Compaq Presario V3230
Following in the footsteps of Sony's hip VAIO range, HP's Compaq Presario V3230 is clearly aimed at the fashion-conscious who want to look cool while updating their spreadsheets. With an ultra glossy, subtly pinstriped finish and an assortment of classy LED lights, it's certainly one of the more stylish notebooks we've seen in a while. In addition to inducing envy, the slick casing also offers extra protection - according to HP, the V3230's 'in-mould' lamination wards against scratches and general wear, ensuring its face will stay forever young. While we can't attest to its durability, it certainly looks the business.
- Slick and trendy design, multimedia features
- Short battery life
The Presario V3000 is an attractively sleek and compact notebook slightly let down by its less-than-stellar battery life. However, for those who value design and portability over beefy specs, it remains an affordable and worthy purchase.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
Sticking to the same basic script as its predecessor model (the Presario V2000), the V3230 offers a commendable array of features, ports and components for the asking price. The dual-core Turion 64 X2 1.60GHz CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 5-in-1 memory card reader (SD/MS/MS-Pro/MMC/xD) and LightScribe Super Multi 8x DVD writer should fulfil the needs of most multimedia enthusiasts. In terms of processing speed, HP's latest offering holds up quite well. We encoded 53 minutes of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files to test the system's performance, which clocked in at two minutes 38 seconds. While this isn't hugely impressive, it is still an acceptable result based on the hardware.
The desirable aesthetics are capped off by a deceptively compact design. At 334 x 237 x 39 mm and a little over 2 kg, this is one notebook you'll have no trouble fitting into a carry bag or briefcase. Despite these economic dimensions, the screen and keyboard layout are pleasingly large and spacious. Typing is an intuitive typo-free zone - even for those afflicted with unwieldy sausage-sized fingers - while the 14.1 inch widescreen LCD display is equally suited to both business and pleasure.
Indeed, we were particularly impressed with the image quality while watching DVDs; especially when viewing the screen at sharp angles. The integrated Altec Lansing speakers proved to be a fitting match, offering crisp and robust audio without the need for earphones. Further boosting the notebook's multimedia leanings are a series of touch-sensitive quick-launch buttons, which allow you to quickly mute or adjust volume on the fly. (The backlit LED buttons even change colour when you press them, which is a nice - if pointless - feature.)
Our only reservation with the V3230's overall design is its lid, which lacks a lockable clasp. While this isn't a huge deal, it can potentially cause accidents while lugging your notebook around in a clutter-filled bag, which is something to be mindful of. Latch-less lids are great for quick one-handed access, but even this isn't easily done due to the taught hinges.
Gaming buffs will be left cold by the underpowered graphics chip. In our 3D Mark 2001 SE test, the Compaq Presario V3230 scored 28727, which rules out the majority of modern 3D games, though it will run older games reasonably well.
To test the battery life, we ran a looped DVD on the optical drive, which simulates a worst-case scenario. (The test is considered worst case because the optical drive and speakers help drain the battery, as well as the core components like the CPU and RAM.) The system held out for 95 minutes - just enough to get you through a feature film if you're lucky.
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