There are many things to like about the Compaq Presario V6800 (V6807TU_02): its keyboard is superb for lengthy use and it offers good key size and responsiveness when typing, an excellent webcam sits above an effective 15.4in screen, and the price is reasonable.
However, it has a slow CPU and a relatively little RAM. When compared to notebooks that can be found for similar prices, this one is a little undercooked. Units like the Dell Inspiron 1525 offer better performance while the Toshiba Tecra A9 (PTS52A-OCU03F) provides the latest networking options.
Under the surface, the Presario V6800's 250GB hard drive, which spins at 5400rpm, is a standout feature for a notebook in this price bracket and has a larger capacity than those found in comparable notebooks.
The notebook features a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 processor as well as 1GB of DDR2 RAM, but these components performed worse than we expected in our tests. In our WorldBench 6 tests, the Compaq Presario V6800's result of 59 means it showed very slow performance in image and video editing tasks, although document editing and surfing the Web is fast. The system's weakness was further highlighted in our iTunes test, where we convert 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3 files: the Compaq Presario V6800 completed the task in 1min 39sec — 20sec slower than we expected from this notebook's CPU.
The system uses an Intel X3100 graphics controller, which is integrated in the motherboard chipset and shares some of the system RAM. It is the cause of the low 3DMark06 score of 522. This score means you won't be able to play any recent games on the notebook. At this price point, however, buyers should not be expecting strong graphics performance.
Cosmetically speaking, the unit is pleasingly simple in design. Compaq's signature graphite-coloured body will suit users looking for a unit that doesn't stand out too much but who still want a good looking device. The lid features a fingerprint motif and is well-constructed, showing little sign of flex and being well-supported by the L-shaped hinge.
The screen itself produces vivid colours and excellent contrast. It's a pleasure to view images and DVDs. Unfortunately, the screen is reflective in well-lit environments — bad news for those wanting to use the device outdoors, for example.
Below the screen is a set of Altec Lansing speakers that offer great sound quality, albeit with limited bass. Other sound options include a headphone port, a microphone port and a built-in array microphone.
Port options are a strong point for this unit, with an ExpressCard/54 slot on the right side of the device next to the dual layer DVD-RW drive. A FireWire port providing easy connectivity to devices like camcorders sits on the left side, as do the S-Video out and D-Sub ports, which allow users to attach an external display device. Three USB 2.0 ports provide further expandability.
For those on the go, the Compaq Presario V6800's weight of 2.65kg when the power supply is detached is good news. With the power supply included, the package weighs 3.1kg. Our worst case scenario battery test, where we loop a DVD, returned good results with the notebook lasting 1hr 46min.
This notebook lacks the latest networking options, but 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11 a/b/g wireless are all present, as is a 56Kbps modem for dial-up Internet access.