HP Compaq 6730b review

£738
Price when reviewed

Next to the chrome-effect splendour of the HP DV7, the 6730b looks more than a little understated. But, compared to the average business laptop, the HP is cut from a rather classier cloth.

The wide, silver lid is complemented by a two-tone interior comprised of silver pinstripes and matte black, and its monochromatic colour palette lends it an air of professionalism. It doesn’t just look good, though – the 6730b is eminently comfortable in use.

The keyboard is a delight: its keys respond with a soft but positive action. The trackpad is worth singling out for praise too. Its width makes for precise cursor control and the two rubberised buttons have a light action and delicate feel under the finger.

Meanwhile, the row of touch-sensitive buttons above the keyboard’s top edge launch a presentation mode, toggle the wireless radios, and adjust or mute the volume of the surprisingly capable speakers.

The specification is equally suited to life as a hard-working laptop. There may be no Blu-ray or high-definition display, but the Intel P8400 processor is one of the fastest on test and helped the 6730b to a score of 1.08 in our benchmarks. A single 2GB stick of memory leaves the second slot open for future expansion, while a 160GB hard disk and DVD writer cover the storage side of things.

Battery life is impressive, with the HP managing 5hrs 34mins away from the mains. Pushing the HP as hard as we could with screen brightness at full, this reduced to 1hr 28mins.

The only mild disappointment is the HP’s display. Its 1,280 x 800 resolution stretches across a 15.4in diagonal and has a matte anti-glare finish. This minimises distracting reflections under bright lighting, but image quality is wayward. Colours appear muted and a slightly bluish cast leaves skin tones looking pallid and unnatural.

The HP Compaq 6730b is a fine business laptop, but despite its array of talents it can’t quite measure up to the best at this price. The consumer models here offer more at a similar price and our A-Listed business laptop, the Sony VAIO VGN-SR19XN, also matches it, despite weighing 760g less.

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 357 x 264 x 44mm (WDH)
Weight 2.660kg
Travelling weight 3.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8400
Motherboard chipset Intel GM45
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 1
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Intel GMA X4500HD
Graphics card RAM 64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 1
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 160GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Toshiba MK1652GSX
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TSSTcorp TS-L633L
Battery capacity 5,100mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem yes
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset SoundMAX HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM no
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 334
Battery life, heavy use 88
Overall application benchmark score 1.08
3D performance (crysis) low settings 5fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Business
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery partition
Software supplied Windows XP downgrade discs

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