WHAT'S HOT: HP's latest low-end business notebook offers lots of bang for relatively few bucks. The Omnibook XT6050 mostly sticks to the tried-and-true Omnibook design: It has a relatively slim two-tone case, a good keyboard with touchpad lock, a modular bay on the front with a push-in, slide-out side release, and a relatively light weight of 6.5 pounds, including the power adapter and an 8X DVD-ROM drive. Without the power adapter and with a travel module instead of an optical drive, the XT6050 weighs just 5.4 pounds.
The XT6050's other warm-swappable bay options--a combination optical drive, a SuperDisk drive, a Zip 250 drive, and a second 30GB hard drive--are the same ones that are used in all Omnibooks, which could be convenient for businesses who want to buy several notebooks and share the peripherals. The XT6050 made an impressive 4.5-hour showing in our battery tests, the longest time we've seen yet for an Omnibook. A quartet of application shortcut buttons adds one-touch convenience.
WHAT'S NOT: Like all of HP's latest notebooks, this one lacks a floppy drive: A USB floppy drive will cost you an additional $43. Though HP provides round-the-clock tech support seven days a week, the company doesn't offer a toll-free line.
WHAT ELSE: Unlike its predecessor, the Omnibook 6100, the XT6050 lacks dual pointing devices. But it has everything else mainstream users might want. It comes with all standard notebook connections and ports; wireless readiness, including an on/off button with status LED, is an extra-cost option that was in our unit. Parts, such as the removable (but not upgradeable) 30GB hard drive, are easy to access. A combined volume-control/mute button on the right side makes volume adjustments easy--although the sound quality is only so-so. You get all the documentation necessary in both print and on-screen forms. The XT6050 racked up good numbers in our application-based speed tests, pulling down a PC WorldBench 4 score of 96, solid performance for a 1.13-GHz/733-MHz Pentium III-M notebook.
UPSHOT: The $2099 Omnibook XT6050 throttles back features in favor of a more reasonable price. Its moderate configuration should suit most mobile professionals just fine.
By Carla Thornton