Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario V6503AU (GN410PA)
- Design, volume control and QuickPlay shortcut
- Performance, speakers lack bass
A formidable notebook choice with a classy design. Although it's aimed at the casual user in both price and performance, we still feel that an extra $100 can get you a more powerful Intel-based machine.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
The HP Compaq Presario V6503AU (GN410PA) is our second look at HP Compaq's new notebook design. This AMD-based notebook provides enough power for the average person and looks quite swish, without costing the world.
AMD's Turion 64 X2 Dual Core TL-58 1.9GHz processor and 1GB of DDR2 RAM give this system just enough to keep the casual user happy, tough it's clearly not aimed at enthusiasts. Unlike Intel's Centrino platform, AMD systems utilise a number of different components to complete the networking and graphics requirements of a modern notebook PC. In this case HP Compaq has used an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7150M for the graphics and a Broadcom 802.11b/g wireless adapter.
The 15.4in screen offers good contrast, fair brightness and a typically average viewing angle, all at a native resolution of 1280x800. As with most HP notebooks, the Compaq Presario V6503AU uses Altec Lansing speakers, which offer a reasonable quality sound, though the lack of bass still leaves a tinny bite to any music, particularly when it's turned up loud. A 120GB hard drive is installed as well as a DVD re-writer.
Beyond the keyboard and touchpad, which are both about as comfortable to use as they come, there is a shortcut to HP's QuickPlay software, a media centre-style application with a DVD player, picture viewer and music player among other things. Also found above the keyboard is a volume control with a mute button.
In our benchmarks we saw mediocre results, especially when compared to similar Intel-based systems, but its performance is still acceptable when considering the price. In WorldBench 6 the HP Compaq PresarioV6503AU scored a total of 56, though it failed the 3dx Max DirectX test. This is not surprising as it's graphically very limited, which showed up in our gaming tests, too. In 3DMark 2006 it scored only 307, while in 3DMark 2001 SE it scored 4113. This indicated that much older games will have a chance, but newer games are out of the question on this machine.
In the encoding test it also showed slower results than Intel-based systems. Using iTunes to convert 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files took just 113 seconds, while in Cdex it took 147 seconds.
Battery test results showed this system squares off with all the other notebooks on the market, lasting 95 minutes, about the median for notebooks of this size and spec.
Beyond the performance this notebooks is a stylish looking piece of work. The new Compaq design gives the Presario V6503AU a touch of class that was previously lacking. It's not over the top, but it's definitely more aesthetically pleasing than previous models.
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