rest of the laptop is black. I personally like the look; it’s simple, modern-looking, and professional. Black never goes out of style, just ask Steve Jobs.
HP nx7300 on the left, old Gateway notebook on the right (view large image)
The lid is built solidly, there is no looseness when you open or close the lid. I can press hard on it with no ripples on the screen.
Screen hinge (view large image)
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I chose the 1280 x 800 Brightview display (glossy). Don’t buy this laptop and expect too much from the screen, because you might be disappointed. But if you have realistic expectations about what a budget laptop can get you, you’ll be satisfied. Viewing angles are satisfactory but colors warp when you’re viewing off angle by just a bit.
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The speakers are actually pretty good, to my ears at least. Sound is very subjective. What sounds good to one person might not sound good to another. What I can tell you for sure is that there is no crackling or hissing even at medium-high volume, music sounds clear and overall I would rate the speakers as above average.
Processor and Performance
The Core 2 Duo T5500 is the lower end model of the Core 2 Duo’s, but nonetheless it’s still very capable and powerful. It outperforms my desktop with a Pentium 4 2.8 GHz processor by miles. For comparison sake my p4 had a time of 1:59s on Super Pi while the T5500 had a time of 1:18s when calculating Pi to 2 million digits.
Heat and Noise
The notebook is is relatively cool, the CPU runs at about 37c. There are vents on the side of the laptop as well as a fan which is located on the left hand side. For noise factor, well it’s virtually non-existent. This is perfect for a work environment, like a library. The only time it gets noisy is when the CD-rewriter burns discs. Other than that I can almost guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the noise level.
Keyboard and Touchpad
HP nx7300 keyboard (view large image)
This is THE leading reason why I like this laptop so much, for its splendid keyboard and touchpad with the design, feel, and comfort that is unparallel to any other budget laptop. My old Gateway has got nothing on this.
The full-size keyboard has a grainy, sandpaper feel to it, which makes it a treat to type on.
The touchpad is very sensitive and accurate and the mouse buttons are a pleasure to use. The mouse buttons are made up of some type of rubber substance. It doesn’t make any noise either which is great since I hate the clicking noise.
HP nx7300 touchpad (view large image)
Input and Output Ports
Left side view of nx7300 (view large image)
You don't get many multimedia buttons, just your average mute, volume control, Wi-Fi, and power buttons. The LED lights are all located on the left hand side, you get your basic Wi-Fi, power, charging, and processing light. This laptop just has your basic inputs: 3 USB, firewire, cd/dvd-rw drive, serial port, headphones, PC card slot, and microphone jack.
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Battery and Wireless
The nx7300 comes with a 6-cell battery, but you can upgrade to their 8-cell or 12-cell. Following are some battery life results with the 6-cell:
The nx7300 uses the Intel Pro wireless a/b/g card. I’ve only had the chance to use it at my university and to be honest it didn’t impress me too much. I get the same reception as I do with my 3 year old Gateway. It’s perfectly capable of holding a signal at decent range. Maybe I was expecting too much with the “Pro”.
Not recommended for everyone, design wise there is very few flaws if any. But lacks items you might miss like a media reader, Bluetooth, additional USB ports, and DVI port. But for those looking for an affordable business laptop that is durable, relatively lightweight, powerful, with excellent build quality, look no further -- the nx7300 is for you.
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