HP nx7300 Review
by Mladen Djordjevic, Serbia
HP nx7300 running Kubuntu Linux (view large image)
The HP Compaq nx7300 represents the latest available notebook in the HP nx series. The nx7300 is a Core 2 Duo budget laptop with a 15.4” widescreen display. Although it doesn’t offer anything out of the ordinary, design simplicity and solid build quality make it a formidable contender in the sub $1,100 price range. Obviously, HP with this models targets students and small businesses with a tight budget. Configurations vary greatly, you can get anything from a Celeron M up to a Core 2 Duo T7200 processor.
The configuration of the reviewed HP nx7300 is as follows:
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 1.66 Ghz
- OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (SP2)
- Hard Drive: Toshiba 120 GB 5400 rpm
- RAM: 2 GB DDRII SDRAM (667MHz) (2x1GB), max 4 GB
- Screen: 15.4” WXGA (1280×800) BrightView (glossy) display
- Graphics: Intel GMA950
- Optical Drive: multi-format DVD/CD burner
- Wireless: Intel 3945 Pro 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth
- Dimensions: 30mm x 357mm x 260mm
- Weight: 2.54kg
- Battery: 6 cell (43Wh)
Reasons for buying:
I was looking for a reliable laptop, mainly for software development. It needed to have a good price-to-value ratio and good connectivity options. This is my second laptop, as I was previously the proud owner of a Dell e1505. In my decision process I also considered the Toshiba M100-221, Acer 5633 and Asus F3T. The Acer had poor battery life, the Asus an AMD processor I didn’t want and the Toshiba was too small at 14.1”.
Where and How Purchased:
This laptop was bought at the local computer store for 950 Euros + 120 Euros for a 1GB memory upgrade. It has a 1-year limited warranty. I think I got a good deal, because in Serbia online shopping is still in an early phase of development, so internet coupons and discounts are in the very, very distant future. In the U.S. and certain other countries it can be purchased from HP.com online.
Build & Design:
HP nx7300 running Windows (view large image)
The design is very similar to other laptops in the nx series. It will not win any beauty pageants, or turn the heads of your classmates. It is very simple and modest (personally, I like this kind of design). The entire laptop is black, except the lid cover, which is a dark gray. There are speakers situated on both sides of the keyboard, so they don’t ruin your typing experience. The main exhaust is on the left side so the hot air won’t bother you when you use an external USB mouse (if you are right handed that is). Overall, the HP engineers did a god job with the functionality and practical implementation in designing the laptop. The nx7300 is very thin and light considering its screen size. Don’t let its size fool you though, the build quality is great, a big step forward from my previous Dell e1505. It is made of sturdy, solid plastic, and it gives a feeling of sturdiness. The LCD is well protected and doesn’t ripple when the lid is firmly pressed. The hinges seem sturdy and well damped.
HP nx7300 lid (view large image)
(view large image)
The HP nx7300 has a 15.4” WXGA (1280×800) BrightView screen. I didn’t expect too much from the screen, so I was very surprised by how bright it was. The colors are very crisp and vivid. However, I was a little bit disappointed with viewing angles. The horizontal viewing angle is acceptable, but the vertical angles are very poor. Even with a small augmentation of angle the colors distort really fast.
The resolution of 1280×800 is more convenient for a 14.1” display, the sweet spot for 15.4” is 1440×900 in my opinion.
The Screen has light leakage all over the place, but surprisingly this is unnoticeable when I am doing regular work and can only really be seen on an all black background. The glossy display is ideal for indoor use when watching movies on it, but it is practically useless for outdoors or places with a strong light source behind you due to the amount of reflection.
The speakers are acceptable for everyday use. This is no multimedia notebook, so don’t expect too much out of them. The sound is crisp, but lacks volume. I use an external Logitech X230 speaker set when watching DVD’s.
Processor and Performance:
Although this laptop is equipped with a basic 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo processor it is very fast due to the 2 GB of RAM (667 MHZ) on board. It is noticeably faster than my desktop Athlon XP2000+ system. So far I haven’t managed to give it a task that takes a long time to process. However, in my line of work you don’t have any CPU intensive applications. Provided the hard disk spins at 5400 rpm, with 2GB of RAM and a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo you’ll have good overall performance.
PCMark05 System Results Comparison
PCMark05 tests the system performance as a whole:
|HP nx7300 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||3,017 PCMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia Go 7400)||4,124 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||2,994 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)||3,487 PCMarks|
|Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX)||5,597 PCMarks|
|Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)||3,637 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,646 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,427 PCMarks|
Super Pi Comparison Results
Super Pi forces the processor to calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy and gives an idea of the processor speed and performance:
|HP Compaq nx7300 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 21s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 22s|
|LG S1 (2.16 GHz Core Duo)||1m 11s|
|Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 16s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)||1m 18s|
|Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 29s|
|Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)||1m 53s|
Heat and Noise:
This is a very quiet laptop. Apart from startup fan noise, you will rarely have the opportunity to hear it. All the heat dissipates on the bottom side of laptop, so your hands won’t be sweaty as you type. It doesn’t get too hot so it’s comfortable to use it on your lap. The only thing that generates some noise is the DVD-RW drive. Although it is not the loudest drive on the market, it can be a little bit annoying.
Keyboard and Touchpad:
(view large image)
The keyboard is a key feature for this laptop. It is very solid and has quick response time. In a word it is “fantastic”. Every key provides firm feedback and feels individual, so there is no flex at all. There are 4 extra buttons on the keyboard (Wireless/Bluetooth switch, Mute, Volume up and Volume down). The Enter button is double sized, which is a good thing, however I would like to see the left Shift button to be a little bit wider. The touchpad is ok for basic use and the mouse buttons below it are made of rubber which is a cool thing. Overall the keyboard and touchpad experience is quite impressive.
Input and Output Ports:
The nx7300 has a standard business palette of ports:
- 3 USB 2.0 ports (1 on the left, 2 on the right)
- PCMCIA card slot (left side)
- FireWirePort (left side)
- Monitor out port (rear side)
- Modem port (left side)
- Ethernet LAN port (left side)
- Microphone jack(right side)
- Headphone line-out (right side)
- Power jack (rear side)
- Kensington lock (left side)
The nx7300 unfortunately lacks a memory card reader.
Front view of nx7300 (view large image)
Left side view of nx7300 (view large image)
Right side view of nx7300 (view large image)
Rear view of nx7300 (view large image)
The included Intel 3945 Pro wireless card works without any problems in both Windows and Linux.
The HP nx7300 has a 6-cell (43Wh) high capacity battery which gives it about 3h 45min in word processing tasks with low brightness. If you want to watch DVD’s it will give you approximately 2 hours.
Operating System and Software:
You can order the nx7300 with Free Dos, Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional. Mine came with Windows XP Home edition. The included software consisted of 30-days of Norton Antivirus, Intervideo WinDVD, and a bunch of HP security software. HP doesn’t provide you with recovery disks, but there is a provided application that allows you to burn them. I haven’t managed to test all of the supplied programs, because I prefer the Linux Kubuntu OS over Windows, and use it as my default system.
I haven’t had a chance to use customer support. The laptop comes with a 1 year limited warranty. You can buy an HP care pack that extends your warranty for one more year.
If you are a student looking for a reliable, sturdy laptop for things such as software development or just word processing or if you have a tight budget and don’t want to bother about Linux compatibility, then look no further, the HP nx7300 will provide you the best bang for the buck. However, be prepared to say goodbye to your gaming collection, because there are slim chances you’ll playing any of them. In that case you may want to look for some notebook with a dedicated graphic card solution.
- Great build quality
- Excellent keyboard
- Stays cool and quiet under normal use
- Good computing performance in non-3D applications
- Bright display
- Solid battery life
- Poor vertical viewing angles
- No dedicated graphic option
- Questionable design
- No memory card reader