The HP Compaq 6730s is aimed at the business market. However, unlike some similar laptops, it is competitively priced and boasts some sensible features that make it a good proposition.
Unlike the majority of comparable laptops, the HPs screen doesn't feature a shiny Super-TFT covering. This eliminates irritating reflections in bright light, making it much easier to view.
Also, the 15.4 inches available means there's plenty of room for you to work with multiple windows open. While brightness, colour and contrast aren't outstanding, the screen still manages to get the job done well.
Due to the screen size, the HP has the space to feature a large, comfortable keyboard. The keys feel solid and provide a nice action when typing at speed. The touchpad is a little small, however, and the buttons feature a clicking movement which might take a while to get used to.
The chassis is constructed from a no-frills matte-black plastic which is hard to scratch or mark. The lid, which is flimsier than some of the laptops here, provides less protection for the screen within it.
The Intel Core 2 Duo processor is similar to many of its rivals, and runs at 2GHz. Performance is distinctly average however. While creating word documents and spreadsheets won't be an issue, it isn't suitable for multimedia use.
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Nevertheless, the 160GB hard drive provides plenty of space for all your photos, and the tri-format DVD burner means you'll be able to watch and burn DVDs with ease. The drive also features LightScribe technology, which means you can burn images or text on to the surface of any compatible discs you're creating, which is great for cataloguing and keeping track of your CD and DVD collection.
As with the majority of laptops nowadays, the 6730s features an 802.11n Wi-Fi card, ensuring a fast connection to the internet where networks or Wi-Fi hotspots are available. However, fixed Ethernet connectivity is limited to the slower 10/100 standard, so isn't as fast as machines with a Gigabit connection.
The VGA out port means you can connect to an external analogue monitor, and the inclusion of four USB ports is fairly generous, although they're placed together in couples, meaning one chunky peripheral will obscure the adjacent port. Finally, an integrated camera makes video conferencing over the internet easy.
The Compaq 6730s is the most competitively priced business laptop, and its simple design is matched by good performance, making it recommend it for corporate users on a budget.