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Though it's cooler-looking than much of the competition, the HP Compaq Presario V4000 is still a quintessential mainstream/value notebook. At $1,579, it's also more expensive than alternatives such as the Gateway M460S, which offers a comparable performance and twice the battery life. Still, the Presario V4000 is a solid all-around notebook for a student or a home user who needs good performance and a complete set of basic features and connections. For a system with a stronger set of multimedia features, check out the comparably priced HP Pavilion dv4000.
HP knows how to make a sophisticated-looking notebook. The Presario V4000's black-and-silver case measures 14.0 inches wide, 10.3 inches deep, and 1.5 inches thick, though its rounded edges give it a thinner feel. Weighing in at 6.5 pounds, the Presario V4000 is an ounce lighter than its Pavilion sibling, the dv4000, and falls between the smaller Toshiba Satellite M45 and the more staid Gateway M460S. The system's 8-ounce AC adapter brings its travel weight to a tolerable 7 pounds, but the three-prong plug might be an annoyance in an older house or some international locales. The system has a big, comfortable keyboard with full-size keys and a great, large touch pad that measures 3.8 inches across, with an aspect ratio that matches the screen. While it lacks dedicated scroll buttons, it does have horizontal and vertical scroll zones.
The Presario V4000 can handle tomorrow's digital demands with a PCI Express slot for high-speed expansion, though no cards are currently available (expect the first in the next few months). All the standard ports and connections are here, including four USB 2.0 (two on either edge, a nice touch), one four-pin, unpowered FireWire, an S-Video output, as well as a traditional Type II PC Card slot. The memory-card reader on the left edge supports Secure Digital, Memory Stick, SmartMedia and even the latest xD module. The Presario V4000 is equipped with 100Mbps wired Ethernet, a V.92 modem, and both Bluetooth and an Intel 802.11b/g wireless; in our anecdotal test, we found the system had an excellent 150-foot Wi-Fi range.
Our test unit's software highlights included Microsoft Windows XP Pro (though XP Home is adequate for most home users), along with the discs needed to rebuild a dead machine. You also get iTunes, Microsoft Works Suite 2005, and Muvee AutoProducer DVD--a great application that can turn a series of clips into a DVD movie.
Our Presario V4000 test system came equipped with the latest mobile components, including a 2.0GHz Pentium M processor, an 80GB hard drive, and 1GB of 333MHz memory--the maximum amount of RAM the V4000 can accommodate. A bonus is the double-layer DVD burner; for a reasonable fee, you can add HP's LightScribe technology to laser-etch labels directly on the disc's surface. While it's a tolerable movie machine, the Presario V4000 lacks the Pavilion dv4000's instant-play features and remote control, and the V4000's stereo speakers sound too soft. Its 15.4-inch wide-screen BrightView display, with a 1,280x800 native resolution, looked slightly washed-out but offered a good amount of screen real estate. With an integrated Intel 915 graphics accelerator that uses up to 128MB of system memory, the Presario V4000 is not suitable for high-end gamer who require dedicated video memory.
These components all added up to good, if not exceptional, performance in CNET Labs' benchmark tests--about even with the much less expensive Toshiba Satellite M45 (with a slower processor and less memory) and the comparably priced Gateway M460S we tested back in June. Unfortunately, the system's six-cell battery ran for only 3 hours, 7 minutes on a charge; about the same as the Toshiba but giving out far sooner than the Gateway.
Like other Presarios, HP backs the Presario V4000 family with a one-year warranty, which you can extend to a more reasonable three years for $179--about average. For those who are a little rough on their equipment, HP has accident insurance that includes expedited repairs for $100 per year. Should anything go wrong, it's likely HP's Web site has the fix, with help that includes downloads of the latest BIOS and software, tips for troubleshooting a problem, and well-organized FAQs. The company has a toll-free, 24/7 hotline for questions and concerns; you can send e-mail day or night for a next-day reply.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
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Compaq Presario V4000
Windows XP Pro; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; 1GB DDR2 PC2700 SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 915GM Graphics Media Accelerator 128MB; Toshiba MK8025GAS 80GB 4,200rpm
Windows XP Home; 2.13GHz Intel Pentium M 765; 512MB 533MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon X600 128MB; Fujitsu MHT2080AH 80GB 5,400rpm
Sony VAIO VGN-FS570
Windows XP Home; 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 740; 1GB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS 910GML Express 128MB; Fujitsu MHU2100AT 100GB 4,200rpm
Toshiba Satellite M45
Windows XP Home; 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 740; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; Intel 915GM Graphics Media Accelerator 128MB; Toshiba MK1031GAS 100GB 4,200rpm