Laptop slim and seductively priced

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 June, 2004, 12:00am

Product: Compaq Presario B2000
Pros: Attractive, lightweight laptop; great price
Cons: Some compromises on features

The Compaq Presario B2000 is a nice lightweight laptop that offers a quality look and feel, with reasonable features and for a very good price.

Hewlett-Packard is promoting the machine as an entry-level laptop but, at first glance, the B2000 can be mistaken for a high-end product.

At just 3cm thick, the machine is notably thinner than most big-brand laptops in this price range. Looks-wise, it impresses with a contrasting silver lid and a slate grey body. It feels lightweight but tough, and the metal lid enhances that impression.

At the heart of the machine is a 1.5-gigahertz Intel mobile Pentium, a 40-gigabyte hard drive and (in our case) 256MB of DDR RAM.

For multimedia, the display is a 14.1-inch XGA powered by a 64-megabyte Intel Extreme Graphics 2 system. The software is fairly straightforward: Microsoft Windows XP Home, Office and Intervideo DVD player.

However, HP has made a few compromises for the price.

The built-in Centrino wireless system offers 802.11b Wi-fi, which is good for most hot spots, but with the faster and more secure 802.11g becoming the standard, it may not offer long-term connectivity.

The laptop comes with a reasonable, if not generous, selection of ports - three USB ports, audio, a single Type II PC Card slot, Fast Ethernet, a modem, and serial and parallel ports handily hidden in their own never-to-be opened space.

The space at the rear, where most laptops keep the majority of their expansion, is taken up mostly with the battery, thus limiting the designer's options.

Finally, we found slots in the case for Firewire and a Memory Stick/Smart Digital card reader, while the Compaq website mentions Bluetooth, which our review unit also lacked. However, at the time of going to press, HP had not confirmed whether these were expandable options.