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I bought this netbook from Tesco for £200 on offer and it has the same features and running capacities as those priced much higher in the same range of product. Overall it was fantastic for what i needed it to do. It runs windows XP which is good as I feel a higher operating system such as windows 7 would make it run too slow. It connects wirelessly with ease, despite my annoyingly hard to connect to router.
Getting programs on the netbook can be trouble sometimes (as a netbook has no CD or DVD drive in order to save space and weight) but this can be remedied by a cheap USB CD drive that can be bought, begged or borrowed. This enables one to add programs for working abroad or on the go, such as office.
As a web surfing utility, the netbook runs very quickly. I would however say that due to it's small sized screen, some pages do not view correctly, but I cant really complain when i bought it for it's size as much as anything else!
Before purchasing, I was advised by a friend to go for a netbook with white keys on the keyboard as the light produced by the screen lights these better than one with grey keys. This has proven to be true while surfing in low light levels. Furthermore, with it's nearly full sized keyboard, typing is not an issue - I was able to type clearly and quickly first try. The USB slots and card reader enable plentiful accessories which helps when on the go.
Overall, a great purchase, doing exactly what it is meant to do.
The Compaq Mini CQ10 is a cheap notebook computer that runs Windows XP - one of those basic models that they promote for word-processing and for using the internet.
What can I say. I bought it at Tesco's on a £230-expensive whim, after my mostly computer-ignorant and cursory comparisons of clock-speeds, quantities of RAM etc. (hard-disc capacities etc. all counting as the proverbial '...lines and lines and lines...!' to me) revealed that it had mostly exactly the same specifications as every single other notebook computer available on the market for around the £200 - £250 mark.
It did however score over its potential rivals in three major aspects.
Firstly it wasn't made by Packard Bell. Someone I used to know who was really into computers (in a professional sense) once gave me the very good advice to 'never buy anything made by Packard Bell' and after that was borne out by the experience of my mother, who was sold an extremely expensive and almost totally useless computer made by that company, it's something I've always borne in mind.
Secondly the Compaq notebook has a notional battery life of about 6 hours, which was twice as much as the other £230 computer I was thinking of buying.
And lastly, when you bought the Compaq notebook from Tesco, it came already loaded with a trial version of Microsoft Office - one that had a 60 day trial period. This was a major consideration in my choosing it, because otherwise, how on earth do you load Microsoft Office onto a notebook computer? Notebooks you see, do not have CD drives and although I do have a licensed version of the Microsoft Office (I believe the licensing agreement allows you to load the programme onto two or three computers) that I bought with our 'main computer' it was all on CD and so I had no idea how to get it onto the new notebook.
The alternate suggestion - that I connect the notebook to the internet and download / register a copy of Office (under my existing product license) from there was no good either, as I don't have a home wireless internet connection, and the Compaq does not come with a plug-in broadband option.
The tech support guys at Tesco, I have to say, thought they tried to help, were of absolutely no use in assisting me with the 'how to install Office' question.
What they should have told me is, when you turn the new Compaq computer on for the first time, as it already has the trial of 'MS Office' ready to go on it, you can (eventually) find an option to key in your registration code if you already have a licensed copy of Office. It prompts you to connect to the internet to register the product, but if you don't have a wireless connection you can do this by phone. It was all quite straightforward and - touch wood - has worked so far.
Incidentaly, my backup plan - see, maybe I should be a computer tech support guy at Tesco myself - was to buy an external CD disc drive, plug that into the notebook via one of its three USB plug-in sockets and load the Office software from there. A basic external CD drive costs from about £17 from amazon.co.uk - and if THAT hadn't worked, I'd have got myself wireless internet instead (£30 for the wireless hookup gadget from TalkTalk). My other half - who was conveniently away during the time I purchased / set up my new notebook - also reckons that had I connected the notebook to our 'main computer' via a USB connecting cable, the 'main computer' would've recognized the notebook as an additional drive, and then I could've loaded Office from the main computer's CD drive.
So much for getting any programmes onto the computer so that you can actually do anything with it. In terms of performance, the Compaq mini is... all right to use. The screen's about 10 inches in diameter, and I find it a bit bright to look at, but I expect that's adjustable if you really try to sort it out. The resolution is pretty good, but not as great as you can get on a computer these days - it reminds me of the computer screens I was using back in the late 1990s, but it's perfectly fine for its purpose. Yes, the time it takes to power up from properly switched off recalls those old machines of the end of the last decade too, but it's fine as long as you're not in a rush. The standby mode - which you can make it enter whenever you shut the case - is a bit faster to power up.
The whole machine has a tendency to heat up and noticeably whirr / vibrate to a slight yet worrying extent during use. Personally I find the vibration a bit off-putting but I suppose I could sit the computer on a cushion to deaden those effects.
Because of the compact size, the computer lacks some of the 'extra' keys you'd find on a regular keyboard: you do get used to the reduced size / compacted keyboard while typing (to some extent), although the lack of the 'additional' keys - like the page up and down ones, and especially 'end of line' does draw my attention to how much I use these keys during everyday computer usage. And the inset 'run your finger over it' mouse on this Compaq I have to say is a total frickin' nightmare. It's got left click and right click buttons like a normal mouse but also a thin 'scroll down page' strip on the right hand side, and that tends to get in the way every time you try to manoeuvre the cursor. I understand you can plug a regular mouse into the computer and use that instead, but as I tend to use the notebook when I'm sitting on 'soft' surfaces (eg. when I'm on the sofa) I haven't tried that myself.
So far the computer has worked pretty well. I'm not completely sold on it, but I'm not too sorry I bought it. Not yet, at any rate! It's easy to set up and use, and charges itself up when you plug it into the mains very nicely, and has a useful icon that tells you how much it's charged / how much charge it has left. (My old laptop never did that).
As noted above, the Compaq only connects to the internet via a wireless connection, and though it picks up four or five connections belonging to my neighbours whenever I turn it on, I haven't connected it to the internet myself, so I can't comment upon that aspect of it.
One final point - they really should've indicated which one is the 'on / off' button for the computer in some noticeable fashion. The 'on/off' light - when it's switched on - is of a different colour to the button / light indicating the wireless network connection, but when the thing's turned off, they both look exactly the same!