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HP Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX review: HP Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX

HP Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX

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Scott Stein
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Scott Stein

Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

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Editors' note: This review is part of our 2009 Retail Laptop and Desktop Back-to-School roundup, covering specific fixed configurations of popular systems that can be found in retail stores.

OVR
5.4

HP Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX

The Good

Decent keyboard and touch pad, good screen, low price.

The Bad

Slow processor, no SD card reader or Bluetooth.

The Bottom Line

Saddled with a processor that's bottom-tier, the CQ60-417DX is a budget laptop with the chassis of a superior machine but the guts of an inferior one.

In our Back-to-School retail laptop roundup, we've taken a look at a few real bargain-basement machines. Along with the Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955, the Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX comes in at less than $400. Although it's fifty dollars more than the Satellite L305-S5955, it also has a larger, 15.6-inch, higher-resolution 16:9 screen, comes with a Windows 7-upgrade-eligible Windows Vista Home Premium OS, and has a keyboard and touch pad that were far more comfortable for us. But, you should be forewarned: both systems are nearly identical otherwise, and both come with a pretty bare-bones Celeron 900 processor that isn't much more powerful than the average Netbook.

However, for only $29 more, you can get a laptop with a significantly better dual-core processor in the Dell Inspiron 1545-012B, so the underpowered processor at the CQ60-417DX's core can't be overlooked. For your entry-level computing needs, we recommend looking elsewhere.

Price as reviewed / Starting price $399
Processor 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900
Memory 3GB, DDR2 800 MHz
Hard drive 160GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel GM45
Graphics Intel GMA 4500MHD
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium SP1
Dimensions (WD) 14.9x9.9 inches
Height 1.4-1.7 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.3 / 7.1 pounds
Category Mainstream

One thing the Compaq-branded HP Presario CQ60-417DX isn't is lightweight: at more than six pounds, it's a handful. However, while the notebook's hardly a looker, its design is at least to be credited for being under-the-radar and unobtrusive. A black glossy lid emblazoned only with a large silver Q opens up to a keyboard area that's half-glossy silver plastic and half matte black plastic. A full tapered keyboard and number pad fills the available real estate and feels nice and comfortable, as does the well-shaped touch pad. The design grew on us--once your finger dips into the glossy recessed well of the touch pad, it's easy to navigate across the 15-inch screen.

It's no surprise that the chassis feels good; it's the same as the recently reviewed "="" rel="follow">HP Compaq CQ60-215DX, which we pointed out was using the same chassis as the higher-end HP G60-235dx. But those machines both had reasonably useful dual-core processors, and the Celeron 900 shoved into the CQ60-417DX isn't even close.

Other than the keyboard, there are only two other buttons on the keyboard tray: an LED-lit power button and a Wi-Fi button, both set front and center in the perforated plastic that covers the speakers.

The CQ60-417DX 15.6-inch LCD has a 1,366x768-pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. According to Compaq, the "BriteView technology" helps increase the contrast and sharpness on the screen. Regardless of whatever BriteView entails, the screen does look pretty good under most conditions, a benefit for a laptop this cheap. The speakers are also louder than average, though not audiophile quality.

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA-out VGA-out, HDMI
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0 4 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion None ExpressCard/54
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

You can't get any more bare bones in terms of ports when it comes to the Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX--VGA-out and USB ports are all you'll get, along with Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a DVD burner. The minimalism is out-of-place in a laptop world where even $299 Netbooks throw in SD card readers. There's also no Bluetooth. A port that would normally be for HDMI has been covered over in plastic--not that you'd use it much with such an underpowered processor, but it's still a tease.

The hard drive capacity, at 160GB, is Netbook-level for 2009, although having 3GB of RAM at least keeps it slightly above the otherwise spec-identical Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955.

The 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900 processor has been around for a while. We saw it in the first generation of Netbooks before Intel released the Atom CPU. As you might imagine, if it's not great for Netbooks, it's not going to be great for a full-size laptop.

While the GMA 4500MHD graphics do allow for some decent 720p video streaming, the Presario CQ60-417DX performed woefully in our multimedia multitasking test, and not much better in iTunes and Photoshop tests. The dual-core Dell Inspiron 1545-012B multitasked in less than half the time.

Juice box
Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.46
Sleep (10 percent) 0.76
Idle (25 percent) 17.48
Load (5 percent) 38.1
Raw kWh 58.05
Annual energy cost $6.59

Annual power consumption cost
Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955
$5.86

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX
$6.59

The Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX's six-cell battery lasted 2 hours and 11 minutes in our battery-drain test. Considering that this laptop's running a relatively power-friendly Celeron, that's not the most impressive battery life. In the entry-level category of our 2009 Back-to-School retail laptop review roundup, the sub-$500 Asus K50IJ-RX05 lasted about 30 minutes longer.

HP includes an industry-standard, one-year, parts-and-labor warranty with the system. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and driver downloads. Retail stores offer a variety of extended warranty plans with your laptop purchase, but they're generally expensive, and we do not recommend them.

Note: While this PC comes with Windows Vista, many retailers, including Best Buy, and some hardware manufacturers, are offering a free upgrade to Windows 7 for systems purchased after the end of June.

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

Asus K50IJ-RX05
1,035

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX
2,741

Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955
2,814

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX
251

Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955
269

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

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX
225

Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955
225

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955
157

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX
131

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:
Toshiba Satellite L305-S5955
Windows Vista Home Basic SP1; 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 160GB Toshiba 5,400rpm.

Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 160GB Samsung 5,400rpm.

Toshiba Satellite L505D-S5965
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.1GHz AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core QL-65; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon 3100; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm.

Dell Inspiron 1545-012B
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 160GB Western Digital 5,400rpm.

Asus K50IJ-RX05
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Seagate 5,400rpm.

OVR
5.4

HP Compaq Presario CQ60-417DX

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 5Performance 4Battery 7Support 7
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