Compaq Presario V4000

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Final Words

Overall, the V4000 made a fair impression on us. There are two main groups that this notebook will attract, and our conclusions for those two groups have come to different ends. People needing the high end performance with low levels of mobility should find this notebook attractive for the price. This also goes for those looking for a reasonably priced multimedia platform (the V4000 with BrightView). The catch is going to be that this is, after all, is a relatively inexpensive machine, and is not a top of the line multimedia notebook. Even with a BrightView screen, it isn't completely up to par with the glare-type displays found on the competitive models we have seen from some other companies.

While it is not a best-of-class multimedia platform per say, the general users who watch the occasional movie will probably be content with the V4000. Those that are more avid movie watchers, and can perceive the ever so slight differences between an awesome display and a so-so display, might notice a difference in those specific bright or dreary scenes. For the moment, if you are planning to mainly use the V4000 for e-mail, word processing, and just occasional movie watching, we recommend going without the BrightView option. Take up BrightView if you are planning to watch movies, video files, and the like more often than not.

You might have already noticed that we have been testing the V4000 with a 2.0GHz Pentium-M, which is not currently offered by Compaq. We are told this will be changed as of June 8, for those looking to go with the highest end of the processing spectrum.

In order for HP/Compaq to improve upon the V4000 we'd recommend they make a few changes. For one, if they want to keep the distinct clam shell design, the hinge needs to be redesigned so that it doesn't protrude from the backside of the notebook, as its current position fully exposes it to damage upon impact. Second, we's like to see a brighter display so that the weaknesses of glare-type displays are avoided. Third, we'd like to see a revision of the V4000 to implement DDR2 memory.  The current choice of DDR actually limits synchronous bus bandwidth. This is a limitation for those looking to the V4000 as a quasi-mobile performance notebook. Fourth, we'd recommend a different material be used in the construction of the touchpad. After a few months of use, you will actually feel the problem we noted earlier in our review.

On a related note, we noticed an abnormality when it comes to watching DVD movies. We are uncertain of the root cause at this time, but it seemed that some on-screen objects, like faces for example, seemed to suffer from sawtooth artifacts (aka feathering/comb filtering). When you encounter bright movie scenes, there seems to be vertical pixelation, that's quite noticeable as seen in the screenshot above. This could be an offshoot of the quality of the display panel, because we have not seen this issue occur with other multimedia notebooks.

When it comes to purchasing this notebook, we need to mention a fluke we discovered along with the help of one of HP's technicalrepresentativess. It seems that the shopping.hp.com site has a bit of an error. There are two choices in the graphics card section on the V4000 configuration page: "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900" or "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 - Pentium." The difference is that one uses the 915GML (saves you $25) and the other the 915GM, respectively. Since all V4000s use a 915GM platform, the error is that the 915GML is not being used in any design skew of the V4000. This is an important note as the integrated graphics core for both chipsets are not the same (compare chipsets). The 915GML runs at a lower speed. Apparently, there is much more to this as the "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 - Pentium" option (uses 915GM) also provides the Expansion 2 port, mini IEEE1394 Firewire port, 6-in-1 card reader, and 2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports. Because both options use the same chipset, we are uncertain if all V4000s come with these "additional" ports. It could be that the lower end option just leaves these out. It's also possible that they all have the same specifications, and these "additional" ports are standard, which would mean that HP is leaving you a loophole to save 25 bucks. We will keep you updated as information comes in.

In the end, we would like to see Compaq make some improvements to the V4000 platform, perhaps we will see some of them implemented down the road. For its price range ($1100 - $1300), however, the V4000 is a very good buy. In the end, we are giving the V4000 a 7.5 on the Heat Meter.

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Tags:  Pre, Compaq, SAR, ESA, AR, COM

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