by Vijay Raghavan
I’ve been wanting to own a Core 2 Duo laptop for a long time and so recently purchased the Compaq Presario V6000t Series laptop. I live in New Delhi, India and here the prices of laptops are usually around $250-$400 more than the U.S. I did a lot of research into which laptop to buy, but from the very beginning I was highly biased towards HP/Compaq as I like their design and form-factor very much, plus I have friends that own laptops for this brand and endorse it. My previous experiences withlaptops has been with a Compaq Presario V5000 (Celeron), IBM ThinkPad T43 (PentiumM 1.73 GHz) and the Toshiba Satellite A105 (Core Duo 1.5GHz).
Here in India HP sells pre-configured models and there is no ability to customize online. My favorite HP notebook is the Pavilion dv6000T series, it is rightfully one of the most popular models in the world. Since I was inclined towards HP but my budget didn’t allow me more than $1,100$ (1$ = 40 Rupees), I looked at the more cost friendly alternative to the Pavilion dv6000t — the Compaq Presario V6000T series.
The Presario V6000t series is basically a cheaper sibling of the Pavilion dv6000t series and has been built with the budget customer in mind. In Asia the Pavilion comes with Vista preinstalled and Presario comes with FreeDoS. Since I owned a copy of Windows XP Pro and didn’t want to invest in Windows Vista this was fine for me.
Going for a Presario V6409TU instead of Pavilion dv6516TX which is available here had its Pros & Cons…
- Didn’t have to pay extra for an operating system (Vista) as I am skeptical about making it my Primary OS.
- Comes with only FreeDos, meaning no bloatware is installed either
- A slightly better processor (Intel 5300 vs Pavilion’s Intel 5250).
- Weighs slightly less at 2.68 Kg versus the Pavilion’s 2.86 Kg
- The Pavilion series uses the Intel X3100 integrated graphics which is much better than 945GM present in the Presario.
- The Presario has no built-in webcam while the Pavilion does.
- The Presario has 1GB Ram instead of the Pavilion’s 2GB.
- There’s only one earphone port versus the Pavilion’s two.
- No fingerprint reader on the Pavilion
But after all is said and done the Presario at $974 turned out to be around $385 cheaper than Pavilion at $1,360 and since I am not an avid gamer who requires a dedicated graphics card, I went for the Presario.
Compaq Presario V6409TU Product Specifications
- Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor T5300 (1.73GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
- 15.4" WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
- 1GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
- Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with Additional Productivity Ports
- Imprint Finish + Microphone + QuickPlay
- 802.11b/g WLAN
- 120GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
- SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
- 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
- 5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader for Secure Digital cards, MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, or xD Picture cards
- Expansion Port 3
- ExpressCard/54 PC Card Slot
The Presario V6409TU came packaged with the following items inside it:
- The Laptop itself
- Power Cable
- A Compaq CD for help & troubleshooting
- A cleaning cloth
Compaq Presario V6000T series laptop
I was really impressed by the looks of this machine. It is much better and aesthetically appealing than the older Compaq V5000 series. HP is trying to bring the design innovations of the Pavilion into the Presario series which I feel is a good move. The Presario V6000t comes in a dark grey color and has an imprint finish with tiny white straight lines against the grey background. The whole unit gives a very shiny and glossy look. The edges of the LCD as well as the base have a curve contour which adds to its looks.
Imprint Finish of the Presario V6000T
Within a few minutes of usage, I understood why HP provided a cleaning cloth in the box. The glossy finish shows your fingerprints and you will need to use the cloth often.
Another thing I noticed was the “COMPAQ” logo was different on the Box than it was on the laptop. The box featured the new stylish logo with the “C” merged with “Q”, whereas on the laptop the logo is still the conventional one.
Compaq’s new logo appears on the box but not on the laptop
Build and Design:
There are small LED indicators all over the Presario which looks great amidst the grayish-black case. There’s a light indicator on the power button, you have the feather touch quickplay & volume control buttons, and adjacent to keyboard buttons are CapsLock, Scroll Lock and TouchPad on/off. There is also a blue ring around the power socket which lights up when using the adaptor.
The Presario V6000T has the following dimension: 14.25 inch wide x 1.25 inch tall x 10.25 inch deep. The 5.9lb weight of this notebook makes it suitable for occasional travel, but not for daily usage. One major change made compared to the V5000 series is the absence of any latch for locking the lid. This results in a very clean looking LCD lid. The hinge is stiff between the LCD and base. When you are about to close the LCD it automatically closes with a snap.
There is no sagging to the keyboard. Meaning, when you press a key, the keyboard area around that place doesn’t sink. The touchpad leaves nothing to complain and is large and responsive.
Unlike the IBM ThinkPad which I use in my office, the Presario doesn’t have any hard disk protection built-in, hence the Presario has to be handled with a bit of care. The Presario doesn’t look or feel as sturdy as an IBM ThinkPad. It is well built for home use and occasional travel and is comparable to other entertainment notebooks. Just like other entertainment notebooks, the LCD screen does flex when a good amount of pressure is applied to the back of the lid.
The presence of an integrated media card reader is a very useful utility, especially in this era of so many hand-held devices. It’s nice to be able to take an SD card from your camera and put it into the Presario.
This notebook comes with Altec Lansing stereo speakers located to the left and right of the QuickPlay and Volume Control buttons. The quality of sound is very impressive and the speakers maintain sound clarity even at full volume. I find audio to be much better than the speakers of most other laptops in this range.
The 15.4-inch wide-screen display with a native resolution of 1,280 x 800 has HP’s BrightView coating thus giving the LCD a glossy finish. The beauty of BrightView is clearly seen when watching movies as they provide much better brightness and contrast. On the flip side, when working under lights the glares from reflective surface can sometimes be irritating.
Screen of Presario V6000T
Thankfully, my LCD doesn’t have any dead pixels and pictures appear crisp.
Horizontal viewing angles are just OK, but the vertical viewing angles show visible changes in contrast when moved by even a very small angle. This is somewhat normal for laptops in this range though. The screen’s brightness can be adjusted very easily by using the Fn-F7 & Fn-F8 keys. I usually keep the screen brightness to a very minimum while doing any text related work to minimize reflections and also to protect the eyes, and set brightness to high while enjoying movies and images.
I tried to use the screen in daylight and it performed well. I was able to do all text related functions easily but didn’t have a satisfying experience while watching movies.
This is the maximum angle to which the screen can tilt.
Processor and Performance:
The Intel Core 2 Duo T5300 1.73GHZ Processor in this notebook is very fast. Even while playing games, this unit doesn’t get heated up too much.
I borrowed a copy of Vista 32bit Ultimate, just to test it on my system and the following are the results w.r.t. my Windows XP Professional.
Windows XP Professional – around 25 minutes
Windows Vista 32bit Ultimate – around 38 minutes. The initial section consisting of – Copying Files, Expanding Files, Installing features and Installing updates took 21 minutes and then the rest of the tasks (Completing Installation & Checking PC’s performance) took 17 minutes.
Boot Time –
Windows XP Professional – around 50 seconds
Windows Vista 32bit Ultimate — around 43seconds
One negative thing which I have observed is that the machine is unable to wake-up from Standby mode, when it is left in standby for more than 10 minutes or so. I am not yet sure, whether it is some software related problem (proper XP installation) or some hardware related problem.
Super Pi is a benchmarking program that forces the processor to calculate the accuracy of Pi to 2 million digits. It’s a good test for determining processor speed.
Super-PI calculation – 1.27 minutes
PC Mark 2005 is a great benchmarking tool for measuring a notebooks overall system performance.
PCMark2005 Score — 2745
Operating System –
My system didn’t come with any Pre-installed OS except FreeDos. Hence there is nothing to write about in this section.
Heat and Noise:
This notebook is very quiet. The only time I hear the fans come on is when I try to play graphically intense games. The heat dissipation is average and nothing amazing to talk about, but one thing to notice is that most of the heat is generated from the Left bottom region, beneath the area where the left palm rests. The left side of the touchpad feels warm, but manageable. Unlike the IBM thinkpad, which has the fans on the sides, this one has its fans at the bottom. I guess this might cause a problem with efficient heat dissipation, when I use it on my bed.
Bottom View of the Presario V6000T
Keyboard and Touchpad:
The keypad and Touchpad
The keyboard is very neatly laid out and has nice curvy edges. The keystrokes produce just average sound which is nice. The touchpad is very sensitive and responds pretty fast. I hope that the coating on the touchpad is of very good quality as the colors on the earlier presario V5000 touchpad wore out in 7-8 months. HP provides a Touchpad configuration utility which is really nice as one can program shortcuts in it, scroll pages, etc. The touchpad buttons are of decent quality.
Input and Output Ports:
Included in this notebook are (3) USB 2.0 ports, a 5-in-1 memory card reader; VGA monitor out port; S-Video out; RJ-45 Ethernet LAN; a mini FireWire connection, RJ-11 modem, Express Card, IR receiver, Expansion Port 3, 1 headphone jack, and a Line in port.
The IR port is not yet working for me. I borrowed the latest remote control of HP Pavilion from a friend which was compatible with v6000 and tried to use it, but it didn’t work. HP online support says that I need to install a driver for it, but they didn’t provide me with any. It seems that they themselves had no clue about the driver. Even on the internet , I couldn’t find any HP infrared drivers., but I came across this site in which a guy’s V3000 had a consumer IR which was either a dummy or HP’s Customer Support fooled him . Checkout the last section in this link
I called up the customer care and they assured that the IR port exists, but it will only work with QuickPlay in non-Windows Mode. I am surprised at this and look like have to do some more R&D before I get my IR up and running.
Just like many other people, I too faced lot problems in configuring my s-video port to watch a movie on the TV. Most of the available solutions on the web deal with a dedicated graphics card and since mine lacked one, I am unable to use the s-video port as of now. This doesn’t mean that I can watch my laptop screen on my TV as there is a device called “Scan Convertor” which connects to your printer port and takes input from there. On the TV, I couldn’t read the texts but the movie played very clearly and I could enjoy the big screen experience. Now this means that I can now easily say Goodbye to ‘DVD players’ which do not play the advanced file formats (in .avi format) available today.
Left side view
Right side view
This notebook has 2 types of built in wireless capabilities. The Intel 3945 802.11 B/G wireless card and an integrated infrared RC6 receiver (which didn’t work for me). The Wi-Fi works like a charm and I use it with a Netgear Wireless router. Till date I have taken my laptop across rooms and across floors too, but I never got a dropped connection. It has a sliding Analog switch to turn on/off the Wireless capability and is located to the left of the earphone jacks. .
This notebook comes with a standard 6-cell battery. At average brightness, it lasts for close to 2.5 hours, but if I keep the brightness to a minimum, I get much more than 3 hours. For my requirements, this figure is quite satisfactory.
On a complete recharge, with maximum brightness settings and the speakers at their full, I can easily watch a Hollywood Flick which is of 1:40min duration.
Customer Support features are excellent, especially the feature of live Chat. In no time you are chatting with an HP person and discussing your problems. The only disappointment which I have is that they have averagely trained technical people as my queries didn’t get solved easily to my satisfaction.
I guess Compaq could use the punchline – “There is something for everyone”. It is a notebook which will not pinch the pockets and at the same time give the consumer enough power to do effortless Multi-tasking, all packaged into an Aesthetically Appealing Exterior.
Infact, the only category of people who would be disappointed with it are the Avid Gamers because of the lack of a dedicated Graphics Card.
But, given its Price to Performance ratio, I guess it’s very hard to find things wrong with this nicely built laptop. Overall I think this is very balanced with an equally attractive pricing.
So, to sum it up, following are the pros & cons which I experienced..
- Great performance at an affordable price
- Aesthetic looks which resemble more like the Pavilion series.
- A shiny and glossy LCD giving a satisfying movie experience.
- Heat and Noise are very much under control.
- Keyboard quality is much better.
- Looks robust.
- No dedicated graphics processing
- The glossy laptop easily shows fingerprints and requires regular wiping.
- Battery life is around 2 hours
- Suitable for occasional travel but feels heavy for a daily commute
- Optical Drive makes strange sounds very occasionally….