Compaq Presario V2140US 14.0″ Notebook PC (Intel Celeron M Processor 715, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, DVD+/-RW/CD-RW Drive) – Hardware

Compaq Presario V2140US 14.0″ Notebook PC (Intel Celeron M Processor 715, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, DVD+/-RW/CD-RW Drive) – Hardware
Compaq Presario V2140US 14.0″ Notebook PC (Intel Celeron M Processor 715, 512 MB RAM, 60 GB Hard Drive, DVD+/-RW/CD-RW Drive)I purchased the v2140US on 1/22/05. My only previous PC laptop was a Dell Inspiron 1100 2.4Ghz, so that’s what I can compare to. Also my wife has an Apple Powerbook G4, 15″ model.
So I had the following goals for a replacement laptop to my Inspiron 1100:
a) Lighter than the 7.5lb Dell. At 7.5lbs, the Dell was really a bear to carry around. Also I was really envious of my wife’s Powerbook — it’s incredibly light and thin.
b) A better screen with higher resolution than my XGA Dell.
c) Integrated WiFi. My Inspiron did not accept an internal wifi card, so I always had a pc card sticking out the side.
My computing needs are fairly light. I mostly do drawings of cars ( in Macromedia Freehand. There is some light Photoshop work, and some light HTML coding. Occassionally I watch DVDs also. My Dell was fine for all those things. The one time I was able to make my Dell show weakness was when I installed Half-Life 2 on it. That’s when I realized that the shared-memory video card inside the Dell would never, ever play a 3D game like Half-Life 2 with any kind grace. Half-life 2 brought my Dell to its knees.
This Compaq is amazing. It is much lighter and you can really feel the difference carrying it around. The silver finish could stand to be a bit more durable-looking, but so far no scuffs anywhere. As for the screen size, having a 14″ widescreen is so much better than my Dell’s 15″ non-widescreen. The widescreen format really does make work easier b/c you can put things side by side — also, the higher resolution gives you more screen information. At this point I’d never go back to non-widescreen.
The screen in the Compaq is also crisp with great colors. I’ve played a DVD once and it was very good. I’m very happy with the screen.
As for the Wifi, it is built in and appears to have better sensitivity and range than my Dell did with it’s 802.11g pc card. Also the Compaq has a button above the keyboard that lets you toggle the wifi (enable/disable)… presumbably to save battery life?
Ah, about the battery life. it’s terrific. I get more than 3 hours, with the hard drive spinning most of the time. I haven’t really got to see how long I’d get if I were just typing. My Dell only gave me 2 hours on a good day (screen brightness down, just typing, wifi turned off). So my laptop’s battery time is now as good as my wife’s G4 powerbook, so i’m happy.
This model also had other bonuses that I didn’t expect for this price, like the DVD burner, 512mb ram, Firewire, and a genrous HD of 60GB. I won’t use the DVD burner much, nor will I ever use all 60GB, but it is good to know they’re there if I need them.
As for the industrial design, it is pretty good. The unit looks slick, is thin and has a unique design. The JBL speakers in the front look good, and i like the JBL Pro badging on the grille. keyboard has a good layout and the keys feel durable. The trackpad is better than my Dell’s as well (I had to turn off “tapping” on my Dell b/c it would pick up my hand when I was typing. The Compaq includes a button to turn off the trackpad altogether.). The Compaq has dedicated buttons above the keyboard for volume and mute, which are nice too. My only gripe about the volume and brightness buttons are that there is no on-screen meter for either — so you don’t know how low the volume is, or how bright the monitor is, you just have to hit min or max.
The 3 usb ports are sort of scattered around the machine. Kind of odd, but i’ll get used to them. (My Dell’s USB ports were stacked above each other, and it was sometimes hard to get things plugged in and out.) There are two ports on one side, then one in the middle of the other side. in fact there are no ports on the back at all, aside from the power plug.
One thing I hated about my Dell was that the DVD bay button was always accidently getting opened, the button was too soft and big so when i picked up the laptop, i’d end up popping the drive door. This unit only opens the drive door if you mean to — the button is smaller and harder to press (in a good way). It also has a 6 in 1 media card reader, but no compact flash, which is what we use in our Canon camera.
When the laptop is closed it looks pretty good. The lid is a retro-looking black plastic, sort of reminds of me of old camera cases from the 70’s. althought it’s not a big deal, the bottom of the laptop is pretty ugly. but hey, it’s the bottom. It sort of looks like the back of an old LED alarm clock.
So i have to say, buy this laptop. i recommend it if you are looking for mid-level features or need a step up from an older or entry-level laptop. you get a ton of features (even Firewire) — it’s worth paying more to step up from a bottom of the line laptop.
By the way, I also considered AVERATEC for some time, until I saw one in person at CompUSA. I would not buy an Averatec — they have awesome prices and pack those laptops chock with features but the quality of the case and machine is sub-par. Really plastic, Fisher Price styling, wonky looking, and the Star Wars DVD I watched on it actually had color registration(?) problems. Han Solo’s hair has a green halo? It was awful.
I hope this info helps!