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Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA review

An unattractive but capable budget machine

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Decent peformance
  • Battery life
  • Build quality
  • DVD burner

Against

  • Screen could be sharper
  • Lacking in graphics power
  • No HDMI

The Compaq Presario CQ57-366SA won't win any awards for its looks, but does offer the things we look for in a budget machine. It's solid with a decent screen and great speakers, and the sort of internal specifications we'd expect at this price.

However, even though this is a budget machine, we'd still appreciate something a little nicer to look at.

The Compaq is a solid black brick seemingly devoid of colours, shades or textures. It's boring and uninspired but, as mentioned above, solidly built – with only a small amount of flex detectable around the chassis.

We were also pleased to discover that it's not as heavy as it looks, but it isn't the lightest at 2.5kg.

Leaving the aesthetics behind, usability is perfectly acceptable. The keyboard has wide buttons and a good depth of travel but, despite the amount of space on the chassis, feels cramped. There's no numeric keypad or quick-access hotkeys to be found, but, like most laptops, you can alter volume and media playback by holding down the Function key and using the F-keys.

While the touchpad is responsive, it's also the exact same shade of black as the rest of the chassis and therefore wonderfully camouflaged.

Where the Compaq picks up again is with the screen. It's got a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, meaning you can enjoy 720p HD videos – although the full 1080p experience is out of reach. We found that although the screen was very bright, it wasn't as sharp as we've seen elsewhere. The Super-TFT coating helps, but ultimately we'd pick this for working on documents rather than watching Avatar.

Having said that, the Altec Lansing speakers are very good indeed – so we'd definitely be listening to music while we worked.

£350 won't buy you the greatest components on the market, but the basic user will find everything they require here. The first-generation Intel Core i3 processor is backed up by a capable 4GB of RAM and a standard integrated graphics chip that will handle video streaming from iPlayer or YouTube but stops short of advanced editing suites.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 184 minutes
Cinebench: 7839
3DMark 2006: 1464

There's a DVD rewriter and a standard 320GB hard drive for storing programs and media.

Compaq

Better battery

Pleasantly surprising was the 184-minute battery life the Presario posted on our benchmarking tests. It's good to see budget laptops lasting more than three hours and, with careful usage, we reckon you could squeeze even more out.

The only noticeable omission in terms of connectivity is the lack of an HDMI port for connecting to a high-definition external monitor or TV. You'll have to make do with the standard VGA Out connection or buy an adapter for one of the three USB ports.

There's an SD Card expansion slot and an Ethernet port in case you don't want to use the 802.11n Wi-Fi connection to access the internet.

The Compaq Presario CQ57- 366SA is a perfectly acceptable budget laptop, with special mention going to the battery life and speaker system. It doesn't look, or perform, like a standout laptop and there are alternatives – such as the Acer Aspire 5742 – but if you're searching for a basic machine for the next year or two this is a good pick.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyPresario CQ57-300
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli3-370M
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameCompaq
Processor Speed2.40 GHz
Processor TypeCore i3
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.55 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, EPEAT Silver
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1.66 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyBrightView
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height35.8 mm
Width376 mm
Depth247 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesCQ57-300
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product ModelCQ57-366SA
Product NamePresario CQ57-366SA Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LinePresario
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberQH794EA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

A perfect balance of technology and appearance, this notebook makes it easy to do more and stay connected. This is the first choice for a worry-free PC experience, at a price you can afford.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Presario CQ57-366SA Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Limited Warranty1 Year