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Compaq Presario M2000

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At a Glance
  • HP Presario M2000

Compaq Presario M2000
Photograph: Rick Rizner

At first glance, we wouldn't elect the Compaq Presario M2000 the laptop we'd most enjoy cramming into a carry-on bag, but this economical desktop replacement is lighter than it looks, and it performs solidly.

The Compaq Presario M2000 is big and square--1.8 inches tall, 13.2 inches wide, and 11 inches deep--but it's very portable at 6.4 pounds. The power adapter adds less than a pound more.

The M2000 is well designed, with a large front latch that releases the bright 15-inch screen. The headphone port sits on the front of the case while the battery forms the rear. Though you can get a cheap, bare-bones configuration of this notebook if you prefer, our test unit came generously equipped. Most connections--along with our review unit's fixed DVD burner and six-in-one card reader--sit on the M2000's right side. The left side houses the laptop's PC Card slot, the network and modem jacks, the VGA connection, and an expansion port for HP's $299 optional Xb2000 Notebook Expansion Base.

If you're an audiophile or you want an HP laptop to use as a desktop replacement, we recommend that you invest in the Xb2000. This model serves as a port replicator and a notebook stand. It comes with built-in Harman/Kardon speakers, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an internal bay capable of accommodating a 160GB hard drive. Our only beef is that you must wrestle the clunky retractable docking cable out of the back of the stand to connect it to the left side of the notebook.

Our review unit, equipped with a 1.7-GHz Pentium M processor, was a steady though not outstanding performer. In WorldBench 5 tests, this notebook slightly trailed two similarly equipped laptops--an MPC TransPort T2200 and an IBM ThinkPad T42. Our review unit's WorldBench 5 score of 72 is 11 percent below the other units' average score of 81.

The M2000 is comfortable to use. The keyboard has a firm feel, though its keys don't depress very far. The all-black lettering on the light-gray keys doesn't jump out, but it's readable. The keyboard's excellent layout places the <Delete> and <Ctrl> keys in opposite corners where our fingers could fly right to them. The touchpad is more rectangular than most, with stamped vertical and horizontal lines that show you where to run your finger to scroll. A set of press-and-hold volume buttons and a Wi-Fi switch top off the keyboard.

Upgrading the M2000 should be easy. The hard drive and two memory slots reside beneath black (and stylishly grooved) bottom panels held in place by a couple of small screws each.

At press time, the M2000 in our review configuration cost $1284. This price is on the high side for a budget laptop, but it includes Microsoft Works, a good basic applications suite. For a more stylish version of the laptop, with longer battery life but a slightly slower processor, check out HP's Pavilion Ze2000.

The Compaq Presario M2000 equipped with a DVD burner makes a well-rounded home laptop for users who don't care about sleek looks.

Compaq Presario M2000

WorldBench 5 score of 72, 1.7-GHz Pentium M 735, 512MB of DDR333 SDRAM, Windows XP Professional, 15-inch screen, 60GB hard drive, DVD+-RW drive, built-in V.92 modem and 10/100 ethernet, 802.11g, touchpad pointing device, 7.3-pound weight (including AC adapter and phone cord). One-year parts and labor warranty, 24-hour weekday toll-free support.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • HP Presario M2000

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