HP Compaq Presario CQ60-214EM £379
26th May 2009 | 09:00
This Compaq offers great value for money and may be the best laptop we've seen at this price
While HP's best known laptops fall under its consumer Pavilion range, the Compaq Presario CQ60-214EM has amazed us. With its fantastic specification, features and widescreen usability, this is possibly the best laptop we've ever seen at this price point.
The stylish black and silver chassis has a truly high-quality feel, while build quality is generally excellent throughout. The glossy lid is inevitably prone to scratches and fingerprints, however, so you'd be advised to invest in a protective carry case.
Mobility is bettered by the Toshiba Satellite Pro L300-1FO and eMachines E520-571G16Mi, but this is still a laptop you can carry around. The 156-minute battery life falls below the three-hour minimum we expect from a modern laptop, but is sufficient for the daily commute.
Performance is excellent, despite using the same Intel Celeron processor as the Advent, it outperforms its rival and provides ample power for basic home multi-tasking. Even when editing photos and running virus scans, this system proved fast and responsive.
BENCHMARK MACHINE: Samsung Q45
3D performance is equally capable despite using the same integrated Intel graphics card. While there is certainly not enough power for gaming, videos play smoothly and you can even perform basic video editing tasks, albeit quite slowly.
The 15.6-inch widescreen panel is a rarity at this price. Its 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for watching widescreen movies, and viewing multiple windows side-by-side. The sharp image quality is also excellent, with impressively bright and vibrant colours.
Another rare feature at this price – also seen on the Advent 5712 – is the HDMI-out port for connecting to compatible high-definition screens. Combined with the widescreen panel, it adds a level of multimedia usability rarely seen in the entry-level laptop market.
Equally uncommon at this price is the LightScribe technology employed on the built-in DVD rewriter. The drive also provides standard CD and DVD read/write access, for copying data to and from all standard-capacity disc formats.
The impressive storage is continued with a high-capacity 250GB hard drive and integrated 5-in-1 memory card reader. The former lets you carry large quantities of data on the move, and the latter can be used to share files with external devices, including digital cameras and phones.
Rounding out the package is an impressive suite of software that includes market-leading tools for home office use and internet security, making the CQ60- 214EM by far one of the best laptops you can buy at this price, and one that we can easily recommend very highly.