Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Second Impressions

Hardware

  • On Battery: I was playing around with the computer while disconnected from the power supply, and in about 1 hour about 50% of the power was depleted. This seems to be consistent with the other reports that give it around 2-2.5 hours. Please note however that I have not optimized it for power savings. I am using the default HP recommended power plan and I have not turned off power-hungry things like Aero.
  • The notebook's cover seems to like fingerprints!
  • I like the keyboard, it has a nice touch to it. The touchpad is not bad either, and it can be customized a bit. I haven't tried any customizations yet.
  • I'm not overly thrilled about the way the cd/dvd tray is designed. I understand this is a notebook, so you don't have the luxury of a straight-up desktop PC or dvd player tray. But with that noted, I don't like the fact that you have to put the DVD in at a slight angle because the disc-area of the tray does not extend all the way out.
  • The 80gb hard disk is partitioned in two, C and D, with D presumably carrying Windows stuff (I believe around 10gb partition), and C: being the main drive. A few gigabytes are already taken, I believe free space is in the 60s (in gigabytes). I have not installed or removed any software yet.

    Software
  • On Vista: I was actually pleasantly surprised by Vista. It has a nice "organic" flow to it. And Aero is kinda cool. Not sure how practical yet, but it's fun :) So far Vista seems to be less fragile than earlier major-change-Windows-versions despite its newness. But this is only after a few hours of use!
  • The "right hand column" of the screen has widgets defaulted to it. Widgets are basically small utility programs such as an old fashioned analog clock, a CPU/RAM meter with old-school gauge dials, a tiny picture slideshow, and a few more. You can also download more widgets online. The CPU/RAM meter is actually practical! I have it on all the time. Without tweaking anything on it yet, it usually shows about half of the RAM free (total of 1gb), and the CPU of course depends on what application(s) are running.The rest of the widgets range from fun to entertaining to what-where-they-thinking :)
  • Microsoft Office 2007 is pre-installed and the PC comes with a 60-day trial which you can activate online. After the 60 days I assume you would have to buy it :)
  • I will try to compile a list of all the software pre-installed on the machine, but off the top of my head I saw a version of Roxio, HP Games, Adobe Acrobat Reader 8, limited duration subscription to Norton Internet Bloatware (oops Security), and a few more
  • A number of things are already pre-installed and running, so I assume when I start fine-tuning the PC I should be able to turn them off or completely remove them.
  • A tiny Yahoo Search engine toolbar sits at the middle-right of the bottom of the screen, on the left of all the tiny tray icons. It's a widescreen so they can line them up :)

  • 4 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    I too just purchased the F572 and so far I find it to be a good laptop for the price/deal. I also took advantage of the STAPLES deal because I know I just wouldn't be able to find brand new machine with Vista Home Premium, 1 gig of RAM, a printer and dinner at a local joint for this price. I also read a recent on-line article from one of the big PC magazines that stated the current crop of Compaq laptops was second to last in machines with the most support center calls. Dell lead the way. So, here I am with a pretty solid machine, no support hassles and I just finished my leftovers from Outback.

    On performance, the one thing I did was to eliminate a lot of the pre-loaded software I know I won't use. My goal with this laptop is to use it to connect remotely to work and Internet access while on vacation etc...
    I'm not a big game player, so wiped out the HP games. Norton is a memory hog and resource pig, so I uninstalled that and replaced it with AVAST Home version. It's free and uses far less resources. Lastly, I defraged the HD after all my cleaning out and have noticed a nice jump in performance.

    You are right about the battery life...I've run just around two hours before plugging back in. It doesn't surprise me though. For the money, we can't expect a 4-5 hour battery life like a much more expensive machine.

    Good luck with your Presario and thanks for the blog. I'll check back often.

    Anonymous said...

    Hi, I too got the same laptop from CC. May I know what softwares are to be removed? I installed Zone Alarm and AVG free. I read somewhere that just an antivirus program would suffice sice Vista has a firewall and a spyware blocker. Guess there is no need for ZA.

    May I know what other programs are to be removed? I have uninstalled Norton Security and MS Office. Still my system seems to be slow. The WEI gave just 2.3!!!

    Any suggestions would help. Thanks.

    High Tech User Reviews said...

    Thanks for your comments @Anonymous #1 and the tips and suggestions!

    It was indeed a good deal, and the fatwallet thread made me run to the store to get it :) I still haven't decided if I'm gonna try any of the software rebates.

    I haven't "eaten" the dining card yet, but Outback sounds like a great idea!

    You are right, removing the trialware/hogware should free up resources and speed it up.

    I just got a chillpad and I'm gonna try to see if it helps with battery life if I have it on all the time. I haven't experimented with the performance plans yet, but you are right, we can't expect performance of a $1200 laptop when paying under $500.

    Good luck with your Presario as well and please feel free to write here anytime :)

    High Tech User Reviews said...

    Congratulations @Anonymous #2 on all our purchases :-)

    The WEI score reports the lowest common denominator (which is a bit silly). For this computer it is the graphics card that brings the score down - this number is unlikely to improve by removing software. Did any of the other sub-scores improve?

    There's plenty of discussion on which software to remove at the notebook computer forum mentioned in the two other reviews post. They also discuss the great notebook philosophical debate: a clean install versus removing software they don't need. [I am not going to do a clean install].

    Yes, Windows has its own firewall and spyware (blocker) program (Windows Defender). You can check their status in the control panel or that HP thing. Windows Defender has a tiny icon in the tray at the lower right side at the bottom of the screen. Norton seems to resist not being the official firewall.

    How good are the Microsoft Firewall and Spyware Blocker compared to the other programs out there I do not know. I haven't looked into that in detail yet.

    Some people also turn off some of the fancier "Aero" features, like the fancy windows switcher. I haven't looked into these in detail yet either, but I'll certainly write about it when I do.