Laptop unit sales have been better than the dire predictions, but buyers are clearly choosing cheap notebooks. Lately HP has been making good use of its Compaq brand to meet this demand for budget netbooks and notebooks. Verizon has been offering new FiOS customers a free Compaq Mini 10.1-inch netbook. Last week, Wal-Mart began selling a 15.6-inch Compaq mainstream laptop for $298. Now HP has announced two new additions to the Compaq Essentials line for small business.
The Compaq 515 starts at $429 with a 14.0-inch widescreen (1366x768) display, 2.1GHz AMD Athlon X2 QL-64 dual-core processor, 2GB of memory, ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, 160GB hard drive and Vista Home Basic (detailed specs in this PDF). It weighs in at 5 pounds with the internal DVD drive and 6-cell battery, and it measures 1.3 by 13.2 by 9.2 inches. Dell doesn't offer a 14-inch Vostro laptop, but the new Latitude E5400 starts at $499 with a 14.1-inch widescreen display (1366x768), 2.16GHz Intel Celeron 585, 2GB of memory, Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics, 160GB hard drive, internal DVD and Vista Home Basic.
The Compaq 610 starts at $449 with a 15.6-inch widescreen display (1366x768), 1.86GHz Intel Celeron T1500 dual-core chip, 2GB of memory, Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics, 250GB hard drive, internal DVD drive and Vista Home Basic (detailed specs in this PDF). It weighs 5.5 pounds, also with the internal DVD drive and 6-cell battery, and measures 1.3 by 14.6 by 10.0 inches. Dell has two Vostro small business models that compete with the Compaq 610: the 15.4-inch Vostro 1520 and the older 15.6-inch Vostro A860. The Vostro 1520 starts at $519 with a 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900 processor, 2GB of memory, Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics, 16GB hard drive and internal DVD drive.
Both new HP models are pre-configured only, unlike the HP Compaq business laptops and other business brands such as the EliteBook and ProBook-all of which are configurable. But HP does offer a Windows 7 Upgrade Kit on the Compaq Essentials notebooks.