Compaq Presario S4000T
At a Glance
Despite its relatively moderate price, the S4000T we tested came bundled with Windows Office XP Professional Edition, which, unlike Office XP Small Business Edition, offers extras such as Publisher 2002 and remote access features. (If you can live with Office SBE, however, you can shave $200 off the system price.)
HP doesn't include recovery CDs to bring the system back from a fatal crash. You'll have to make your own, which could prove a time-consuming hassle. The company partitions a portion of the hard drive to be used for rebooting in an emergency, but should the hard drive fail, you'll need the recovery discs to restore your system to the condition it was in when you bought it.
The two tall JBL satellite speakers produced unexciting sound quality when we listened to vocal tracks, games, and a DVD movie. Bass tones lacked power, and trebles sounded thin. On the plus side, the speakers can be attached to the monitor to save desktop space.
Though the S4000T's overall performance was run of the mill, we did like the above-average image quality of the 17-inch FS7550 CRT monitor. It displayed easily readable text at a resolution of 1024 by 768. Small fonts didn't have the fuzziness we sometimes see on 17-inch CRTs. Displays of photos fared well, too, showing bright hues and realistic facial tones.
The keyboard accompanying the S4000T felt sturdy. Typing on it was quiet and sure, and it includes eight hot-keys for launching Web sites and e-mail programs, though none for adjusting audio settings or navigating CD/DVD functions.
The company's documentation includes a general-purpose user's guide that covers both the Presario 6000 and 8000 lines, but not the 4000 line, plus a setup poster. The manual competently covers troubleshooting and component upgrades. An additional manual offers tips for setting up your workspace ergonomically.