Compaq Presario V4000 review: Compaq Presario V4000

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The Good Attractive design; PCI Express slot; LightScribe double-layer optical drive; versatile flash card slot; great Wi-Fi range.

The Bad Wide-screen 15.4-inch display isn't as bright as others'; lacks dedicated video memory; speakers offer thin sound.

The Bottom Line The attractive Compaq Presario V4000 delivers good performance and a complete set of basic features, but it comes up a bit short on battery life.

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5.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6
  • Battery 3
  • Support 5

HP Compaq Presario V4000

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.