HP Compaq 6730b

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The HP Compaq 6730b is a reasonable but uninteresting business notebook. Unfortunately the competition — and even HP — are offering much better systems at a comparative or lower price.

Design
Business notebooks are generally a bland, black on gray affair. But even on this scale, HP manage to made their mid-line business notebooks look bland. Gray and black on the outside, gray and black on the inside, the HP Compaq 6730b just screams "large corporate rollout for an accounting firm".

Continuing with this theme, this is a no-nonsense notebook. The 15.4-inch matte display is clear, and matte displays are always a plus because they are less reflective. The display has a native resolution of 1280x800, which is low for a display of this size.

The keyboard is comfortable and functional, while the large trackpad features two paddle-like buttons that are clearly designed to last. Between them is a fingerprint reader. One notable feature is the glossy ribbon which sits just below the display, giving you access to a series of touch screen buttons for volume, disabling wireless, presentation setting and the HP Help Centre. Encouragingly, the HP Help Centre is useful, providing shortcuts to information including a system manual and system specifications.

Port options on the 6730b are fairly standard. There is no HDMI or DVI, video out is provided by S-video and VGA ports. There is also no eSATA or USB charging when the laptop is switched off, but HP gets points for the FireWire port. The system features four USB ports, but unfortunately, the USB ports on the right in particular are crammed so close together you might find it hard to fit a USB device into both simultaneously.

There are also a couple of legacy ports, in the form of a serial port on the right and an RJ-11 port, which connects to the modem, on the back. The 6730 features both an express card 54 slot for expansion and a media card slot.

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At 2.7kg the 6730b is a mid-weight laptop, we wouldn't recommend it for travellers, but it's not as unwieldy as a desktop replacement.

Features
The internals of the 6730b are an unexciting mix of standard business parts. Our review system came with an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz) and 2GB of RAM. On the plus side the system is Centrino 2 certified, meaning a/b/g and draft-N wireless as standard, better integrated graphics and power management. We use PCMark05 to benchmark notebooks, and this one gave a middle of the range score of 4658.

Our system came running 32-bit Windows Vista Business, and we were disappointed to see that there is no 64-bit Windows Vista available as a pre-install. However, Windows XP SP3 is available as a downgrade.

Our 6730b came with a 250GB SATA II 5400 RPM drive. That's the maximum available on this line, the cheaper model has a 160GB HDD.

Graphics on our system was provided by an integrated Intel GM45 graphics chipset, which forms part of the Centrino 2 platform. This should be fine for office applications, but is not a graphics performer, yielding a 3DMark06 score of 745. There is no discrete graphics card available with these systems, so those looking for graphics capabilities should look to a different system.

In order to test battery life, we set screen brightness to 50 per cent, turned off the sound and then played a DVD. This yielded a poor score of one hour and 45 minutes (105 minutes). We generally hope for at least 2 hours. The battery on the 6730 is 55Whr.

The level of pre-installed trial software wasn't too bad for a business laptop. Trial software included MS Office 2007, while full software included Roxio DVD Creator for business, AOL toolbar, PDF Complete and Adobe Flash Player.

Verdict
The 6730b system we were sent comes in at AU$1900, although the base model is available for AU$1500. We're not thrilled by this pricing. Lenovo's ThinkPad SL500 comes in at the same price, and has more port options, a discrete graphics card, better battery life and a higher resolution display. Dell's base model of the Latitude E6500 comes in cheaper, and is similarly a much more advanced machine.

Otherwise you might look to a similarly configured Dell Vostro 1510, which currently comes in $300 dollars cheaper (AU$1600), but includes twice the RAM and a discrete Nvidia graphics card, and can also be customised. Ouch.

Fujitsu's offering is similarly overpriced, but includes decent battery life, even while once again squeezing in a discrete graphics card.

If you're specifically after a HP notebook, you're much better off investing in the higher end EliteBook range, which is a much better machine for only AU$100 more.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Recommended Use corporate business, small business
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Business
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 / 2.4 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
Cache L2 - 3 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Data Bus Speed 1066 MHz
Chipset Type Mobile Intel GE45 Express
Cache Memory
Type L2 cache
Installed Size 3 MB
RAM
Memory Speed 800 MHz
Configuration Features 1 x 2 GB
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Storage
Interface Serial ATA-300
Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM fixed
Type none
Read Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD)
Write Speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD±R) / 2.4x (DVD+R DL)
Rewrite Speed 16x (CD) / 4x (DVD±RW) / 5x (DVD-RAM)
Type portable
Memory
RAM 2 GB (1 x 2 GB)
Max Supported Size 8 GB
Technology DDR2 SDRAM
Speed 800 MHz
Form Factor SO-DIMM 200-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 1
Display
Resolution 1280 x 800 (WXGA)
Widescreen Display Yes
Diagonal Size (metric) 39.1 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation WXGA
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 90%
Shock Tolerance 125 g @ 2ms half-sine pulse (operating) / 200 g @ 2ms half-sine pulse (non-operating)
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500MHD
Memory Allocation Technology Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone
Audio Codec AD1981HD
Hard Drive
Spindle Speed 5400 rpm
Type HDD
Capacity 250 GB
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n (draft), Bluetooth 2.0 EDR
Bluetooth Class Class 2
Wired Protocol Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless Broadband (WWAN)
Generation 3G
Cellular Protocol CDMA 2000 1X EV-DO Rev. A, EDGE, GPRS, GSM, HSDPA
Processor
CPU Type Core 2 Duo
Processor Number P8600
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.4 GHz
Optical Storage
Disc Labeling Technology LightScribe Technology
Drive Type DVD SuperMulti DL
Type DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
Form Factor fixed
Modem
Fax Compatibility G3
Floppy Drive
Type none
Battery
Capacity 55 Wh
Cells 6-cell
Technology lithium ion
Run Time (Up To) 6 sec
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory MMCplus, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, xD-Picture Card
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Connections & Expansion
Slots 2 x memory (1 free)
1 x ExpressCard/54 (1 free)
Interfaces VGA
FireWire
Headphone output
Modem
LAN
TV-out
4 x USB 2.0
Serial
Dock
Battery
Microphone input
Memory Card Reader Yes (SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, xD-Picture Card, MMCplus, SDHC Card)
Header
Brand HP
Product Line HP Compaq
Model 6730b
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Miscellaneous
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Features Enhanced Pre-Boot Security, HP 3D DriveGuard, HP Disk Sanitizer, HP Enhanced DriveLock, HP SpareKey, memory change alert, power-on password, security lock slot (cable lock sold separately), system password
Compliant Standards A-Tick, BSMI, UL, VCCI, CCC, CSA, FCC, GOST, GS, ICES, MIC, SABS
Networking
Max Transfer Rate 56 Kbps
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft)
Remote Management Protocol SNMP
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.1p, IEEE 802.1x, IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3ab, IEEE 802.3i, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3x, IEEE 802.3z, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
Wireless LAN Supported Yes
Monitor
Diagonal Size 15.4 in
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 250 GB
Dockable Yes
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Software
Microsoft Office Preloaded Includes a preinstalled image of select 2007 Microsoft Office suites. Purchase a Medialess License Kit (MLK) to activate the software.
Dimensions & Weight
Width 14 in
Depth 10.4 in
Height 1.3 in
Audio Output
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 1 year warranty
Mainboard
Data Bus Speed 1066 MHz
Chipset Type Mobile Intel GE45 Express
Environmental Standards
EPEAT Level EPEAT Silver
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Physical Characteristics
Weight 5.95 lbs
Power
Min Operating Temperature 41 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Microsoft Windows Vista Business
Type HP Client Manager Software (free download), HP Help and Support Center, Synaptics Touchpad Driver, HP ProtectTools Security Manager, HP Quick Launch Button Software, HP QuickLook 2, HP Universal Print Driver, HP Wireless Assistant, InterVideo WinDVD, McAfee Total Protection for Small Business (60 days trial), Microsoft Office Professional 2007 (60 days trial)
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500MHD
Graphics Processor Series Intel GMA
Video Memory
Memory Allocation Technology Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Notebook Camera
Integrated Webcam Yes
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year

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