HP Compaq 6720s User Review

by RickHornes Reads (326,739)

The HP Compaq 6720s is HP’s latest 15.4" widescreen notebook featuring the new 800FSB Core 2 Duo CPU. It sports a 15.4" WXGA BrightView screen, onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 and weighs about 2.5Kgs. It’s targeted at the business market as a budget notebook.

HP Compaq 6720s Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5470 1.60GHz , 2MB L2 cache, 800MHz FSB
  • OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Hard Drive: 120GB SATA (5400RPM), HP DriveGuard
  • Screen: 15.4" WXGA BrightView Widescreen (1280 x 800)
  • Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
  • RAM: 1 x 1024MB DDR2
  • Optical Drive: 8x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti with Lightscribe
  • Battery: 6-cell lithium-ion (47 Watt/hour)
  • Wireless: Intel Wireless LAN 802,11a/b/g MOW2, mini-PCI card, Bluetooth
  • Ports: 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, stereo microphone in, stereo headphone/line out, power connector, RJ-11/modem, RJ-45/Ethernet,
  • Slots: ExpressCard/54 slot, Secure Digital (SD) slot
  • Dimensions: 1.27 in (at front) x 14.1 in x 10.5 in / 32.3 mm (at front) x 358 mm x 266.8 mm
  • Weight: 2.5Kgs (5.5 lbs)


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Reasons for Buying

My trusty old Dell Latitude C610 was not sufficient for everyday use anymore. I carry my notebook with me everyday to my university so I was looking for a light notebook. When I heard a new HP commercial on the radio about the 6720s for only €599 (excl VAT) I got interested. It turned out this notebook had everything I needed including low weight and a very friendly price tag.

Where and How Purchased

I bought the 6720s at www.obcs.nl for 666.81 including taxes and shipping. This was a very good deal for me as I got everything I wanted at a very friendly price.


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Build & Design

The 6720s looks and feels pretty solid. It’s not really a consumer notebook thus is has no extra bells and whistles for media playback like a remote control or media buttons. It’s made out of black and grey plastic and fits perfectly on my lap. There is enough space to rest your palms on while typing and it feels very solid (the screen can be twisted a little however). You really need to push hard on the lid in order for the ripples to appear.


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Screen

The 15.4" screen has a Samsung panel (LTN154X3-L01) with a 1280×800 resolution and comes with a reflective BrightView coating. My 6720s did not have any dead pixels and I could not see any signs of backlight bleeding. The picture is very crisp and clear. The viewing angle from left and right are very good. This is one of the best screens I have ever seen on a laptop. If you are considering buying this notebook you should really purchase one with BrightView.


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Speakers

The speakers are a bit of a let down. True, business users rarely need high quality sound but HP snuck a big mono speaker into this one. The soundcard is a Soundmax Digital HD Audio but it does not feature any digital outputs, only headphones and microphone. The speakers are above the keyboard, so if you close the lid then the screen is blocking the speaker. My advice: buy headphones or connect your external speakers.

Processor and Performance

The Core 2 Duo T5470 is the slowest of the new 800MHz FSB CPU’s but it’s still really fast. The Intel Speedstep Technology changes the multiplier from 6x to 8x in order to maintain maximum performance and maximum battery time. The only thing this processor lacks compared to its faster brothers is a higher frequency, 2MB cache and Vanderpool Technology (hardware accelerated virtualisation). Windows Vista boot up time from the BIOS to the Windows logon screen is about 32 seconds. The hard disk is a Hitachi HTS541612J9SA00 which means it’s a 120GB SATA drive at 5400RPM with 8MB cache. Windows feels really snappy despite only 1GB of RAM but with one open slot I think I will upgrade to 2GB soon. I don’t play games on it but with integrated X3100 graphics you shouldn’t expect very much.

Benchmarks:

Benchmarked with Super Pi, HD Tune and Everest.

SuperPi benchmark results:

Notebook Time
HP Compaq 6720s (1.60GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 15s
HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52) 2m 05s
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T2400) 59s
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 02s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Toshiba A100 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 29s
Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86GHz Pentium M) 1m 53s
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz Pentium M) 1m 45s
HP dv5000z (2.0GHz Sempron 3300+) 2m 02s

HDTune:


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Everest:


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Heat and Noise

One thing that struck me was the lack of heat. After working a few hours on it only the hard disk got a little hot. The bottom was only a little bit hot at the location of the CPU and chipset. The surface and keyboard did not get hot. When the AC adapter is plugged in the notebook tends to keep running at maximum (1.6GHz) speed. While typing this review the fan was spinning on low speed but was never too loud for a quiet workplace. At high speed the fan is noticeable but not too loud.


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Keyboard and Touchpad

As this is my first widescreen laptop it took me a little while to get used to the wide touchpad. The touchpad is from Synaptics with printed scrollzone on the right and it feels really good. The buttons beneath the touchpad feel a bit cheap and need very little force to press. I guess this is personal but I would rather have sturdy buttons so I don’t accidentally click on them. The keyboard flexes a little in the middle but it didn’t disturb me as it types just fine. There are no dedicated media or volume control buttons, volume can be controlled by pressing Fn and F11 or F12. There is just one extra button to control wireless/Bluetooth. More than enough for me.

Input and Output Ports

Input and output is somewhat standard. There are three USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet, power, VGA and modem ports on the left side. The front sports a SD/MMC cardreader and headphones/microphone connectors. Above the USB ports there is one ExpressCard slot with dustcover. On the right side there is a hole for a Kensington lock. Too bad there are no FireWire or TV-out ports.


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Wireless

The Wireless LAN is driven by the Intel 3945ABG. This Wireless LAN card does not need an introduction and does exactly what it’s meant to do. It also comes with Bluetooth. Windows Vista had no problem recognizing the Bluetooth device out-of-the-box so no extra drivers were necessary. As you might expect there is no infrared port on this notebook. But hey, who uses that these days?

Battery

HP estimates that the battery lasts about 4.5 hours. After a few tries believe that this estimate is quite right. I have not yet completely drained the battery, only for about 50 percent. I’m quite happy with it and 4.5 hours should be enough for me and when its not I just have to find a power outlet as the adapter is light enough to carry around with me.

Operating System and Software

I personally can’t stand the standard installation from any manufacturer. They always seem to cram it full with all their tools, trial versions of antivirus software and other bloatware I don’t need. The 6720s was no exception. It took about one hour before I could finally enter Windows Vista and do something. I had to sit through an entirely automated system backup of the harddrive which took a long time. As there were no disks provided in the box you were supposed to make your own copies of your installation. I quickly reinstalled Windows Vista Basic from scratch with minimal HP tools in order to keep my system clean. Now Windows Vista feels a lot snappier and cleaner. Too bad they didn’t include a Windows Vista disk.

Customer Support

No experience with customer support. There is a one year warranty and it was possible to upgrade. There are several so called "Carepacks," each with different covering, duration and costs.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a laptop without any bells and whistles with low weight and a friendly pricetag then the HP Compaq 6720s is for you. If you want to play new games at a high resolution then this is not what you are looking for. I would totally recommend it to my fellow students as they always seem low on cash and shouldn’t be playing games at your university anyway.

Pros

  • Excellent screen
  • Long battery time
  • Great multitasking
  • Great value for money
  • Well designed
  • SD/MMC cardreader
  • Stays cool

Cons

  • Standard installation full of bloatware
  • No recovery/Vista disks
  • No FireWire/TV-out/DVI/HDMI
  • Mono speaker


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