by Rebecca Rohan
Compaq Presario 1800T Notebook
We don’t normally give ratings of 95 — a product has to wrestle that rating from us with kicks, bites, and insinuations about our parentage. But after reviewing notebooks for years and buying and returning three, we recently bought, kept, and loved the Compaq Presario 1800T.
We chose to customize a model online to solve all the problems experienced with other notebooks, as both reviewer and consumer. One necessity was an outrageously good notebook display, and the 15-inch SXGA TFT active matrix LCD screen and hardware accelerated 3D graphics with 16MB Video Memory fit the bill. Onlookers agree it’s as good or better than a desktop monitor. The 1800T’s screen fonts look great at every resolution, not just the higher ones, unlike those on other recent notebooks. There’s even a TV-out port to give demonstrations (or play a DVD) for audiences too large to gather around a computer screen.
A desktop replacement also meant at least a 20GB hard drive. The 32GB option was out of range financially but the 20GB hard drive was more than adequate. Using the middle-of-the-road 700MHz Pentium III, an exact replica of a standard desktop, left no regrets. The integrated 10/100 Base-T Ethernet jack was important. Together with the built-in 56K modem, we were set to communicate at home and on the road.
The Presario 1800T has a wide, satisfying keyboard, with the first touch-pad that is truly user-friendly. The cursor control is precise, and the click keys are positioned to minimize mistakes. There are even rubber buttons to scroll up and down through pages the way a scrolling mouse does. Add a “real” mouse using the USB slot, and neither mouse disables the other, so you can use whatever is handy at the moment. There are also PS/2 and serial ports for a mouse connection. The 1800T prints via parallel, serial, or USB ports. There’s also a docking port allowing users to leave everything plugged in when the machine is taken out of the office.
The Presario excels where other notebooks fail. Power conservation is smart and easy to control. Function keys have self-explanatory symbols and are easy to read. Most of all, everything you could want in a desktop is in this less than 13 x 11 x 2-inch, seven-pound, eight-ounce notebook. The bottom line: a powerful notebook at a reasonable price point.
Compaq Computer Corp.
PROS: Huge, high-quality screen great for detail work or DVDs, very nice touch-pad, everything you need for networked business
CONS: The 15-inch screen means an 11 x 13-inch lid — but every centimeter of screen is viewable