Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Presario F572us: The One month after review

It's already been a month since I got this new notebook! So, what I thought I would do, is try to post every month a recap of my experience with it so far. Obviously i can't write everything into a single post, but I'll try to cover the most important things in an interview Q&A style for more fun

  • One-sentence conclusion: It has exceeded my expectations.
  • Negatives? Battery life is 2 hours and change (you can get the HP 12-cell that doubles the battery life, but that's around $150 more)
  • Number of crashes/freezes: Two, both dealing with optical media
  • Biggest surprise: Much nicer overall than what I expected for a sub-$500 notebook
  • Would be nice if it had: built-in memory card reader, expansion slots/full dock support, TV card. But then again if it had all that, it wouldn't be a $500 laptop :(
  • I didn't think three USB ports would not be enough, but just like RAM, hard disk and cash, you can never have too much!
  • Tip: I always keep the computer on the notebook chillpad. It has two benefits: One it cools the computer off (more efficient than it looks with those tiny little fans), and the 2nd benefit is that the bottom of the computer has a buffer between it and the surface. You really don't want to be sitting at a coffee shop only to discover after you come home that the person sitting there before you was eating sticky buns or spilled his caramel whipped cream with chocolate syrup crappaccino all over the table ;-) And if I am near another computer (eg desktop) I "steal" its USB power to power the chillpad instead of eating up the laptop's battery (although I'm sure this is a small amount)
  • The speakers are not bad, I was expecting something like those you get in the LCD monitors, but they are better than that. Obviously don't compare them to a Bose or Denon or marvel in audio.
  • As far as USB connections, everything I tried has been smooth so far: One USB mouse, one memory-card card reader, two USB flash drives (Sandisk and Toshiba), and of course the chillpad
  • If you are not familiar with the pointy device (ok pointing device, or touch pad in computer-speak), you will get the hang of it with practice, but it's obviously nowhere near as efficient as a mouse if you were born with a mouse in your hand :) You do have the option of turning it off or on. Actually using it along with the mouse can be even more effective. For example if you are touch-typing and you just want to move the mouse cursor a bit or click on something quickly, you don't have to move your hands off the keyboard
  • Despite the two freezes, the optical drive seems to be okay as well. It is super multi-format, and I tried DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM with it. I have yet to try DVD+R/+RW or anything dual/double layer. I haven't tried lightscribe either. All my blank media is shiny silver, not lightscribe. But that's something to expect an answer to in my next monthly report, approximately one month from now - give or take a few hours/days/weeks/months :)

    But I'm by no means an evangelist for the Compaq Presario F572us, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time in front of the right sale. There are plenty of other great notebooks.


    Anonymous said...

    Docking not a bigee with this, or any, lappy having USB 2.0 support. Today's universal docking stations just plug into the USB. They are extremely effective, and you only need one dock even if you have more than one type/brand of lappy. USB 2.0 - you can't beat it with a big stick. Docking stations dedicated to just one laptop model are so very Twentieth Century. BTW, the universal docking stations can be had for south of $100.

    High Tech User Reviews said...

    Thanks for the comment! That is true, there is always the USB 2.0 option. I was only trying to point out the tradeoffs/flexibility of budget laptops vs full-featured full-priced ones. I believe that proof-reading is a luxury ;)

    Yes, prices are nicer like that. Same with the 12-cell batteries. You can get a 3rd party for less than the HP, and the 3rd party includes a power adapter which HP apparently decided is not necessary since you can borrow the one from the laptop.