Quantcast Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

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  1. #1
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    Default Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    I have recently bought a Compaq Presario C710ED for somebody. The notebook was bought in The Netherlands, Europe. I wasn't able to find any review or user feedback about it before buying, so I think this compact review might be useful to some.

    Configuration

    CPU: Core Duo T2310, 1.46GHz / 1MB L2 cache
    GPU: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
    RAM: DDR2 1GB = 2x512MB, no free slots
    HDD: Fujitsu 120GB 5400 RPM
    ODD: DVD RW SuperMulti
    LCD: WXGA 15.4"
    BATT: 47 Wh
    WLAN: IEEE 802.11b/g
    PORTS: 3xUSB, 100Mbps Ethernet, Modem, VGA out, S-video out, line out (no SPDIF), line in, Kensington lock

    Weight and size:
    * 3.1 kg w/o batt, ~4kg w/batt, adapter, mouse, cables
    * 35,7 cm (l) x 25,7 cm (b) x 2,54 cm (min. h) / 3,96 cm (max. h) (advertised so please add 2mm for the feet)

    Full product spec sheet on hp.com

    Build quality and aesthetics

    Build quality is an important concern in the budget range that this Presario belongs to.

    * The build quality is quite good, without being excellent. There is some bending when picked up from one corner, and poking fairly hard in the back of the LCD causes ripples on the screen. The palmrest material is high-quality and picks up no smudges (it may be some carbon fiber alloy, but probably it's high-grade plastic). However the LCD cover and the bottom case (belly) are made of a lower-quality plastic that does pick up fingerprints that are not easy to remove.
    * The notebook looks well, and is quite elegant. It has an all-black chassis, and rounded corners. I especially like the LEDs which have a pleasant blue/orange color theme, and are placed near the elements they refer to (e.g., touchpad LED on the touchpad bezel, CAPS and Scroll leds near the respective keys). The touchpad and wireless LEDs are orange when they signal the "off" state, the rest are turned off in the "off" state (and then you can barely see them, they blend into the background). The "on" state for all the LEDs is a nice blue.
    * The keyboard feels a little soft and there is minor flex in some places. Key feedback is good.
    * It seems the front-right foot is a bit short, so the notebook wobbles a bit on a flat table...
    * There is a bit of wobble in the screen hinge as well.

    Performance

    * The CPU scored 1min34 seconds in SuperPI with 2 million digits. Given that my 2MB-cache 1.83GHz Core Duo scores 1min20sec, and considering that the T2310 has only half the cache, the score is respectable.
    * The GPU runs Aero very smoothly in WXGA. Vista gives the GPU a 3.1 in the Experience index, which might seem low; however as I said Aero is very smooth, so Vista just underestimates the card.
    * Other Vista scores range in 3.9 - 4.6 with the memory giving the 3.9.
    * The performance out of the box was reasonable. HP included very little auto-starting bloatware. I only had to remove the LightScribe tool -- the system doesn't have LightScribe --, Norton, and one or two other applications the names of which I don't remember. I installed AVG Free instead of Norton.
    * Vista feels a bit tight in the 1GB of RAM, it always uses around half of it. Given that the GPU also takes its share, that leaves precious little for applications. If you need the laptop for more than emailing, surfing, and document editing, upgrading to 2GB is a must. That means that you have to lose either one or both of the 512MB memory chips (depending on whether you want 1.5 or 2GB of RAM).

    Battery

    On battery saving profile, with Aero & Vista gadgets turned off, wireless on, and the screen around 50% brightness, I got a rundown time of 2hours 45 minutes, when starting from 85% battery. So the notebook will probably get around 3 hours on light tasks on a full battery.

    A few battery quirks:
    - when the battery is discharged only a few percent and then plugged back in, those few percent are not charged; instead the reported charge "jumps back" to 100%. This phenomenon disappears though as the charge becomes lower, and the battery starts charging normally.
    - the charge and discharge rate are not reported (or are reported as 0) to Windows. As a result, Windows cannot compute the remaining run time on battery power. There are other ACPI quirks, like the battery capacity being reported as 4.7 Wh instead of the correct 47 Wh to Linux.
    - there is a significant drop of battery charge (10 to 15%) overnight, when the computer is in hibernation. This is probably due to a device not being turned off in hibernation, which is either the fault of Vista or the BIOS.

    Screen quality

    Reasonable. Quite bright and vivid. Viewing angles are typical: horizontal good, vertical quite poor.

    Heat and noise

    The fan is always on (but can only be heard in a very quiet environment) and the exhaust air is warm without being hot. I did not bother installing software to get exact temp readings. As always, make sure to use the notebook on a flat and hard surface, because the air intakes are on the bottom.

    Layout (ports and others)

    The layout of ports is not good. All the ports are crammed onto the sides towards the user, so any devices and cables can disturb typing and using the mouse. 2 of the USB ports are to the right (where the mouse is) so that is diminishing the available mouse space. Also these 2 USB ports are very close together so unless the (plugs of the) USB devices are very slim, you're not going to be able to plug two of them in these neighboring ports at the same time.

    There are no ports on the back since the hinge is Macbook-style.

    The vent is on the left-hand side.

    The battery goes to the back of the computer. This means you will need two hands to open the notebook, and to tilt the screen back (otherwise the notebook will lift to follow the screen).

    Miscellanea

    You can select the OS language upon boot, but this selection cannot be changed afterwards (because the recovery partition is rebuilt to accommodate your choice).
    It takes a large amount of time (over 1 hour) to make the 2 recovery DVDs from the partition.
    I also find it annoying that a clean Windows installation is impossible to obtain using the recovery partition; and on top of that, that a driver & applications CD is not included separately. This means that if you want to install a fresh copy of Windows without the bloatware, you will (a) need to have your own installation disk to do it, and (b) need to invest time into searching for and downloading drivers for every hardware component. To keep things in perspective, I will emphasize again that very little bloatware was included, so the lack of a clean Windows install possibility is not a major issue.

    Conclusion

    Pros:
    - Elegant looks
    - Good performance
    - Good build quality (but not excellent)
    - Good quality palm-rest
    - Very little or no bloatware

    Cons:
    - Plastic on LCD cover picks up smudges from fingers, that are difficult to remove
    - Bad port layout, and poor ports / connectivity
    - A bit on the heavy side
    - No possibility for a clean Windows install; no driver & applications disk

    Summary:

    The Compaq is a reasonable, mid-range quality machine for its price. I'm not sure if it has anything special besides its good looks.

    Hoping this helps,

    E.B.E.
    Last edited by E.B.E.; 30th April 2008 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Revision
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    nice review!
    +rep
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    Thanks.

    I've shutdown Vista last night and today the battery was at 100% on boot. So clearly, battery drain during hibernation is a Vista problem. I think 15% overnight is a bit too much to be considered reasonable in a state where the notebook is supposed to be off...
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    hey, i bought this same notebook! I'm on it right now. Bought it at a black friday sale (Staples) for only 349. I'm loving everything except vista's mem hog, and the usb ports are very very close. Anyone else have one?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    Congratulations. I think this is a fine notebook, especially considering its price.

    Check out my Vista Optimization guide. The bloatware is different (in actual fact, almost non-existent on the Compaq Presario), but the rest of the steps can be applied for a more efficient OS.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    Quote Originally Posted by Waterwizard11 View Post
    hey, i bought this same notebook! I'm on it right now. Bought it at a black friday sale (Staples) for only 349. I'm loving everything except vista's mem hog, and the usb ports are very very close. Anyone else have one?
    Yeah... I also bought one from Staples.
    With Vista it's so slow it feel like I'm using my old Dell B130.
    I really would really like to format and install XP over it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    Make it so.

    The drivers can be found here.
    http://gathering.tweakers.net/forum/...s/1245828/last

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    i like my laptop. i dont love it, but it's one to run with for a good two years or so...

    i find battery life to be its weakest point. especially after i found out tonight that there is only one battery available and its the stock one...

    i love the nice blue LED's, the tough build quality and the-in my opinion, great design. - tough as in my Bose Acoustimass 3 bass module bounced off the hinge area when i got too close settling it down. I heard a crack, which means something is probably broken, but so far, everything is fine.

    personally, i would have one side filled up with all the ports and slots rather than having wires everywhere. but i agree with you on the right hand USB slots... too close. i cant plug my flash drive and mouse bluetooth transthingmajigitter in at the same time.

    i love the screen. bright, vivid and clear!

    one thing i also dont like so much are the Altec Lansing speakers. yes, they definitely get loud, especially if you set the "Audio Format" to 24bit "Studio Quality". but then they start to distort and kill themselves. i think the right speaker of my lappy is damaged. it distorts at lower levels than the left...

    ONEMORE THING that i dont really like is the typical wear and tear... i hate the look of my touch pad... the middle is shiny and oily(even after i wipe it down with eye glass cleaner) and the rest is matte looking and dry. the same with my letter keys... some keys show more rubbing spots more than others, which is absolutely normal. but it reminds me that i've had my laptop for a while and i love to keep my tech the best it looks.

    ANOTHER THING that i mind is the way the right side of the laptop is designed. why the heck is the cd drive angled like that?
    its so much harder to pick up, which is why i suppose they made it easier to pick up at the dual usb ports...


    im typing too much.. i hope this adds onto your helpful and informative review of this notebook

    Thanks!
    <a href="http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/Gt5051/?action=view&current=notebookreviewsig-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c377/Gt5051/notebookreviewsig-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    Hi, actually batt life is quite reasonable (well, yeah, a bit on the low side if you consider the integrated graphics). ASUS notebooks for instance struggle to get to the 3 hours mark (and most of them don't make it)...

    The touchpad wearing out is indeed disturbing. But on the keys, I like a bit of shiny patches, it shows the notebook has been used (especially if the rest of the notebook it spotless, that says something about the build quality )
    I wouldn't know how it stands to wear and tear, because I bought it for someone else and haven't seen it since.

    I can say though that it is very tough. I dropped it from the luggage compartment in a passenger shuttle (one of those vans fitted with chairs) down to the floor. It was in its bag and off, sure, but it was still quite a hit. It showed no sign of damage and it works just fine.

    I don't remember how the ODD door is angled. I had no issues with it though (well, barely used the ODD actually).
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Compaq Presario C700 / C710ED -- A quick review

    nice review thanks and congrats

 

 
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