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HP Compaq Presario CQ71-403SA review

HP Compaq Presario CQ71-403SA
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £500
inc VAT

This laptop's well suited to most home and office tasks, but it's relatively poor battery life lets it down slightly.

HP’s Compaq Presario CQ71-403SA is a business-oriented 17.3in desktop replacement that gives you plenty of PC for your money. It’s big even by desktop replacement standards, with a wide wrist rest and large keys on both the keyboard and numeric keypad. This makes it comfortable and accurate to type on and we were instantly able to make the transition from our usual desktop keyboard.

The touchpad is located just below the space bar, towards the left of the laptop. While we’ve experienced discomfort with this kind of layout on other notebooks, accidentally brushing the touchpad as we typed, the large wrist rest means that it’s no problem here. Although it has a scroll bar, the touchpad was large enough to prevent us from ever hitting it by accident.

The 17.3in display is easily large enough for comfortable viewing at its maximum resolution of 1,600×900. It looks pretty good, too, despite its overly reflective glossy finish. The screen is slightly cold, which gives white screens a faint blue tinge, but it’s bright and evenly lit.

Unlike most budget laptops, the Presario has a dedicated graphics processor: an Nvidia GeForce G 103M with 512MB of RAM. Before you get too excited, it’s not up to serious gaming, managing 9.5fps in CoD4 at 1,280×800 with 4x AA. Some older titles may play smoothly, but this isn’t a laptop for games.

The graphics processor itself can decode HD video and output 1080p video via its HDMI port, so you can use the laptop to output HD video to a TV. There’s no Blu-ray drive, though, so you’ll have to either use an external drive or HD video files. The integrated Altec Lansing speakers do a good job – they’re not the loudest we’ve ever heard, but were clear even at full volume. Audio quality is well balanced, although bass was predictably underpowered.

The Presario has a 2.2GHz Pentium Dual Core T4400 processor. Combined with the 4GB of RAM, this laptop managed a respectable overall score of 61 in our benchmark test. The laptop’s memory can be upgraded to a maximum of 8GB and a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium is already installed, so you’ll be able to use it all.

The Ethernet port is just 10/100, rather than Gigabit, but the laptop comes with a full 802.11n wireless adaptor for fast Wi-Fi. There are three USB ports, but no eSATA or FireWire ports. The built-in memory card reader supports more formats than most, including SDHC, xD and Memory Stick PRO cards. The 500GB hard disk means there’s plenty of room for all the media and software you’re likely to want.

In our tests, the CQ71 had a battery life of two hours and 39 minutes. While this isn’t inordinately low for a desktop replacement, we’ve seen much better from similarly priced and specified machines. It’s enough for light use around your home, but we’d really expect a bit more juice.

Overall, the Presario is a decent if slightly uninspiring laptop that’s well suited to most home and office tasks. However, given its poor battery life, there are better laptops out there. For most people, Samsung’s R730 is a better choice. As well as longer battery life it has a much better display and it’s slightly cheaper, too.

Basic Specifications

ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual Core T4400
Processor clock speed2.2GHz
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad


Viewable size17.3 in
Native resolution1,600×900
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce G 103M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB


Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive modelHP DVD RW AD-7586H
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, Memory Stick PRO, MMC, xD
Other portsnone


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionBurn your own recovery DVDs
Software includedCyberLink PowerDVD 8, CyberLink MediaShow, CyberLink YouCam 3, LightScribe Direct Disc Labelling, Microsoft Works 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return

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