Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario A900 (A936TU)
A 17in notebook that's good for home users
- Great screen size for the price, good usability, good speakers
- Lacks PC Card and ExpressCard expansion slots, doesn't support the latest networking options, screen is reflective in bright environments
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.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
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!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
cloudandco Smart Cane
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
Google Daydream View VR Headset
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By ASUS
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Dell
- macOS High Sierra ‘root’ security issue allows admin access to your Mac—but there's a fix
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Lenovo ThinkPad celebrates 25 years of cutting edge technology
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCApplication Architect - CloudVIC
- CCSharePoint / Web DeveloperNSW
- TPSenior Frontend Developer - ReactNSW
- FTSenior NodeJS DeveloperQLD
- CCMiddleware SpecialistNSW
- FTSolution Designer - TelecommunicationsOther
- TPBusiness Consulting Senior PrincipalACT
- FTMid Level .Net DeveloperOther
- FTUX DesignerOther
- FTNetwork Engineering Team Lead/Network ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Business Analyst - SalesforceNSW
- FTDevOps & IT Operations | Trading & Finance | LinuxOther
- CCSolution Architect - Financial ServicesVIC
- FTProject ManagerACT
- TPProcurement ManagerACT
- CCNetwork Engineer (Juniper)WA
- FTICT Solution ArchitectACT
- FTTechnical Support Engineer - OnsiteOther
- TPProject ManagerACT
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperOther
- FTMainframe DevelopersOther
- CCSAP HR TrainerNSW
- CCApplication DeveloperNSW
- CCOperations Support OfficerVIC
- CCSenior Programme AnalystVIC