HP Compaq nw8240 review

Price when reviewed

You get generous numbers of ports around the nw8240’s chassis, and they’re thoughtfully placed too. Two USB ports on the right – separated enough that it’s unlikely two connectors will physically interfere – will deal with an external keyboard and mouse, while you can pop a USB flash drive into a third port on the left. The only obvious omissions are a parallel port and PS/2 connectors, but a serial port is still present. Mini-FireWire, fast infrared, Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet, a 56K modem, an S-Video output, VGA and audio out complete the comprehensive output picture. The optical drive is, naturally, a dual-layer DVD writer.

HP Compaq nw8240 review

In terms of everyday application performance, the HP is a touch behind the Elonex MediaStar, but the nw8240 was actually 1 per cent faster than our reference Pentium D desktop PC in our 2D graphics tests. And if you want to play the occasional game, you won’t be too disappointed: at 1,280 x 1,024, the nw8240 managed 24fps in Far Cry even with anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing.

Battery life is respectable enough for lightweight work, pulling in four hours, 28 minutes under light use. Heavyweight CPU and hard disk grinding brought that down to one hour, 40 minutes. Considering all the power it contains and size of the screen, the nw8240 is no bucket of lard. At just 2.8kg, it’s a full 400g lighter than the H230, enough to make a noticeable difference when carrying it around.

The nw8240 impresses us by being focused and rational in its design and, as a result, getting everything almost exactly spot on. If price is an issue, you could get a faster, lighter machine for less, but this level of quality never comes cheap.

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