Compaq R4025 Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (27,926)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 8
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 8
      • Usability
      • 8
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 8
      • Features
      • 8
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 8.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

by Kinza Azmat, USA

Overview:

Compaq has done brilliantly to introduce their new budget desktop replacement line, the Compaq R4000. It is designed for people who want desktop power and value over extreme mobility. You can take the laptop anywhere in the house, or even outside if you are okay with more than eight pounds of gear. Although the laptop is quite heavy for the business user, I wouldn’t mind carrying all the weight for the processing power you get.

My Story:

I was in the market for a decent performer as I was only in high school and did not need any powerhouse or money-hog. After literally months of research the two notebooks that had the most bang for the buck were the Compaq R4000 and its sister notebook, the HP zv6000. I chose the Compaq because it was cheaper, and it was on sale at CompUSA. The Compaq laptop tops out with an AMD Athlon 64 4000+ and 2.0 GB RAM for a price that will not hammer the checkbook, only $1,697. If that is still too much you can always just add a stick of memory yourself since Hewlett-Packard’s memory upgrade is extremely overpriced. CompUSA had a great deal the week I purchased, only $1049 with a bunch of free stuff, after mail-in-rebates with the following specs:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+
  • 1.0 GB DDR SDRAM
  • 15.4″ WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280×800)
  • 128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory
  • 80 GB 4200 RPM Hard Drive
  • DVD+/-RW/R & CD-RW Combo w/Double Layer Support
  • 54g Integ. Broadcom 802.11b/g WLAN with 125HSM/SpeedBooster
  • 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery

This specific configuration’s model number is the Compaq R4025. As said before, all this for only $1049 (if you order directly from HP you may be eligible for a student discount, about 6% off the price of the laptop). I bought the laptop with a two year warranty (through CompUSA) that covered the LCD so the cost went up to $1300. I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive when I discovered the low price of the laptop with all the great features; its arrival finally showed that I had scored a great buy. I was impressed with the purchase but the mail-in-rebates wore down my excitement, with all the free stuff (USB hub, printer, router, Symantec software) there were over seven rebates but the aspect of the purchase I most appreciated was the “24 Months No Interest” financial plan through CompUSA, do not worry I am not here to advertise for CompUSA, it is the truth.

Build & Design:

Various views of the R4000 (view larger image)

The laptop was well packaged and all the accessories were placed in a separate smaller box with the laptop. It looked and still does look pristine and expensive (although it isn’t expensive at all). It’s black on the outside with a silver Compaq logo; on the inside it’s silver with black trim around the LCD.  I love the orange and silver theme; it suits people who want the cool, contemporary, sleek appearance with performance. When I opened up the laptop I noticed the flashy stickers on the front beneath the keyboard and immediately peeled them off, they came off with ease. I noticed the three other stickers showing Windows XP Home, AMD Athlon 64, and Graphics by ATI Radeon Express 200M were all placed slanted. I attempted to peel off the Windows XP sticker and it would not budge so I gave up and just left it as it was. The measurements are 14.25″ (W) x 10.96″ (L w/out hinge) to 11.18″ (L w/hinge) x 1.8″ (H Front) to 1.88″(H Rear) and around 7.9 lbs. It does not seem heavy at all to me, you can easily move it around the house, although business users may prefer something lighter and with more battery power. The laptop unlatches and latches easily and securely. The interior is completely covered when closed unlike the HP zv6000 where sides of the LCD and the touchpad are exposed. The laptop is very sturdy and feels like a solid-build, I am ecstatic with my buy. Beneath the laptop is your serial number so make sure you register, whenever you ask for tech support at HP they always make sure your laptop is registered.

Attempted to remove the slanted Windows sticker — but couldn’t!  (larger image)

Top view of Compaq R4025 (larger image)

Right side view of Compaq R4025 (larger image)

(larger image)

Front of Compaq R4025 (larger image)

Back of laptop (larger image)

Right side view of Compaq R4025 (larger image)

Underneath of laptop, notice the serial sticker is here (larger image)

Heat & Noise:

There are a total of five vents for cooling and fans. Two fans on the bottom, if you cover them you can hear a slight increase in the fan speed and noise, there is also a vent on the right side which I wish was on the left in place of the DVD burner (since I’m a righty),  and two more vents located on the back of the laptop. The laptop is not hot at all; there is a little heat after many hours with it on your lap, but really nothing else. You can easily place the laptop on your legs without them getting melted.

Screen:

The screen, how can I say anything but praises? The 15.4″ WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280×800) is focused at all times and it looks like Compaq put a lot of effort into the functionality of the screen. There were absolutely no dead pixels on the screen, which was pleasing and a relieving. I can sit outdoors and still see the screen well. If and when I do watch movies, the picture is clear and bright. I also like the option to adjust the screen brightness; it’s one of the best screens I have seen compared to other laptops in the same price range.  Did I mention the widescreen display, yes widescreen!

Screen Shot of w-i-d-e screen on the R4000 (larger image)

Speakers:

The speakers are located on the front of the laptop beneath the latch for the LCD. They are somewhat better than the HP zv6000’s speakers but they definitely need to be worked on in terms of amplitude. They are decent but should be louder, at the highest settings sound is crisp, and compliments the display well. I had some exterior speakers so I hooked up those since I listen to a lot of music.

Features:

The Compaq R4000 has tons of great features. One of them are the HotKeys preassigned to programs, once I set Firefox as my default browser I was able to press the “Function” key and “F3” and my browser window opened up. If you still think this takes too long, the HP zv6000 has just one button for this process, as well as a button for opening up the pre-installed InterVideo DVD player. The DVD burner is a bonus with a laptop priced so low, it burns well and just about average time for any DVD. In addition to all those features, there is also a mute button, and other buttons to increase and decrease the volume. The power button is easy to press and as soon as you release it the laptop powers on, unlike cell phones where you must press the button for three seconds.

Buttons! (larger image)

Processor & Performance:

The laptop processor functions at 2 GHz, which is plenty for me. It is good for basic video and photo editing. I have not tried advanced editing but I am sure you can get that done with a processor upgrade in the same Compaq line. A maximum of 2GB of RAM can be installed into the laptop; I did not need that much as it would have not made much of a difference for me. The video card has its own 128 MB of dedicated graphics; I can play Grand Theft Auto and Mafia on highest settings although there is lag sometimes, but only for a split second, I do not play much of anything else. The 80 GB hard drive has a speed of 4200 RPM, which is pretty slow but the speed is only a factor while booting (41 seconds with Norton GoBack).

Benchmarks:

Specs:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+
  • 1.0 GB DDR SDRAM
  • 15.4″ WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280×800)
  • 128MB ATI RADEON(R) XPRESS 200M w/Hypermemory
  • 80 GB 4200 RPM Hard Drive

Here’s some food for you number people:

PCMARK04 Results:

Overall: 3457
CPU: 3656
Memory: 3075
Graphics: 1244
HDD: 2407

Click to download Full PCMark04 Results

3DMARK05 w/resolution of 1280X800: 568

Click to download Full 3DMark Benchmark Results

 Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Compaq R4025 (AMD Athlon 64 3200+) 1m 48s
Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 53s
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M)
1m 45s
Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 48s
Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 52s
Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 10s
Sony VAIO S360 (1.7 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 1m 57s
Sony VAIO S170P (1.5 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 07s
Sony VAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m

Touchpad/Keyboard:

Keyboard (larger image)

One of the best features is the button to turn off the touchpad since it is situated right in the center of the laptop. The touchpad also has scrollbars for vertical and horizontal scrolling; a simple update of the driver will enable this feature in Mozilla Firefox. The keyboard is extremely comfortable; this is the best keyboard yet. I dislike the color change from the touchpad to the actual body/face of the laptop. There is a narrow curve in which small dust particles can get clogged in, nothing big but I am really lazy and have to get a can of compressed air.

Touchpad (larger image)

Ports:

Ports are abundant on this well-priced and affordable laptop. A firewire port (very convenient) headphones port, a mic port, but there is no line-in port. I repeat, there is no-line in port so if you are aiming for analog video-editing to hook sound through the mic port. There is also a video-out(s-video) port, a VGA port for connection to a monitor, a modem port, and an Ethernet port. Do not forget to enable whatever video you want through the display menu or else you there will be no video output. There is also an Expansion Port 2 connector. There are four USB ports, one on the right, two situated on the left side and one on the back, plenty if you get a USB hub. Another plus was the media card reader, which can read:

  • Memory Stick
  • Memory Stick Pro
  • SmartMedia Card
  • Secure Digital (SD)/MMC
  • xD-Picture Card
  • ExpressCard/34
  • ExpressCard/54
  • Type I CardBus
  • Type II CardBus

Wireless:

The wi-fi card works well for a built-in card. The signal picks up automatically and I have never lost the signal even through four walls, about seventy feet. The card is easy to configure and the HP Wireless Assistant is a good background program, it stays out of the way. There is also a wi-fi on/off button which is conveniently located near the power button, good for security purposes and power saving.

Battery:

This is the worst part of the laptop. The included 8-cell battery works well if you just move your laptop around the house. I wish I had gotten the 12-cell but that option was not offered through CompUSA at the time of my purchase. If you are going anywhere with your laptop, plan on taking the charger. The battery power lasted for 2 hours, 21 minutes, and 43 seconds with wi-fi on.

OS & Software:

Windows XP Home was included with SP2 pre-installed which was a plus. Here is the software that was included with the laptop:

  • Symantec Norton Antivirus 2005 (complementary 60 days Live Update)
  • Notebook Help & Support
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Sonic RecordNow
  • InterVideo WinDVD
  • Apple iTunes and Apple iTunes Music Store
  • Adobe PhotoShop Album Suite
  • muvee autoProducer
  • Microsoft Works
  • Microsoft Money
  • MSN Encarta Plus

When I booted the laptop and was shown the desktop of Windows I immediately uninstalled all unneeded programs, for example: iTunes, Sonic RecordNow!, and all the promotional offers on the desktop for free internet and what not.

HP Support:

I have heard that HP’s tech support is pretty bad but I beg to differ. I was either lucky or people were lying. I have had support both online and on the phone, I was not shipped overseas with the call. Experiences for me were great, problems got solved, and HP’s tech support was very friendly.

Pros:

  • Beautiful LCD
  • Comfy keyboard
  • Media-card reader
  • Wi-fi on/off button
  • Vertical & Horizontal scrolling
  • Cost

Cons:

  • No line-in port.
  • The stickers were slanted.
  • Dust gets trapped near the touchpad.
  • No Bluetooth (you can always get an adapter)
  • Short battery-life

Conclusion

With all the complaints you may think that the laptop is no good, the things I have pointed out are far from causing me to change my mind on buying this laptop. For the affordability, performance, and the beautiful LCD I would have paid double had I purchased from other companies. The Compaq R4000 comes with all the bells and whistles most PC users require and some extra goodies for the tech-savvy. The Compaq R4000 is most certainly worth a look if you need a desktop replacement, with portability and performance, just don’t forget your AC charger.

Pricing and Availability


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