Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario A900 (A936TU)

A 17in notebook that's good for home users

Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario A900 (A936TU)
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario A900 (A936TU)
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario A900 (A936TU)
  • Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario A900 (A936TU)
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Great screen size for the price, good usability, good speakers

Cons

  • Lacks PC Card and ExpressCard expansion slots, doesn't support the latest networking options, screen is reflective in bright environments

Bottom Line

Despite some negative points, this unit offers several features rarely seen in this price bracket. If you don't need independent graphics or the latest networking options, take a peek.

Would you buy this?

It may not be fancy and feature-packed, but the Compaq Presario A936TU is good enough to be a basic desktop replacement notebook for the home.

Its main drawcard is a 17.1in screen that has a resolution of 1440x900. Units anywhere near this price ($1799) with a screen this large are rare; the next cheapest we've seen is the $1999 Toshiba Satellite P210/J00 (PSPBQA-02J001). DVDs are displayed with clarity and images are displayed with vivid colour. However, a negative is the unit's significant reflectivity in well-lit environments.

The unit's style and build quality are very good. The graphite-coloured Compaq proves that simplicity can be attractive; to this end, it sports a fingerprint motif on its palm-rests and cover. The screen is sturdy and shows no sign of flex, with the L-shaped hinge supporting it well.

Inside the unit is 2GB of DDR2 RAM and a well-performing 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Our WorldBench 6 benchmarks returned a result of 70, which indicates that the unit will be capable of handling most office and home applications, as well as multitasking. In our iTunes test, where we convert 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3 files, the A936TU produced a respectable score of 1min 22sec: exactly what we were expecting.

There is no independent graphics card, however; instead it uses an Intel X3100 controller, which is part of the Intel 965GM chipset. The weakness of the Intel X3100 for games is highlighted by the 3DMark06 score of 572, which indicates that most modern games won't run on this unit.

Although some users who game will be disappointed by that result, many will appreciate the 250GB hard drive that spins at 5400rpm, which is a positive addition given the price. This provides ample space for images that have been copied from the 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, MS, MSPro, xD) located on the left side of the notebook, for example.

While it does have many positives, there are many areas where this unit falters: with no PC Card or ExpressCard slot provided, the only expansion ports available are three USB 2.0 ports. The device also lacks the latest networking connectivity. A dial-up modem, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi and 10/100 Ethernet capabilities are present, but the lack of Gigabit Ethernet and draft-n wireless are negatives for a desktop replacement candidate.

The size of the unit puts this device firmly into the desktop replacement category, as does its weight of 3kg (without its power supply). If you're intent on carrying this unit to class or to the office, you'll have to lug 3.5kg. Its large dimensions allow for a full-sized keyboard and number pad to be included, both of which work very effectively. The keys are responsive and will be familiar to touch-typists; the touchpad offers a good balance between smoothness and grip, allowing for accurate use.

Above the keyboard is a set of good Altec Lansing speakers that offer excellent clarity, albeit with unimpressive bass. Other sound options include headphone and microphone ports, as well as a built-in microphone installed to the right of the webcam above the screen.

Away from an outlet, the A936TU lasted 1hr 18min in our worst-case scenario, which is not too bad considering it has a 17in screen. But considering its big size, you probably won't want to take it with you while travelling anyway, so won't need to run on batteries for prolonged periods of time.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?