People often ask me if there’s a difference between buying from a major manufacturer and buying from a one that isn’t. This Compaq Presario V6000 is good proof that there is. Its look and finish is a cut above other brands with styling and design that is pleasing to the eye. Clearly aimed at consumers, the lid, bezel and main body are all clad in a smart slate grey shiny plastic finish with charcoal keys. It’s also feels very well put together and very solid, and I’d feel confident it could take a knock or two - though I wouldn’t want it too to keep that shiny lid nice and smooth. The lid has pleasing smooth edges with the silver Compaq logo ensuring that it will look good on the office table either open or closed. Ok, it’s not got Macbook looks but it’s not bad. At 2.99kg, it’s also no flyweight but it feels right in the lap.
With the lid open you’ll take in the large 15.4in widescreen and some fetching blue lights dotted around the place - the power button and some lights built into the edge at the bottom left to indicate power, charge and disc activity. There’s also one above the track pad that glows blue when it’s on. Next to this is a handy button that can be used to turn off the trackpad, useful for when you have a mouse plugged in and want to avoid any accidental key presses. The light changes to red when you do this. Above the keyboard are volume controls and mute button and a button that can be set to launch an application of your choice. What’s cool about these is that these are touch sensitive buttons built into the chassis. The volume control beeps as you press it so that it actually both looks and sounds like the control panel from Star Trek: the Next Generation.
The keyboard on any laptop is one of the most important aspects and fortunately the one of the V6000 is of a very high standard. The key’s are well spaced so you don’t catch the corners as you type. There keyboard feels very firm to type on but not too rock solid, so the action feels comfortable. I had no issues with any of the key sizes or the positioning. The right shift key is wide enough and the enter and backspace keys are larger. The function key is second from the left at the bottom and gives access to second function keys on the F-keys.
The track-pad is a perfectly reasonable thing but the mouse buttons underneath are a disappointment, being a little uneven - a shame considering the firmness of the keyboard.
As well as the keyboard, the screen is also very important but here the Compaq is only average. It sports a high gloss screen but it was overly reflective in the office but as soon as I turned the lights off, it looked a lot better. However, it suffered from very poor viewing angles in both the vertical and horizontal plane. With no lights shining on the screen and when sitting directly in front of it, it was reasonable though.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the Compaq is that its ports are sensibly located and clearly labeled. At the front you have the microphone and headphone sockets, which is just where you want them if you need to plug in a headset for Skype. You also have a switch for turning the wireless on and off, accompanied by a de-rigueur blue light. Note however, that Bluetooth is absent, which might remove this notebook from some shortlists.
On the left hand side you’ll find starting from the front, a 5-in-1 card reader, which can handle the usual suspects - SD, MMC, MS, and xD. Next is a mini-Firewire port, two USB 2.0 ports, a modem socket and a Gigabit Ethernet socket. Along from this is an HP Expansion port, which provides access to HP docking bays. Moving along you’ll also find a VGA output and an S-Video output, which is good news for presenting and entertainment.