HP's laptop hits the big screen

Hewlett-Packard is all set to take the wraps off a new portable laptop that features a 16-inch screen--for a price much cheaper than its competitors'.

Hewlett-Packard on Monday will take the wraps off a new portable laptop that features a large screen, for a price that falls far below that of its competitors'.

The Compaq Presario 3005US will sport a 16-inch screen, a 2GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive and a combination CD-Rewritable/DVD-ROM drive. The screen, by far the largest offered by HP to date, offers SXGA resolution, or 1280 pixels by 1024 pixels.

The new laptop will be unveiled at the Comdex Fall 2002 trade show, which kicks off Sunday night with a keynote address from Microsoft's Bill Gates.

Notebooks with 16-inch screens are still rare--and fairly expensive. HP's laptop undercuts rival 16-inch models from Toshiba and Sony, company representatives said.

The Presario 3005US is priced at $1,899 before a $100 mail-in rebate--$900 less than Toshiba's Satellite 1955-S803, and $200 less than Sony's Vaio PCG-GRV550.

"We don't want to be the highest (price) vendor," said Fredrik Hamberger, manager of product marketing for Compaq Presario notebooks at HP. "This is a good solid notebook."

The Sony Vaio PCG-GRV550 includes a faster 2.4GHz Pentium 4, yet its hard drive is smaller at 30GB. The laptop screen offers the same SXGA resolution. The Toshiba laptop includes a number of extra features, including a detachable wireless keyboard and a larger 60GB hard drive, which adds to the overall price. Its screen also offers SXGA resolution.

Like other large-sized consumer notebooks, the new 8.1-pound Presario uses a desktop Pentium 4 processor. HP chose the desktop processor as it is less expensive in comparison to its mobile chip counterpart.