Compaq Presario 724EA
I bought this Notebook when I lived in Belgium. It originally came in French but a quick telephone call to the Compaq customer services and they sent me the Rescue CDs in English.
I paid about 1000 euros (which was about £700 at the time) for it 3 years ago.
The speed of the Compaq Presario 724EA is 1.2 GHz and it's AMD Duron, which made it unbelievable fast 3 years ago and still is about the same as the PC I use now.
The notebook is 31.5 cm x 26.9 cm x 4.2 cm in dimension and weighs about 3 kilograms. It's black with a silver edging and it has the emblem COMPAQ in the middle of the laptop case.
It came with MS Windows XP Home edition (French and English) and Norton Anti Virus 2001 (French and English), which isn't really a big assortment but I didn't mind as I still had a lot of software from my dad's old PC and his new one as well.
The monitor is a 14.1" TFT and it's maximum resolution is 1024 x 768. It's like a LCD monitor and was unreadable in sunlight, which was quite annoying if you wanted to use it on a train and there was no blinds etc. It had a Graphics Processor / Vendor VIA ProSavage KN133 - AGP 4x and Video Memory Shared Video Memory (UMA) and the Max Resolution (external) was 1600 x 1200.
Keyboard was a standard AZERTY (which is the norm in Belgium). Never ever try and clean the keyboard by removing the keys, which can easily done but can do much more harm than good. I did this and now one of the keys at the bottom is loose and unreparable.
CDRW/DVD was integrated into the notebook. Read speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD) and write speed for the CD was 8x.
It has a hard disk of 20GB and the RAM on mine was 256MB, which could be upgraded to a maximum of 768MB. It also had an in-built floppy disk drive.
It has built in mouse and stereo speakers. The built in mouse isn't really meant for long term usage so it's best to have an external mouse as well because after three years, the built in mouse doesn't respond as well as it used to do. The same goes for the stereo speakers. If you are a teenager, which I was at the time when I got this Notebook, it's better to have external speaker because with loud music over an extended period of time, the speakers begin to crackle a bit.
The microphone plug and the headphone plug is at the side of the floppy disk. I loved it as there was no fiddling to get your microphone working. It was so easy to access and so was the headphone plug.
It has a Fax / modem - mini PCI 56kps which worked quite well when my broadband Tiscali wouldn't work when I moved to a new house.
At the back of the notebook, it has a pull down flap that protected the interfaces when you travel with it. The interfaces the notebook has are:
It has two USB ports (version 1) which isn't that many when you consider that your scanner, printer, digital camera or modem has to run from them.
A generic - 6 pin mini-DIN (PS/2 style) so you could add another keyboard or use a proper mouse instead of the built-in one.
A parallel port for an old fashioned printer.
The Ethernet interface is very useful as it makes the Cable box that comes with NTL broadband work faster than it would work with the USB ports.
A display / video - S-video output port and a display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15) (Video Output Supported NTSC, PAL) port so with the right cables, you could connect your notebook to your TV and watch DVDs or even the windows desktop. At that time, I didn't have a DVD that hooked up to the TV so this was really useful and sometimes, I wouldn't be able to find my notebook as people like my parents had nicked it from my room, so they could watch DVDs on the downstairs TV. (Tisk tisk parents, aye?)
Also you could connect the videoplayer to the notebook and watch the video on the Notebook or transfer the video onto the Notebook but I never really got the hang off that.
It could be run by the battery or the main power in the house. The battery type is Li-ion 14.8V 4400mAh Black and would last up to about 4 hours in my experience but the older the battery got, the shorter time it could last. The battery has a life span of up to 620 cycles and I'm sure I used it beyond its limits. A new battery is quite expensive but without the battery, you still can use it through just the AC adapter.
The laptop can overheat especially if you use it for long periods of time. Do not place it on your lap all the time as it can give you a heat rash and minor burns on your legs.
On the outside of the case, there are two cracks where the hinges are for supporting the monitor are. The monitor is quite lose now and you always have to keep tightening up the screw to stop the monitor for crack off all together. My friend had the same one as me and his monitor just cracked off its hinges about 2 years ago so that's a problem.
It had a 2-year guarantee any problems, that I had were always sorted by looking at the Compaq Support website or phone them up.
The notebook came with AC adapter cable, a battery, 2 recovery cds (4 if you counted the French ones I had as well) and instruction manual.
All in all, I probably used this laptop far too much as I don't think it was meant for 20 hour usage a day. I did have some small teething problems with it after the first three months but I updated my BIOS system for the Compaq support and it was good as new. The battery went in about a year and it actually did slightly burnt the tops of my legs. The laptop now is much better behaved as I only use it for about an hour a day.
I wouldn't recommend to this people because of the burning to my legs. A laptop just shouldn't be able to do that to your legs or at least, it should have had a warning with it.
If it wasn't for all the design faults with this computer. (The overheating and the hinges that keep the monitor stable or don't keep it stable), it would have been the best computer in the world but we could say that about every PC or Notebook we have owned.