The High-Tech Texan Blog

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Compaq For Your Trip

What's the first thing I pack before a trip? Technologically speaking I charge my laptop and place it neatly in the padded compartment of my backpack.

So before I took off for a California vacation last week I stopped by the HP campus at the request of my HP marketing peeps to check out their new laptops. They wanted to show me some new gear for back-to-school and the upcoming holiday season. With my camera in tow (not an HP) I gassed up the car, packed a lunch and headed out Hwy. 249.

Deep inside Building 11 I was led into a conference room that looked like Christmas morning under the tree. Laptops, desktops and monitors, oh my! And these weren't your father's gadgets either.

HP recently launched a marketing campaign called "Personal Again." It focuses on the personal relationship people have with their computers. HP’s goal is to make the personal computer a more powerful personal tool and from the looks of the designs and features things are indeed getting personal.

I first gravitated to the Pavilion dv2000 Entertainment Notebook PC. It was closed but that showed off its signature feature - a piano black high-gloss finish combined with a pattern that is inspired by a Japanese Zen garden. Specs: 14.1" screen, 5.3 lbs, Intel Core Solo or Duo processor (an AMD chip will save you a few bucks). It can be configured many ways including a 128 MB NVIDIA GeForce card, up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, 100 GB hard drive, LightScribe DVD+/-RW with Double Layer support and more.

Parents should like the entry-level price of $729 (after rebate) but will probably soup it up with more specs. It tops out around $1600 which is a hefty price but this also becomes a home entertainment center.

I was offered to take this baby for a test spin on my trip and figured it would come in handy with my kids during the flight and week-long stay. A cool feature we had fun with was the built-in webcam. It's almost hidden on the inside top rim just above the monitor. Not only is it easy to videoconference but it also snaps pictures. We must have killed a gig during our flight out there snapping pics of everything on the plane. The boys then opened up the photos in the Paint program and drew beards on themselves for three hours.

HP's QuickPlay came in quite handy, too. A touch-sensitive interface lets you watch DVD movies and listen to music without booting up Windows. If you opt for the remote, which tucks away for storage in the ExpressCard slot, be sure not to lose it as its small. It lets you control the entertainment from up to 10 feet away.

Back at the HP campus...All of the notebooks in the room featured displays with the HP BrightView technology. The dv6000 has a 15.4-inch widescreen display with the same specs. Then there was the Compaq Presario series. The v3000 and v6000 also sport a glossy, patterned black finish. These don't offer as much entertainment features as the Pavilion series but still pack a powerful punch at a lower price point - starting around $679 after rebate.

I could go on and on with other things I saw like the Pavilion Slimline s7500 Series PC. Talk about the perfect size for a dorm room. It is a fully loaded PC about 1/3 the size of a traditional tower PC. You can easilty pick it up with one hand which leaves the other hand for reaching into your wallet for about a $450 starting price. And keeping with the Personal theme HP sells PC Skins to personalize your machine. Take a look at that link as its easier to see than explain.

And not missing the back-to-school beat, HP offers an Academic Purchase Program where qualified students and educators can take up to 15 percent off gear.

So you have two choices to use these laptops and PCs. Either go on a vacation with me or suck it up and buy one.


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