HP Compaq 6720s review

£546
Price when reviewed

The Compaq brand may be commonly sold through chains like PC World, but that hasn’t stopped HP producing new Compaqs with its own brand name.

When we first saw the 6720s, however, it wasn’t HP that immediately sprang to mind, but another major laptop player – Sony. The design shares many traits with the VAIO, such as the sunken keyboard and roll-hinged lid, but it lacks some of its class in execution.

That isn’t to say the HP disappoints. Its biggest selling point is the battery, which gave well over five hours in light-use conditions and doesn’t protrude like some of the other batteries this month. Plus, at 2.6kg, it’s one of the lighter 15.4in models here, so it scores well for portability.

The design is a little odd and not really what we’d call attractive, but there’s room for a well laid-out keyboard with a full-sized cursor cluster, and there’s plenty of travel to the keys. The lid is firm and strong, while the base and the hinges feel like they’ll withstand the rigours of a commute. In fact, the only fault we can find with the build quality is that the mouse buttons are unresponsive, which means it’s often hard to tell if you’ve clicked on something.

We like the positioning of the three USB ports near the front on the left, although having to plug the power cord into the side rather than the rear is a little irritating. The 120GB hard disk is a decent enough size, plus the 6720s supports Bluetooth and has an ExpressCard/54 slot in the side.

The HP’s performance leaves a lot to be desired, however, with a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo T5470 and 1GB of memory carrying it to a score of 0.7. There’s a spare DIMM socket, so you could easily improve that in the future, though. Also disappointing is that, although it uses Intel’s 965GM chipset, there’s no support for draft-n wireless networks, and you only get 10/100 rather than Gigabit Ethernet.

The 6720s costs less than the rest here so it can be forgiven a few of its faults, and if you want a reliable 15.4in laptop with decent battery life the HP won’t disappoint. But if battery isn’t a priority, we’d opt for the Compaq instead.

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