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HP Compaq 6910p review: HP Compaq 6910p

Small businesses on tight budgets take note: The HP Compaq 6910p laptop offers enterprise-level features and decent performance at a price that's lower than the competition.

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
5 min read

HP Compaq 6910p


HP Compaq 6910p

The Good

Sturdy construction; strong components for the price; choice of glossy or antiglare display; integrated EV-DO or HSDPA wireless; Trusted Platform Module and smart-card slot; great-sounding speakers.

The Bad

Average performance; somewhat heavy travel weight thanks to AC adapter; lacks an ExpressCard slot.

The Bottom Line

Small businesses on tight budgets take note: The HP Compaq 6910p laptop offers enterprise-level features and decent performance at a price that's lower than the competition.

HP's latest business laptop, the thin-and-light Compaq 6910p, seems poised to woo corporate users away from their ThinkPads. It offers many of the same features as the Lenovo ThinkPad T61, including Intel's latest Centrino Duo platform, enterprise-level security via a Trusted Platform Module, and optional WWAN--at a significantly lower price. The $1,850 Compaq 6910p also undercuts the similarly configured Dell Latitude D630 by nearly $100, making it a good choice for corporate users who need the latest business-friendly features at an affordable price.

Price as reviewed/starting price $1,850/$1,199
Processor 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300
Memory 2GB of 667MHz
Hard drive 120GB at 5,400rpm
Graphics 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X2300
Chipset Mobile Intel 965GM Express
Operating system Windows Vista Business
Dimensions 13x9.5x1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 14.1 inches
System weight/weight with AC adapter 5.1/6.2 pounds
Category Thin-and-light

The HP Compaq 6910p features the boxy shape and subdued gray-and-black color scheme found across HP's business laptop line. Its solid construction and sturdy display hinges will no doubt appeal to IT buyers who want their laptops to last for the long haul. Its dimensions are fairly typical for a thin-and-light laptop and virtually identical to those of the Dell Latitude D630. The Compaq 6910p's 5.1-pound weight falls in the middle of the range for the thin-and-light category, making it an eminently portable machine on its own. Unfortunately, its 1.1-pound AC adapter brings its overall weight to a level that, while still manageable, is less than ideal for frequent travel.

The roomy keyboard on the HP Compaq 6910p, though not full size, lets you pound out lengthy documents without cramping your fingers. For navigation, HP offers both a pointing stick and a touch pad, each with its own comfortable, rubberized mouse buttons. To the lower right of the keyboard, there's a tiny fingerprint reader, which frees you from having to remember your Windows and Web passwords. Above the keyboard sits a row of light-touch buttons that should look familiar to anyone acquainted with HP's Pavilion laptops. In addition to a mute button and volume controls, there are buttons to launch HP's configuration tools, turn the wireless radios on and off, and adjust display settings for presentations. While the similar light-touch controls on Pavilion models make an annoying beeping noise that has to be manually shut off, the buttons on the HP Compaq 6910p are blissfully silent.

The well-thought-out design extends to the laptop's 14.1-inch wide-screen display, which you can customize with either HP's BrightView glossy finish or an antiglare finish. While the BrightView promises to make colors pop, it's also prone to distracting reflections; the antiglare finish (which our review unit had) makes it easier to work on spreadsheets and documents for long periods of time without straining your eyes. With a native resolution of 1,280x800, text and icons looked crisp without being too small, and video looked sharp, though the color was somewhat washed out on our display.

HP Compaq 6910p Average for thin-and-light category
Video VGA-out, S-Video VGA-out, S-Video
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data Three USB 2.0 ports, a mini-FireWire, a SD/MMC memory card reader, and a smart-card reader Three USB 2.0 ports, a mini-FireWire, and a multiformat memory card reader
Expansion PC Card slot PC Card or ExpressCard slot
Networking Modem, Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional WWAN Modem, Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The HP Compaq 6910p includes most of the ports and connections we expect on a thin-and-light laptop, plus a few business-friendly extras. Specifically, the laptop piles on corporate-level security measures, including not only a fingerprint reader but also a smart-card slot and an internal Trusted Platform Module. The Compaq 6910p also provides every possible networking connection: Gigabit Ethernet, 56Kbps modem, Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, and your choice of EV-DO or HSDPA WWAN radios (our review unit included a Verizon EV-DO connection). We were pleasantly surprised by the laptop's stereo speakers, which were rich and clear at all but the highest volumes. About the only thing we'd wish to add to the Compaq 6910p is an ExpressCard slot.

On CNET Labs performance benchmarks the HP Compaq 6910p fell toward the back of a pack of similarly configured thin-and-light laptops. Its performance was matched or bested by the $2,399 Lenovo ThinkPad T61, the $1,913 Dell Latitude D630, and the $1,449 Fujitsu LifeBook A6030. One key exception: the Compaq 6910p finished well ahead of the Dell--but still behind the others--on our Multimedia multitasking test. Still, any current Centrino Duo laptop, including the HP Compaq 6910p, will be able to easily handle the Web surfing, document editing, and productivity work that compose the bulk of office tasks. Heavy multitaskers and data crunchers might get a slight power boost from the ThinkPad T61 or the LifeBook A6030, but the HP Compaq 6910p will provide plenty of performance oomph for most users.

On our resource-intensive DVD battery drain tests, the HP Compaq 6910p lasted a fairly average 2 hours, 7 minutes, which was 5 minutes longer than the Fujitsu LifeBook A6030 but 20 minutes shorter than the ThinkPad T61. The Dell Latitude D630's extended-capacity battery outlasted them all, clocking in at 4 hours, 45 minutes. Our DVD battery drain test is especially grueling, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use. Power-hungry users can get a little more juice from HP's extended-capacity battery, which costs $129 on the company's site.

Like most business laptops, the HP Compaq 6910p comes with a three-year warranty that includes toll-free, 24-7 phone support and return-to-depot service. An upgrade to three years of onsite service costs $129. The company rounds out its service and support with a solid online help site that integrates a user forum and real-time chat with a tech-support representative.

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds

DVD battery drain test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
In minutes

System configurations:

Dell Latitude D630
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 384MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 120GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Fujitsu LifeBook A6030
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 120GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm

HP Compaq 6910p
Windows Vista Business; 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo T7300; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X2300; 120GB Seagate 5,400rpm

HP Pavilion dv2500t
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS; 160GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Lenovo ThinkPad T61
Windows Vista Business; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 100GB Seagate 7,200rpm


HP Compaq 6910p

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 6Battery 6Support 7