HP Compaq 6730b review

It's business as usual for the HP Compaq 6730b, but despite a fine overall performance it just falls short of excellence.

5
Price when reviewed 
738
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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

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions357 x 264 x 44mm (WDH)
Weight2.660kg
Travelling weight3.2kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo P8400
Motherboard chipsetIntel GM45
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free1
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA X4500HD
Graphics card RAM64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs1
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity160GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba MK1652GSX
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSSTcorp TS-L633L
Battery capacity5,100mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetSoundMAX HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
TPMno
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use334
Battery life, heavy use88
Overall application benchmark score1.08
3D performance (crysis) low settings5fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Business
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedWindows XP downgrade discs

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