Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
HP Compaq 6730b
A longer-lasting laptop.
- Performs considering its price, very long battery life, screen is not highly reflective, wide variety of expansion ports
- Heavy, small hard drive
The HP Compaq 6730b is a good value laptop with an excellent battery life and relatively wide selection of expansion ports. Although it sports a small hard drive and is quite heavy for a 15.4in notebook, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
The HP Compaq 6730b is a sub-$1500 notebook designed for use in the office. With its easy-to-use keyboard and good range of expansion ports, this laptop is well worth considering as a relatively cheap desktop replacement.
The 6730b will appeal to business users who don’t need to use their laptop on the go. Weighing 2.7kg without its power supply and 3.15kg with it included, the notebook is best used as a mobile workstation thanks to its wide array of display connections and docking port.
Not only does the unit have both an S-video out port and a D-sub port, HP has included an RS-232 port. This will appeal to engineers and contractors who need to upload data or program devices that only have a serial port interface. Four USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port are also available, as are an ExpressCard/54 slot and a 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MS, MSPro, MMC, xD) on the left and right of the chassis, respectively.
If you can bear to carry around the laptop despite its hefty size and weight, then the 6730b's phenomenal battery life will serve you well. In our DVD rundown test the 6730b lasted 2hr 26min, which is almost an hour above average and means that entire feature-length films can be watched without a recharge.
A feature that isn’t normally found on devices at this price point is the touch-sensitive hotkey bar that sits on the chassis just below the screen. It allows you to launch Windows Media Player, manipulate the volume and play, stop and skip tracks easily.
The 15.4in screen has a native resolution of 1280x800 and it is not glossy. This reduces reflectivity in brightly lit environments.
The 6730b is run by a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. The 5400rpm, 160GB hard drive doesn’t provide much storage, but it should be ample for business users — it's not like this laptop isn't designed for video editing, or even image editing, which would benefit from a much larger drive.
In our WorldBench 6 testing, the 6730b received a score of 83. This means that it will effortlessly run most office programs, and it will be responsive when multitasking in an office environment. Its 2.26GHz CPU is also adequate for encoding files and even for tougher tasks such as 3-D rendering.
This was reflected by our MP3 encoding and Blender rendering tests, which were completed in 1min 16sec and 1min 20sec, respectively. This is in line with what we expect from a P8400 CPU.
There is no independent graphics card in this device, so it will be slow when processing 3-D graphics. This was reflected by the 3DMark06 test result of 744. However, powerful graphics cards should rarely be expected from this type of unit at this price point.
HP has furnished the 6730b with a full-sized keyboard that is comfortable to use. The keys offer excellent bounce back and are slightly sunken into the chassis, making it easier to work on for longer periods of time. This was further reinforced by the unit remaining cool and quiet throughout our use.
All of the latest network connectivity can be found on this laptop, with 802.11n wireless and Gigabit Ethernet built-in.
Overall, this is a commendable entry-level laptop with an outstanding battery-life and a good variety of expansion ports. If you're after a well-priced desktop replacement, then you should definitely consider the 6730b.
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