* Prices may differ from that shown
What I know and understand about the inner workings of a laptop or computer can be written in large capitals around the milled edge of a postage stamp; but then, I do not need to know the inner workings of a car to be able to drive one, and so it is with my laptop, a Compaq CQ60 -305EA Laptop.
~~~~A brief history of how I came to own my present laptop~~~~
My very first laptop was a Freebie from PC World, in August 2007, when Orange offered free laptops to anyone signing up with their broadband package.
Well, I could never resist a freebie. Until then I had refused to entertain the idea of inviting the World Wide Webb into my home - despite the constant nagging from my nephew. However, the lure of a free laptop was too much even for me to resist.
I remember the seller saying to me that I would be better off putting a few pounds towards a faster machine than the one on offer. I replied, that I had all the patience in the world - he laughed and muttered, something to the effect that I may have now, but would soon want a faster system. He was so right, but it was not until I had scraped most of the lettering off the keyboard and thought the laptop was on its last legs, that I thought to replace it before it expired completely.
Off I went to MicroBitz, our local computer shop, about 18 months ago. I told the sales man that I wanted a relatively inexpensive laptop that was faster than my old one. He showed me and demonstrated the latest Compaq CQ model, priced then at £346.96 plus VAT bringing it to £399.98 It was programmed with Vista Home Basic. The latest - Windows 7 had not at that time been established.
~~~~~What did I get for my £400~~~~~
A glossy black laptop, measuring 28cm x 24cm x 3.5cm - programmed with Vista Home basic.
Two recovery discs.
A 26-page user guide
Power cable , AC adaptor and USB cable.
A large poster-size, superbly illustrated, quick setup user guide.
An A5 sized bright red cardboard case to keep relevant documents and discs together and safe.
A 12 month warranty.
~~~~~Description and specifications~~~~~
Like the original Ford cars, the choice of colours for this laptop is glossy black or glossy black, with a shiny, silver metallic logo Q on the lid. The lid opens to reveal its 15.6" TFT screen (measured diagonally).
On the top of the screen is a web cam light, sat next to the webcam, both of which are set into the casing. An internal microphone is positioned to the right of the webcam.
The keyboard has lovely, flat, wide keys, with easy to see, white lettering and numbers. On each of the f-keys at the back are icons printed below the f-number illustrating pictorially their uses. To me, a valuable feature not seen on any keyboard I have ever used - freeing a bit more memory space in my brain.
Above the keyboard is the power button and wireless button which changes from red to blue when connected wirelessly to the router.
Below the keyboard is the touch pad, this has two elongated buttons, the equivalent of the mouse buttons, so they can be used in the same way as a mouse, rather than tapping the touch pad to select a program - and breaking your nails in the process. At the far right of the touch pad is a white line running from the top of the pad to the bottom, this is the area where the user can scroll the picture, by keeping the finger pressed firmly in that area.
Just above the pad is the touch pad on/off button, to switch off the pad, when a mouse is connected.
~~~Sockets and ports~~~~
On the left edge of the base are a series of ports, sockets and lights. These are as follows.
A power connector socket, next to which is a AC adaptor light,
An external monitor port,
An RJ-45 (network) Jack
An HDMI port
A USB port, A digital media slot for( SD cards) and slot light.
On the front edge are three small led lights for power, battery and drive, to indicate when on and functioning.
There is also a socket for an audio-out headphone jack and an audio-in microphone jack.
On the right edge of the base are another series of lights, slots, ports and sockets.
A light for the optical drive and the optical drive button. I had no idea what the optical drive was until I pressed the button - it was the media tray where DVDs are inserted. - well you live'n'learn.
There are two more USB ports,
An RJ-11 (modem) Jack for dial-up internet access, and also a security cable slot.
The laptop has a AMD Sempron SL-42 2.0Ghz processor,
160Gb Hard disc drive,
nvidia graphics ,
An Internal DVD writer,
a 5-in-1 card reader,
10/100 Lan and 802.11g wireless,
15.6" TFT Display with webcam
Microsoft Windows Vista Basic.
And is Wi-Fi certified
Well, the first surprise to me was that it was a Hewlett Packard product for there is not an hp logo anywhere to be seen. It was not until I started reading the guide and other accompanying literature that I saw that it was indeed an Hewlett Packard brand Laptop.
I do like the large flat keyboard keys, my fingers are not stubby, but on some other keyboards it is so easy to hit two keys simultaneously, with the Compaq, I found this rarely occurred, not only that the key lettering has remained unscathed by my nails.
Compared to my old Advent, the speed of boot-up was impressively quicker, though not as rapid as my PC. It was easy to set up and there was a more comprehensive downloadable user guide available, which I never did print out.
I installed the Microsoft Office Home and student disc, which I had bought previously for my other laptop.
Micro Bitz had already installed for me, the Norton 360 anti viral disc - even though there was already a free month's trial already in place.
At first I used the touch pad, but when using it placed on a table, I tend to plug in a mouse, but when using on my lap, the touch pad is comfortable, sensitive and quick to respond.
I used the webcam when contacting my friend in Devon on Skype. The inset picture of myself was crisp, focused and clear. The picture of my friend on my screen from her webcam was of the same pleasing quality.
It is not the most eco-friendly of gadgets, consuming 65Watts of power, so I have never left this idling away even on standby where the power consumption is reduced.
The battery lasts a full hour of usage normally, but I do tend to plug mine into the mains when using indoors. One day I will upgrade to a faster, more eco-friendly laptop, so watch this space.
There is a very useful on line technical support system in place, where you can start an on line chat session with a support specialist. I have not had need to use this, but it is comforting to know help is close at hand should it be required.
Whilst pondering my next review it occurred to me that I had overlooked my trusted laptop which helps me create my reviews on a daily basis. This laptop has been with me for over 12 months now and is still running as well as the day it was bought.
This laptop retails at approx £250-£299 and is sometimes offered as part of a freebie with a contract mobile phone.
I have had compaq laptops before and completely recommend them.
This laptop is 15.5" widescreen so it is larger than your average laptop, excellent quality for watching Tv on iplayer or dvd's
Integrated CD/DVD player and again the size of the screen is an added bonus for watching films. Many an evening i have curled up in bed with my laptop to watch a chick flick with a hot chocolate!
Built in webcam. This has very good qulaity for an integrated webcam and also has features where youi can frame your pictures or add effects. My son likes to play on it to create funny videos with the effects like the house of mirrors.
Memory 1gb Ram HDD 160 GB
I have never had an occasion where i have mximised the memory. I have a lot of music tracks saved onm the computer and sometimes upload films to watch and have never had any issues with capacity.
Full sixe keyboard with separate number pad. Touch pad mouse with right and left click buttons to the bottom of the touch pad. The touch pad has good sesitivity and is easy to navigate.
Good battery life can play for hours on bejeweled before i need to plug it in, however most of the time i am wired up to save my battery at home. I once forgot my power cable when i was out teaching dance and it lasted about 2 hours playing music and i dont even think the battery was fully charged.
It runs on vista home basic. Now i was an XP fan and it took me a while to get used to it but now i really like it. I like the tab funtion and it runs quite quickly.
It has 3 ports for pendrives and HDMI port ideal for plugging it into your TV for great viewing experience, it also has an SD memory slot.
integrated wireless and you can also hardwire it with ethernet cable
What more can I say. all in all a good all rounder. Would definately buy again and recommend to others.
A disadvantage is that it runs at core temperature between 63-69 which is quite high so i wouldnt recommend you placing it on your lap for any length of time. fan runs not too loudly and i have had no problems with overheating where it shuts off like other laptops can.
I was recently offered this laptop when I took out a new phone contact. I have a desktop PC but had been considering buying a laptop as it was more convenient for me. I have used a laptop before but not one that I can compare as it was a work one and these tend to be a bit more bulky and slower than a normal laptop.
When my laptop arrived I was a bit dubious of opening the box and setting this up as I am no computer whiz and thought that this would be a very long process but I was pleasantly surprised. It had a leaflet in the box that told me what to do before you turned this on. This consisted of putting the battery in and putting the laptop on charge and then you turn on the computer and it sets itself up with you only adding a small amount of information.
Apart from it being heavier than I thought I found the overall look of the laptop really appealing. The top of this is a high gloss black and the keyboard looks really nice too, it has a separate number pad that I love as I really missed that on my work laptop as I was not used to using the numbers above the keys and it took me ages to find each one. It also has a scroll bar on the touchpad so if you are going from a desk top PC to a laptop then this one is great as it has the same layout as if you are using a number pad and a mouse.
The overall design is very attractive and stylish. The icons on the desktop are a good size and are nice and colourful. Upon set up a side bar is installed on the right-hand side, on it you have a big round clock, a box that has different picture flashing across and a news headline box which I think is a nice, original extra. Another great feature of this laptop if you are not hot when it comes to IT is once it has set itself up, a help box is set to come up every time you turn the computer on, this helps you to do things such as connecting to the Internet, adding another user and general help and support. You don't have to have this display as it can be referred to at any time on the control panel but it is a really useful thing to have if you are not sure how to do certain things.
The screen is really nice and shiny as it is HD and doesn't spread colour when touched so it cant be damaged in that way. I haven't watched any movies or anything on it so I cant really comment on the HD side of things.
I also like the fact that the laptop comes with a 60 day trial of full Norton protection which is an added bonus as you can then start using it straight away if you have a wireless connection. Norton is automatically installed on the initial set up so this is something else that you haven't got to worry about.
The points I love about this laptop are the large screen which I was surprised with as the write up refer the this as a notebook so you expect it to be quite small, you have a number of options available instead of just shutting this down every time too. This is ideal if, like me go on and off of it a lot of the day and don't want to wait while it all loads up again. There is plenty of storage space for everything I need it for i.e. photos, video clips, music etc.
The only points I dislike about this laptop is that the battery life isn't great but if like me you are using it more for home usage and would keep it plugged in anyway then it will not make any difference to you. Also it is heavier than I expected so I wouldn't really take it out anywhere but is perfect for what I need it for.
I have recently upgraded from PC to Laptop so I can not really compare like for like, However the Compaq is a really nice laptop with all the features you would expect and more it is slim, sleek, Stylish. I must also say that although I would not like to carry round all day it is ideal for home use, alot of the laptops/notepads we looks at were very small and bunched up so not as user friendly in my opinion.
It has plenty of storage.
Starts up really quickly, no messing about and is easy to use.
The battery life is good however I tend to stay plugged in at mains because once warning comes up it cuts out very quickly!
The screen is a really good size for watching TV, although we tend to plug in to our TV and watch I player, you only get sound via laptop though which is a little annoying, Sound is quite good when using day to day just not great at a distance.
I would definately recommend this to anyone who is looking for a study user friendly yet trendy laptop.