Compaq v3000z Review (pics, specs)

by miner Reads (250,189)

Overview and Introduction:


The Compaq Presario v3000 series is one of the newest in HP’s lineup of consumer notebooks.  It features dual core power and is primarily aimed at being a good all-round mobile solution. It weighs around 5.3lbs with the 6 cell battery and has a 14″ widescreen display.  It is also available with a choice of both AMD Turion 64 X2/Sempron and Intel Core Duo/Solo microprocessors.  The laptop is currently available at HPShopping.com with a base price of $699* for the AMD based version and $899* for the Intel based version. The launch of this laptop also coincided with HP’s new marketing initiative of “Making the computer personal again” and with its new design philosophy, HP aims to transform the computer from being just an electronic utility item to more of a personal tool.


Compaq Presario v3000z (view large image)

*price after $100 mail in rebate.

Reasons for Buying:

I was looking for an affordable laptop that cost around $1,000 which would last me 3 years or more, have good design and be capable of 64-bit computing. All of this plus it should not sacrifice any features.  The v3000z struck the right balance for my requirements.

A list of similar/Competing laptops to the V3000Z are:

A typical buyer of such a notebook would probably be looking for a laptop which is both mobile yet does not sacrifice performance or important features.


The lid does show some reflections yet hides fingerprints quite well (view large image)

Where and How Purchased:

I ordered the laptop online through HPShopping.com. The ordering experience was pleasant without any issues.  I placed the order on June 10th, the order was processed and completed on the 21st and it shipped on the same date and arrived on the 26th of June. The time taken was a bit longer than I expected but given that the laptop was just introduced, longer build time is to be expected.

Technical Specifications:

The V3000z is available in custom build to order and also pre-configured versions should be available in retail stores soon. Since I ordered mine custom built from HP, the specifications will vary.

  • AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-52 (1.60GHz/512KB)
  • 14.1″ WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280 x 800)
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150
  • 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (2x256MB)*
  • 60 GB 5400 RPM Serial ATA Hard Drive
  • Super Multi 8X DVD+/-R/RW w/Double Layer Support
  • 802.11b/g WLAN
  • 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 1-yr Standard Warranty
  • Dimensions: 13.15″ (L) x 9.33″ (W) x 1″ (min H)/1.54″ (max H)
  • Weight (6 cell): 5.5lb
  • Total Price (after MIR & student discount) = $960 including tax

*The v3000z I purchased was upgraded to 2GB of RAM aftermarket.

Build & Design:

The build quality is very good for a laptop in this price range.  There aren’t any little squeaks or creeks when the laptop is picked up from any corner, but the screen produces some ripples when the lid is pressed hard from behind. The hinges are covered in plastic and I am not sure if it runs through the entire length of the laptop, but overall the hinges do feel solid and there is no movement in the screen when typing and it holds its position even when shaken a bit hard. Having used a Compaq v2000 series laptop, I must say the v3000 is a definite improvement in the build quality department.

The laptop is colored with a combination of grey and black with imprinted lines all over the visible surface.  It looks conservative and yet comes off as being an extremely stylish looking laptop.  The screen which is surrounded by a high gloss black surface is more prone to fingerprints.  Most of the laptop is built of polycarbonate with an imprint finish developed by Nissha Film Products.  The imprint can be seen clearly and is protected by a coating of clear plastic material which helps in avoiding scratch marks.

Screen:

The screen is almost perfect, I had no issues with any dead or stuck pixels.  It has good horizontal viewing angle but the vertical angles could be better (this is typical of most notebook screens).  The 14″ widescreen is a very popular format and is perfect for everyday use.  The text looks clear and sharp and the screen viewing area is perfect for surfing and typing documents.  The only negative against the screen would be the light leakage.  Some amount of leakage is to be almost expected in any laptop and the v3000 isn’t any different. The leakage is only visible in the bottom of the screen and is only apparent when looking at a screen with black background.  Do remember that light leakage is individual to a particular screen and some others might not have the same amount as mine.


Note the good viewing angles as well as the reflection due to the glossy screen (view large image)

Speakers:

HP has replaced the position of the speakers from the front of the laptop in the previous generation to a place right above the keyboard. The speakers are branded as Altec Lansing and have decent bass that are slightly better than the average laptop speaker. The sound gets a bit distorted when the volume is at the highest. If you are an audiophile headphones are recommended, but otherwise I found the speaker to be of acceptable sound quality.


Speakers located right above the keyboard (view large image)

Processor and Performance:

The Presario v3000Z came equipped with the AMD Turion 64 X2 TL52 running at 1.6GHz.  This is the new range of dual core processors by AMD aimed squarely at the Intel Core Duo’s. It has one distinct advantage of being able to run 64-bit operating systems and applications. Of course currently this is not of much use to the general public since there are hardly any mainstream 64-bit operating systems and applications. But the future of computing seems to be headed towards 64-bit and it is nice to have a processor which is capable of handling such instructions. Being dual core it performs best when multitasking and I was able to run my antivirus in the background and not notice any slowdowns as I was surfing the web, typing this review and also listening to streaming music.

Benchmarks:

Below are some of the standard suite of tests that should be able to give a better idea about the performance the Turion X2 is capable.

Super Pi

Nothing surprising here as the Core Duo’s have made this benchmark their own.

Notebook

Time

Compaq Presario V3000z (1.6GHz Turion64 X2)

1m 57s

Dell Inspiron e1405 (1.66GHz Core Duo)

1m 22s

Gateway M255 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 15s

Lenovo Z61m (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 16s

IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 45s

IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)

1m 36s

Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)

1m 48s

Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)

1m 52s

Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)

2m 10s

HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 39s

Asus V6Va (Pentium M 1.86 GHz)

1m 46s

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s


3D Mark 05

This benchmark primarily compares the performance of the graphics subsystem.

Notebook

3DMark 05 Results

Compaq V3000z (1.6GHz Turion64 X2, nVidia GeForce Go 6150)

613 3D Marks

Averatec AV2150-EH1 (AMD Turion 64 1.6GHz, ATI Xpress 200M)

442 3D Marks

Gateway M255 (2.0 GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 Graphics)

523 3D Marks

Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 nVidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)

7,078 3DMarks

Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Intel T2500, ATI X1400)

1,791 3D Marks

Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)

2,530 3D Marks

Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)

2,273 3DMarks

Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB)

2,090 3D Marks

Acer Travel Mate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)

4,157 3DMarks


PC Mark 05

 

Compaq v3000z Averatec 2150 Dell e1405

HDD XP Startup

6.33 MB/s

6.0MB/s

5.36MB/s

Physics and 3D

68.19 FPS

48.83 FPS

67.64 FPS

Transparent Windows

236.88 Windows/s

169.24 Windows/s

202.96 Windows/s

3D Pixel Shader

Test failed

6.85 FPS

12.84 FPS

Web Page Rendering

1.66 Pages/s

1.79 Pages/s

2.55 Pages/s

File Decryption

27.69 MB/s

27.23 MB/s

41.41 MB/s

Graphics Memory 64 Lines

449.28 FPS

258.76 FPS

475.65 FPS

HDD General Usage

4.1 MB/s

4.02 MB/s

3.68 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 1 / Audio Compression

N/A

N/A

1732.89 KB/s

Multithreaded Test 1 / Video Encoding

Test failed

Test Failed

245.19 KB/s

Multithreaded Test 2 / Text Edit

93.78 Pages/s

48.38 Pages/s

88.07 Pages/s

Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Decompression

18.36 MPixels/s

8.51 MPixels/s

19.67 MPixels/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / File Compression

2.83 MB/s

1.59 MB/s

6.3 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / File Encryption

23.09 MB/s

8.11 MB/s

14.98 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / HDD Virus Scan

19.93 MB/s

9.85 MB/s

23.3 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / Memory Latency – Random 16MB

8.63 MAccesses/s

8.41 MAccesses/s

7.32 MAccesses/s

Test Laptop Specifications:

Compaq V3000z — AMD Turion64 X2 TL 52 (1.6GHz, 2X512KB L2 cache), Nvidia Geforce Go 6150, 2GB DDR2 533, 60GB SATA HDD.

Averatec AV 2150-EH1 — AMD Turion64 ML 28 (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 cache), ATI Radeon 200m, 512MB DDR 333, 80GB PATA HDD. (Full Specs)

Dell Inspiron e1405 — Intel Core Duo T2300 (1.66GHz, 2MB shared L2 cache), Intel GMA 950, 1GB DDR2 533, 80GB SATA 5400rpm HDD. (Full Specs)

HD Tune

The results for the hard drive test are very encouraging. The 60GB 5400rpm SATA Western Digital HDD turned up surprisingly good benchmarks and compares favorably with the 100GB 7200rpm SATA Hitachi HDD.(See here)


(view large image)

Keyboard & Touchpad:


The top row buttons and the right shift keys are the only small size keys (view large image)

The keyboard has also received an update along with the rest of the laptop. The keys have good feel and have good travel and the key press is registered at first stroke. I haven’t run into any major issues and unless you have typed on a ThinkPad, this keyboard should do fine. The keyboard is not full size as in many earlier HP laptops, but HP has done a fair trade off. Only the right Shift and the top row buttons are smaller. The other keys are of standard size for a laptop. There is little bit of flex and this is noticeable around the right lower corner (area of the arrow keys).

The touchpad is located in the centre of the laptop and is slightly to the right of the space bar. It is a bit short but makes up for this by being wider which makes it perfect for the 16:9 ratio screen. It is very smooth and easy to maneuver the cursor around the screen using it.  The touchpad also has a dedicated scroll area which is clearly marked.  Another thoughtful feature is the touchpad on/off button which is helpful to avoid accidental cursor movement, especially when using the keyboard. The two mouse buttons have a good feel and don’t have the typical click’ noise, but instead produce a low soft sound and offer good travel when pressed.

There are 4 buttons located on top of the keyboard which control the power on/off, speaker volume, mute and Quickplay buttons. The latter 3 buttons are touch sensitive and produce a popping noise to indicate that the button has been activated/deactivated. The volume increase/decrease buttons also follow the same principle and sliding the hand over the markings increases or decreases the volume. All of these buttons are lit blue and look very good, especially in a dark setting. They are not bright enough to interfere while working.

Touch sensitive buttons for the Quickplay, Mute & Volume buttons. They produce a “pop” as confirmation that the button has been pressed.

Heat & Noise:

The laptop is relatively cool running. There are a few warm spots around the rear heat vents and the left palm rest which is located right above the hard drive. Even after hours of use none of the areas become uncomfortably hot and it does not affect the usage of the laptop in any way. The processor idles around 39 C and under full load increases up to 65 C.  The low input voltage (1.075V @ 1.6GHz) of the processor is mainly responsible for it not becoming too hot. The fan turns on at 43 – 45 C and remains on until it drops back to 38 C. The fan stays on for a while and then turns off for around the same amount of time. It is fairly consistent in speed, it is fairly silent making a whoosh’ when running which is within tolerable limits. There are two vents for the laptop. The fan intake vent is on the bottom but the vent is mostly covered and only a small portion is open. The exhaust vent is located in the back right next to the battery.


Locations of the most important parts underneath the laptop (view large image)

Input and Output Ports:

Right


(DVD Burner, 2USB Ports, 56k Modem, Power jack and a Security lock) (view large image)

Left


(S Video Out, VGA, HP proprietary Expansion Port, Ethernet, 1 USB, 4 pin Firewire, 5 in 1 media card reader and an Expresscard slot) (
view large image)

Front


Wireless On/Off button (view large image)


Infra Red, microphone and external speaker/headphone port (view large image)

Back


The back is just occupied by the battery and the exhaust vent (view large image)

Wireless:

The laptop ships stock with a Broadcom wireless chipset. The range and connection speeds are good and generally works very well without any issues. The only sticking point might be for Linux users as Broadcom is pretty much Linux unfriendly.

Battery:

When I was looking around for a laptop, I was aiming for a minimum battery life of 3.5hrs and so bought the 12 cell extended battery. This battery sticks out from the bottom and raises the back of the laptop by an inch or so. The pictures will help in better illustrating this. There are a few advantages of having the extended battery, since the back of the laptop is raised it provides better air circulation and leads to a slightly cooler laptop. It also brings the screen up to a comfortable height. The keyboard is also slightly at an angle and it is much more comfortable to use. The battery does not imbalance the laptop even when using on the lap (although you will probably have to adjust your legs accordingly).

With the Wi-Fi on, screen at low brightness and surfing the web, typing documents and intermittently listening to some music, the battery lasted 5hr 30min.

Extrapolating this result to the smaller standard battery, it should be capable of lasting 2.5 to 3hrs.

Overall I am satisfied with the battery life in most situations that I would use the laptop in.

Windows Vista Compatibility:

Here is Microsoft’s definition of Vista Capable PC’s:

A new PC that carries the Windows Vista Capable PC logo can run Windows Vista. All editions of Windows Vista will deliver core experiences such as innovations in organizing and finding information, security, and reliability. All Windows Vista Capable PCs will run these core experiences at a minimum. Some features available in the premium editions of Windows Vista like the new Windows Aero user experience may require advanced or additional hardware.

A Windows Vista Capable PC includes at least:

  • A modern processor (at least 800MHz).
  • 512 MB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable.

The laptop ships with a Windows Vista Capable’ sticker. This means that the laptop should be capable of running Vista given the correct drivers are available. Unfortunately there are some missing drivers which do not allow the full features of Vista to work. With 32 bit Vista, almost all drivers are available except for the graphics card and the wireless. There was another driver missing but I couldn’t figure out what it was given the time constraints. The graphics card and the wireless can be made to work by using the regular XP drivers but since the graphics drivers aren’t WDDM signed Aero would not run. It was similar situation with 64 bit Vista as well. The computer itself is quite capable of running Vista, but currently at this stage Vista 32 bit is what I would recommend. 64 bit Vista probably over the next few months as more drivers become available and hopefully HP will offer drivers for Vista as and when it is released.

Operating System and Software:

I ordered the laptop with Windows XP Home and like every other major manufacturer in the market HP also tends to load their consumer notebooks with tons of software which in most cases is pretty useless. The system did not come with any restore discs but instead came with a partition on the hard drive occupying about ~10GB containing all the necessary files. HP also recommends that the owner themselves burn a copy of the restore disc. The laptop ships with the required software to do so. But do remember that HP gives the user only 1 chance to burn the discs after which the software locks itself.  HP does offer a clean Windows XP disc but it has to be ordered separately and costs $10.

Quickplay:

Quickplay is possibly the only software pre-installed which is worth keeping. Quickplay or QP for short is HP’s take on the media center and unlike the media center QP can run without booting into windows and play DVD’s, video, pictures and movies located in the shared documents folder. It is a nice tool if you watch movies or just play music on the laptop. It has a dedicated button which can launch QP from within Windows and even when the laptop is turned off. The optional remote might be worth buying as it is capable of controlling the Quickplay controls and will be useful when watching a DVD.

Customer Support:

My experiences with customer support have been limited since I really didn’t have any problems/issues with my previous Compaq in the 2yrs that I owned that laptop. I hope that my luck will continue with the V3000z and don’t have to use customer support.

Conclusion:

The v3000Z is a very attractively designed notebook. It looks conservative but still it manages to provide some glamour. It is well built and offers good performance and battery life. The performance of the Turion TL 52 is in the same range as the Core Duo T2300. It might be faster in some areas and slower in others. It also has a price advantage, the v3000Z is priced lower than its Intel based twin the v3000T. I would definitely recommend this laptop to anyone looking to buy a 14″ laptop with decent graphics.


Pros:

  • Gorgeous looking laptop — one of the best designs out there.
  • Light Weight and definitely mobile even with the extended battery.
  • Excellent battery life
  • Touchpad on/off button
  • Price

Cons:

  • Screen could be better
  • Keyboard could have been better.
  • HP system recovery software choice
  • More USB ports(has only 3)


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