A Durable, Affordable Portable

Targeting small business owners and cost-conscious professionals, HP designed the Compaq nx6125 notebook with security, durability and connectivity in mind. Starting at $999 (our upgraded test unit cost $1,249 as of July, 2005), the nx6125 is the latest offering in HP “Thin and Light Notebook” line. While it wouldn’t be our first choice for a full-on desktop replacement, it’s well suited to small business or education environments where several people share notebooks or where employees work away from the office.

With the release of the nx6125, HP reintroduces AMD’s mobile processor in its notebooks (expect to see AMD mobile technology in certain future HP notebooks). The AMD Turion 64 processor lets you run today’s standard 32-bit applications but stands ready to make the switch to 64-bit computing when future applications arrive sometime next year.

Portable, Comfortable and Durable
At first glace you can see that comfort, convenience and portability were key elements in this notebook’s design. Coming in at 6.1 pounds (review configuration), the nx6125 is bit on the heavy side compared to other notebooks in the Thin and Light family, but it’s still light enough for travel.

The nx6125 features a bright, clear 15-inch screen, which is available as either TFT XGA display (1024 x 768 resolution and 16 M colors) or a higher-resolution TFT SXGA + wide-viewing angle display (1400 x 1050 resolution and 16 M colors). Higher resolution displays let you spend less time scrolling through documents and Web pages.

The full-pitch layout keyboard scored big points with us, as it leaves ample space for comfortable keyboarding. A comfortable keyboard is especially important if you plan to use the notebook as a desktop replacement or find yourself doing overtime with data entry, writing, or e-mailing on the road or from home.

It includes editing keys, left and right controls, alt keys and 12 function keys. You’ll also find handy hotkeys that let you configure instant access to volume controls, the HP Info center and a presentation mode to launch multimedia files such as video clips, Powerpoint or MP3s.

The roomy touchpad provides two slightly contoured mouse buttons to make your quick clicks a little easier and more accurate. The touchpad also features guidelines down the right-hand side to help make scrolling a bit easier. While this isn’t necessarily a feature seasoned notebook users would use often, it will be an asset to those who are not so familiar with the often quirky and difficult to use notebook touchpad.

This average-looking steel-gray 12.9″x10.5″x1.22″ notebook may not turn heads or win any beauty awards, but its durability — and features designed to keep your notebook looking new — make up for the rather plain-Jane design. The nx6125 features scratch-resistant lamination and a spill-resistant keyboard to minimize the risk of damaging critical components. It also includes the HP Panel Protection System that helps prevent scuff marks and scratches on the display.

Inside the nx6125
HP built the nx6125 around AMD’s Turion 64 Mobile Technology processor as opposed to a more expensive Intel processor. HP offers a choice of processor speeds beginning with the entry-level ML-28 (512-KB L2 cache, 1.6-GHz) and maxing out at the ML-37 (1-MB L2 cache, 2.0-GHz), which is the processor in our test system.

HP chose ATI Mobility Radeon Xpress 300M as the notebook’s integrated graphics solution, which unfortunately eats up 128MB of your system memory. You may want to configure your system with more memory, and while you’re at it, consider upgrading the entry-level 40GB hard drive to something a bit more substantial.

We like the notebook’s optional Smart card Reader. It provides easy access to stored data from devices such as an MP3 player or digital camera. You simply remove the smart media from the device, pop it into the Smart Card Reader located on the front of the notebook, and transfer the data to your notebook. This excellent little feature lets you access data from common Smart Media cards without having to connect the individual devices to the notebook.

Our test unit came configured with the following hardware:

  • Processor speed: AMD Turion 64 mobile ML37, 2.0GHZ
  • Memory size: 512MB, DDR
  • System chipset: ATI RS480
  • Graphics adapter/card: ATI Mobility Radeon X300
  • Graphics Memory: UMA
  • Resolution and color depth: 1024×768
  • LCD: 15-inch XGA
  • Hard Drive: 60GB
  • Operating system: XP Professional
  • Battery: Lithium-Ion

    You’ll find the complete range of features, options and standard upgrades for the nx6125 on HP Web site.

    The nx6125 offers HP ProtectTools to help prevent unauthorized access to your notebook and network. It features the integrated HP Biometric Fingerprint Sensor to provide extra protection. The nx6125 stores fingerprint information for up to five people, making it an excellent choice for shared computing environments. Other security features include pre-installed Norton AntiVirus, and HP Drivelock, which will help prevent the data on your hard drive from being compromised if your notebook is lost or stolen.

    Networking and Communications
    After connecting the notebook to a 100Mpbs Ethernet-based LAN, we were online and sharing files in just minutes. The pre-loaded HP software provides automatic network detection, meaning all you have to do is enter the correct IP address. The nx6125 comes standard with a 10/100/1000 NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet Controller and 56K modem. For wireless connectivity, you choose between 802.11b/g WLAN or 802.11a/b/g WLAN. Bluetooth is optional.

    Battery Life and Warranty
    The nx6125 includes a six-cell, high-capacity Lithium-Ion battery, capable of keeping a charge for up to three hours and 45 minutes, which our testing verified as accurate within six minutes. If you need longer battery life, you may want to look at the optional HP travel battery, which extends the battery life up to a total of seven and a half hours — almost a full workday. The notebook also includes an external 65-Watt slim AC adapter and six-foot power cord.

    The HP Compaq nx6125 Notebook includes a three-year parts and labor warranty, which you can, of course, upgrade with the purchase of an HP Care Pack.

    Nice Price — HP’s latest business-oriented notebook emphasizes value and durability. You gotta like that.

    Pre-Loaded OS and Software
    Our test version came with Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2. After setting up the basic country origin and time settings, the notebook was up and running with Windows XP professional within four minutes. Other available operating systems include Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP2 or FreeDOS.

    While the HP Compaq nx6125 notebook doesn’t come preloaded with any of the more common (and more expensive) business software packages, it does offer a small selection of software and tools to get your notebook work-ready. The preloaded software includes:

    • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    • HP Loca Recovery
    • HP One-touch Button Software
    • HP Mobile Print Driver
    • Synaptics Touchpad Driver
    • HP Help and Support
    • HP ProtectTools Security Manager: BIOS Configuration for HP ProtectTools
    • Credential Manager for HP ProtectTools
    • HP Wireless Assistant
    • Sonic RecordNow
    • Symantec Norton Antivirus with complimentary 60-day live update
    • Intervideo WinDVD — DVD Player (for optional DVD+/-RW, DVD/CDRW and DVD drives)

    You’ll find additional software available on HP Web site.

    The Final Verdict
    Overall the nx6125 offers more in terms of portability than performance. Small business owners and professionals who don’t want to spend a small fortune won’t find much to argue about with the HP Compaq nx6125. For a value-oriented notebook, it’s durable, easy to travel with and offers excellent features.

    Depending on your specific computing needs, you may be able to use it as a desktop PC but if you’re looking for a powerhouse desktop replacement, you should look at more than the budget-priced nx6125.

    Security and networking features make this an excellent choice for professionals who need to plug into different networks, work from home (or on the road) and need a solid, reliable notebook for business presentations or conferences.

    Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Vangie Beal has been writing about computers, games and technology since the early 90s. She’s also the managing editor of Webopedia.

    Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

  • Must Read

    Get the Free Newsletter!

    Subscribe to Daily Tech Insider for top news, trends, and analysis.