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The laptop I currently have is the Compaq CQ70. I have to admit that the specs... they're not so impressive. The laptop was purchased over 5 years ago. We had very little knowledge of laptops and thus we brought this. The screen is wonderful. Watching movies on this laptop is fantastic, or even doing simple work - the screen is 17 inches. From the specification, it is evident the laptop has an 'intel pentium dual core' - which is, suprisingly, NOT slow. It's quite fast, particularly for daily internet surfing, using Microsoft Office and playing a few online games. I usually have numerous tabs open, usually 10, albeit this may occasionaly vary - however, this does not really slow my laptop down - it performs very well, especially considering the strain that I may put it under, with various tabs open. A word of warning, however, do not attempt to use programmes, such as, Adobe Photoshop, or video editing software - This laptop is not suitable for these daily tasks. This laptop only has 2GB of RAM - which is not enough, with such tasks you should aim for 4GB or over. In my opinion, this is a limitation, especially with playing high graphic games. Also, I initially had the problem of overheating. This was extremely frustrating and I was very concerned about the damage this could do to my laptop. I thus brought a laptop cooler - which makes my laptop very cooler. The harddrive, I believe, is adequate - for someone who casually saves work and uses memory. Obviously if you need more memory, you can purchase an external hard drive, so the hard drive that comes with the laptop isn't a very big problem. The one thing that is excellent about the laptop is the keypad. It is sensitive - but not too sensitive, it's adequate. It is also not too stiff (as some keypads can be). The keypad glides wonderfully and it honestly makes the whole experience of using the laptop much better. Overall, the laptop is good - it adequately functions and is good, for somebody who does not do heavy performing tasks on the laptop. This is good for somebody who is a university student or just a casual laptop user. If you obviously like to play games or you use software, such as, Adobe Photoshop, this is not the laptop for you.
I got this laptop as a Christmas present in 2010. First impressions: It was a rather large, heavy and thick laptop, with a shiny black finish on the outside. The keyboard was very comfortable and it came with the number pad at the side. The trackpad is responsive but a bit clunky. It was a good laptop at the start, with the facilities of a great webcam, wireless access and everything windows allows a user to do. Within 4 months of using this laptop, it became incredibly slow, always needed updating, took ages to start up and shut down and literally froze every 2 seconds. After about 6 months, the charger exploded at the charging port on the laptop and melting the motherboard, I put it in for repair (which I regret). This laptop ate up about 3 chargers. The over heating started again and also blew all the sockets in our house. This problem is very common with these laptops. Another problem I had was the screen being completely black when turned on, I had to research how to fix this and it has happened about 3 or 4 times. I would only consider getting this laptop if you are purely using it for internet use, however there are other variables e.g. chrome books. This laptop was 100% useless and a waste of my time.
I needed a new laptop as a result of my last one practically imploding in on itself when the battery decided that its life had become unbearable and suicide was the only option. It did leave me a note absolving me of guilt so I didn't feel too bad rushing out and immediately buying a new one. Hewlett Packard has always been a reliable name for me and I was attracted to the HP Compaq Presario CQ70-211EM for its great list of specifications and reasonable price. But does this laptop live up to its fairly impressive specs? ~~~Product Specifications Overview~~~ * Windows Vista Home Basic O/S * An Intel Pentium Dual Core T3400 Processor with 2.16GHz processing speeds * 2GB of DDR2 RAM * 160GB hard drive * 17" WXGA (Wide eXtended Graphics Array) screen with a resolution of 1400 x 900 pixels * Intel GMA 4500MHD Graphics card * Built-in Altec Lansing speakers * Built-in microphone and webcam * CD/DVD Writer * 3 USB ports, Analogue modem connection, Ethernet connection, 5 in 1 memory card reader, HDMI connection, 15-pin socket to connect the laptop to a TV * Wireless connectivity and Wi-Fi ~~~Getting Started~~~ Now I cannot remember the exact process for getting started on this laptop as it was 2 years and many brain cells ago, not to mention my memory has never been all that hot, plus my memory has never been all that hot but I do remember it being decidedly easy. If the vague, wispy, ethereal images in my mind are to be believed it was merely a case of following some basic steps during an initial installation process which would allow you to set up a wireless connection to a home/office network you may already have, and to then register you computer so you can be made aware of all the thousands of highly useful and never annoying updates on offer. There probably are other steps as well but for me getting on the net was the most crucial which was a doddle so that is about all I remember. ~~~Look and Layout~~~ With a 17" screen this is definitely not a small laptop and it does weigh a far old whack at 3.26kg which is about half a stone so it's certainly not the best item to be lugging around when travelling so perhaps is better off for home or office use and not particularly in between. But despite its large size, with the lid down it is fairly streamlined height wise so is not too clunky overall. But I think to have the screen size of 17" and resolution of 1400 x 900 pixels it is worth compromising slightly on the size of the laptop as a whole as everything is big and clear which is always handy when you actually want to see stuff. So, what connectors does this laptop offer? On the left hand side there is the power socket, a 15-pin VGA socket to connect this laptop to a TV, an Ethernet connector, an HMDI connector (so you can connect the laptop to such things as DVD players, Playstations, Xboxes or other computers), a USB port and a memory card reader that supports SD, MMC, MS, MS PRO and xD formats. Round the front it is very sparse with just microphone and headphone jack sockets and three indicator lights for power, external power and the hard disk. Above the keyboard are the On/Off switch and wireless connectivity switch which is blue if on and will turn orange if you switch it off here. Round the right side is the CD/DVD drive, another 2 USB ports and the modem connector. So you have a quite a few varied ways to connect your laptop to stuff if you want to do technical, complicated and geeky things. The webcam is located at the top middle of the lid just above the screen. I've not used mine as for some reason I've never had an urge in my life to use a webcam so I can't really comment on how effective it is, but it's there if you want it. This laptop has a standard QWERTY keyboard with a row of numbers above and can even fit in a further number pad to the right of the letters. Underneath the keyboard is the touchpad with a left and right button and a scroll function as part of the right hand side of the touchpad. This touchpad is pretty responsive and quite easy to control, but I do often slip without realising into the scroll function which causes me to jump pages or lose my place on certain pieces of software which can get a little frustrating - a bad design or a bad operator? I feel everything is all nicely spaced out in this keyboard, which I guess is the benefit of it being a fairly large laptop, and it really is comfortable to use. Many of the keys also multitask as other functions such as being able to call up help or lock the computer, or adjust the brightness and contrast of the screen, or even adjust the volume of the speakers which I also think are neat little intuitive shortcuts, quite a few of which I use now as second nature. ~~~Processing Speeds and General Performance~~~ Anyone that knows me knows I'm a bit of a computer geek so will be shocked to know that the specs for the processing speeds mean very little to me. Hey, in my defence I'm all about the software not the hardware. But, putting my ignorance aside, my personal experiences with the speeds this laptop offer are quite favourable. When it was brand new it ran like a dream. You could switch it on and it would boot up in about 15secs and once you were logged in you could access any programs also within seconds and run concurrent programs without noticing any decline in the responsiveness of any of them (I think at one point I had about 7 different programs open, 3 of which used a memory stealing Java platform yet everything remained very responsive). Switching it off would also be really quick with it logging off and shutting down in less than 10secs. However now 2 years on the processing speed has somewhat decayed over time, as most things seems to do in life *sigh*. It is still at a very usable performance level, but booting up takes a lot longer and you probably have to wait about 20secs from logging on before any software will open. Quite often now if I'm running a lot of windows e.g. on an internet browser (Firefox) and several of them use Java platforms they can begin interfering and the browser intermittently stops responding whilst it's trying to sort itself which can be a bit of a pain especially if you're in the middle of timed Scrabble. Shutting down is also incredibly slow now which can take over a minute to successfully log off and switch off. Things like Disk Cleanup and Defragmentation whilst always a good idea for your computer's health had very little impact on improving the performance of this laptop when I tried. You could try basic thing like a registry cleanup and uninstalling pointless software but I'm an eternal lazybags and don't want to pay for the extra registry services so unless you're serious in trying to improve the speed of this laptop like, for example, purchasing more RAM then you may just have to accept a decline in performance (which I'm sure occurs in all laptops over time), but this laptop still runs at very acceptable speeds. One thing that I have enjoyed throughout the use of this laptop is that it hardly ever crashes. In fact I can only think of a handful of times where I've had to do the ungodly act of holding down the off button and then getting the rollicking from the operating system saying "you didn't shut down your computer properly, now all your files could be corrupt including all the blackmail material you collected on your employer, do you want to start Windows normally?". I would say this laptop has operated incredibly reliably over the years and I certainly have no complaints in this area. ~~~Wireless Connectivity~~~ I've only ever connected to the internet via the wireless connection within my house and I can successfully connect from anywhere I try with a minimum of a 4/5 bar connection which produces a really fast and uninterrupted internet connection. In fact the only time the connection usually goes down is if my actual broadband goes down itself so the laptop has nothing to connect to, although there have been just a couple of times when a connection is inexplicably unavailable, but a reboot generally sorts this out. I have never tried to connect with Wi-Fi externally so I can't really comment on how effective it is unfortunately. I can also connect wirelessly to the printer that is also part of the local area network with no issues and print from wherever I am which is very convenient. ~~~Battery Life~~~ As with the general performance of the laptop, the battery life has also declined over time, as I suspect is the same with all laptops. In the beginning the battery would last around 2 hours before needing charging again, but now you unplug it and you watch the power percentage drop before your eyes. I think you can probably squeeze just under an hour out of it before it starts going schizo at you so it's not great for working for any great lengths of time if separated from a wall plug e.g. whilst travelling. ~~~Any Other Business~~~ * Games and DVDs look good on this laptop - the graphics look clear and with a multitude of colour for games and DVDs will play to quite a high standard - they do begin to look marginally distorted when played full screen, but if you sit far enough back and aren't desperate for HD quality they are perfectly fine to watch on this laptop. The only annoying thing is you do have to go through a careful adjustment process to get the screen in the perfect position so you can actually see the pictures and not just vague outlines. * This laptop is also pretty good at playing music. The speaker quality is very clear and sounds very natural and not at all tinny as certain laptops I've had in the past have sounded. The sound quality remains even turning the volume up to the maximum (not recommended as it is loud enough to disturb the peace) and this also carries through when playing DVDs which sound good, although with special effects you may be better off listening on a surround sound system. * This laptop burns to CDs and DVDs very well - all the CDs I've burnt have played in all CD players I've tried with no problems and with no loss of the original quality. * This laptop is not actually the easiest for cleaning - the keys are so tightly packed together that the only thing I've found to successfully clean between them is compressed air which isn't the most effective but better than nothing. * The fan is normally fairly quiet but if you do accidentally block it off it can whirr very loudly and the base of the laptop can get extremely hot. I'm talking about the kind of hot that will leave a red mark on your thigh or knees or wherever you balance your laptop for a good half an hour afterwards so I guess allowing it good ventilation is the best way to avoid third degree burns. Conclusion ======== This is my favourite laptop out of all the ones I've bought so far. It is a bit on the large size so is not great for use when travelling, but this does give the added benefit of having a large screen and a comfortable to use keyboard. This laptop offers great connectivity both wirelessly and to other equipment and I have found it to be extremely reliable over the years. Although the performance has dipped a bit over the years it is still a pretty fast laptop - enough to suit my home needs of surfing the net or playing games, music and DVDs. So, if you want a high quality laptop that is both fast and reliable and can be got at an affordable price you can't go much wrong with the HP Compaq Presario CQ70-211EM.