HP's new flagship business portable has a 17-inch WXGA screen and weighs 3.35kg, so it ranks among the lightest notebooks in its category. If no other surface is available, the HP Compaq nx9420 feels perfectly comfortable perched on your lap, huge screen and all.
The keyboard is terrific: Its mouse buttons are extremely comfortable because of their soft texture and ability to depress deeply. The separate numerical keypad is topped by a button that handily launches the Windows calculator. Battery life is above average at three hours and its speed is excellent. The notebook is equipped with the fastest of Intel's new dual-processing chips (the 2.16GHz Core Duo T2600) and 1GB of RAM.
The design is as elegant as its charcoal-coloured case, with pale but readily discernible icons stenciled on top of the case to identify side connections, and with a plastic bottom sleeve to hold business cards.
Our review unit included a smallish 80GB hard drive (100GB is the largest size available), a fixed DVD burner, a FireWire port, four USB ports, a front-mounted seven-in-one memory card slot, and a SmartCard reader. The nx9420 lacks the great sound and music buttons of the notebook it replaces, the heavier Compaq nx9600. It also omits its predecessor's side connection for HP's xb2000 docking station with stereo speakers (though it does work with a different HP docking station that offers a modular bay and an ExpressCard slot).
Still, with its superb combination of weight and a big screen, the nx9420 will probably soon have its own loyal fans among on-the-go professionals who need a great presentation notebook.