Compaq Presario V2000
At a Glance
If you're considering a wide-screen laptop for travel, the Compaq Presario V2000 belongs at the top of your list. At just 6.1 pounds (not including the AC adapter), this compact unit is easier to carry than many competing wide-screen notebooks. Its 14.1-inch BrightView screen, an inch shorter than a standard 14.1-inch screen, should clear an airline seat back much more easily.
Be sure to shell out the extra $25 for the V2000's optional 12-cell battery. It lasted 5.8 hours in our tests--long enough to see you through a coast-to-coast flight, a short layover, and maybe even the taxi ride to the hotel. (We didn't test the standard 6-cell battery.)
The V2000's bright WXGA screen is top-of-the-line. With a native resolution of 1280 by 768 pixels, it displays icons that are big enough to read easily while giving you an extra inch of width (it's as wide as a standard 15-inch screen). You'll still have to do some adjusting and scrolling in order to view two detailed windows side-by-side, but you'll see considerably more of your spreadsheets or graphics applications and their palettes on this relatively small laptop.
The keyboard is perfect, with responsive keys that depress just the right amount and hardly make a sound. The underpinnings feel firm, and the layout is roomy. A lock button for the touchpad prevents the cursor from wandering as you type, and the tall rear battery forms a foot that provides a nice slant to the keyboard. The rest of the laptop is just as impressive, with a DVD burner (in our review configuration), a FireWire port, and three USB 2.0 spread out along the right side, along with a six-in-one card reader to take care of all your data exchange needs with PDAs, cameras, and other devices. The front-mounted speakers sound surprisingly loud and realistic, with volume buttons positioned at the top of the keyboard.
Plenty of sensibly located icons ensure that you won't get lost navigating the V2000's features. Icons conveniently situated around the keyboard (and in easy view on top of the case) mark side connections. Protected by grooved black panels held in by a couple of screws, the memory and hard drive compartments on the bottom of the laptop are clearly identified, too. Status lights appear on the front, where they're easy to monitor; the Wi-Fi LED glows the same pleasing blue as the Wi-Fi switch at the top of the keyboard.
When you're not on the road, the V2000 makes an excellent desktop replacement when united with HP's optional Xb2000 expansion base. The base, which serves as a port replicator and notebook stand, comes with built-in, subwoofer-enhanced Harman/Kardon speakers that rock even harder than the notebook's built-in speakers. The base also houses an internal bay that can accommodate a big (160GB) second hard drive, giving you a total of 260GB of storage if you opt for a 100GB primary hard drive. The $299 Xb2000 base includes a wireless mouse and keyboard, too.
When equipped with a 1.8-GHz Pentium M 745 processor, the V2000 zips along at a creditable clip; it earned a WorldBench 5 score of 75 in our tests--a statistically insignificant 2 points behind the mark posted by a similarly configured IBM ThinkPad T42.
With its light weight, long battery life, and easy-to-read screen, the Compaq Presario V2000 might be the perfect wide-screen laptop, especially for road warriors.