So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario B1200
- Stylish slim design, built-in microphone and webcam
- Performance is a little disappointing, no biometric security
A solid notebook, the HP Compaq Presario B1200 isn't a powerhouse machine, but it does come with an array of strong features and a smooth design that makes it a reasonable choice.
Price$ 2,199.00 (AUD)
Sporting a slick new design, HP's Compaq Presario B1200 is a stylish and slim device. While it doesn't pack in the most powerful components in the world it does the job, and the new aesthetic will appeal to users looking for something a little more sophisticated than a standard notebook.
Running a 1.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 processor, the system will handle most day to day desktop tasks fine. Helping it along is 2GB of RAM, which allows for multiple programs to run simultaneously without a hitch. A 160GB 5400rpm hard drive is included for your storage needs and the DVD-RW drive with Dual Layer support will let you back up when the drive fills up.
In our benchmarks, the B1200 performed decently, but came up a little below expectation. It achieved a World Bench 6 score of 65, which is comparable , but a little slower than other similarly priced notebooks on the market. You won't be able to do heavy graphics or video work, but running multiple spreadsheets, Internet browser windows or PowerPoint presentations shouldn't be an issue.
Meanwhile in our encoding, in which we convert 53 minutes of WAV files into MP3 files, the B1200 did it in 167 seconds running single core (using Cdex) and 105 seconds when running dual-core (using iTunes). These results are a tad sluggish although somewhat understandable considering the CPU.
We also ran our standard battery rundown test, which involves looping a DVD until the power is drained. This is a great test because it uses the optical drive and speakers as well as the main components. The B1200 lasted 96 minutes in this test, which is another fairly standard figure for this price range. This test was done using the default six-cell battery. An eight-cell battery is available for an added cost and should be considered if you're regularly on the road.
While performance isn't this unit's strong point, what really does stand out is its design. HP has gone out of its way to produce a slick looking notebook that is sure to get noticed in amongst the swathe of dull grey models already on the market - a move that reflects HPs Pavilion range. Featuring a glossy metal top cover with a swirling pattern and opening to reveal a jet black screen bezel this model is striking and sophisticated.
Featuring a 12.1in WXGA display it is a fairly small device and should suit users who are regularly on the move. The keyboard is fairly comfortable to type on and there are a smattering of shortcut keys above it, including wireless, mute and volume.
Home and business users will be interested by the built in webcam and microphones, allowing for quick and easy VoIP and IM chat or video meetings. One thing that surprised us however, was the omission of a fingerprint scanner, as biometric security has become almost a standard on many machines, though it is more of a business feature.
Connectivity is present in the form of 802.11a/b/g wireless, built in Bluetooth and 10/100 Ethernet (but sadly no gigabit Ethernet). There are D-sub and S-Video outputs to connect to an external monitor, as well as a card reader and Express Card slot.
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