HP Compaq 6710b review

£798
Price when reviewed

At £679, HP’s Compaq 6710b occupies a mid-point this month between the budget models and the dearer Sony and Fujitsu Siemens laptops. And it’s fair to say that middling is a pretty good description of it as a whole. It has its strengths and weaknesses, but does it do enough to justify the higher price over the award-winning Acer?

HP Compaq 6710b review

In terms of battery life, it does. The Acer may have the edge for portability with its 12.1in screen and 2kg weight, but the HP gave us an impressive 5hrs 52mins of light use, ahead of even the long-lasting Samsung Q45. The 2.7kg weight isn’t overly heavy, and it certainly isn’t too bulky to carry to work comfortably.

And work is the best place for it, thanks to security-focused additions such as the fingerprint reader and TPM chip. Vista Business comes preinstalled, and you get gigabit Ethernet and a PC Card slot for expansion. The side ports are all labelled on the base to avoid having to crane your neck, and the touch-sensitive controls for volume and wireless are nice touches.

At its heart sits a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 and 1GB of RAM: ideally, we’d have opted for twice that, as the HP’s benchmark score of 0.98 falls slightly short of the Fujitsu with the same processor and 2GB of RAM. But it’s a responsive and quick notebook, and there’s a spare slot should you wish to upgrade later.

The 160GB hard disk is plenty for a business notebook, and the DVD writer can burn to RAM discs for archiving. The Intel X3100 graphics couldn’t run our gaming benchmark, though, and the 15.4in 1,280 x 800 screen is a little dim for our liking, particularly next to the vibrant, glossy screens of its rivals.

But more important is the keyboard, and the HP has the best of the lot: well laid-out, comfortable and with no annoying reduced-size keys. The build quality is also superb, with plenty of screen protection and a sturdy hinge and lock. The one-year RTB warranty is disappointing, and regular commuters may prefer the Acer since it’s lighter and cheaper, but the HP 6710b’s business credentials should be enough to keep it on your shortlist this month.

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