As a corporate laptop, the HP Compaq 6820s (£821 inc. VAT) takes a more conservative approach than its rivals. Despite decent performance and strong usability, the lack of any extra features makes it a tough sell, even for business users.

It's weight of 3kg is impressive. And with a battery life of 191 minutes, a decent level of mobility is provided for working on the move. Although our review unit was a pre-production model, the chassis was impressively strong and showed HP's usual high quality.

Great usability

This carries across to the user interface, as the keyboard and touchpad are both excellent. Although the keys have a hard typing action, they operate flawlessly even when speed typing. A full number-pad makes it easy to input spreadsheet data and make fast calculations.

A standard TFT screen is used to eliminate reflections for its mobile business audience. Impressive visibility is provided, even when used outdoors or under bright office lights. The downside is that colours are slightly washed out, but this is a fair trade-off for mobile workers.

The strong 3D performance of the HP is impressive for a business laptop. Using a dedicated graphics card from ATi, complex multimedia presentations run smoothly. Even basic gaming is possible, and you can easily stay entertained when travelling.

Day-to-day performance is just as strong, though far from class-leading. An Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2048MB of memory is used. All office software runs with ease, and even complex multi-tasking fails to hinder performance.

The 160GB hard drive is a welcome addition. Providing plenty of space for storing your work files, you can also carry your music and photos wherever you travel. A dual-layer DVD rewriter also makes it easy to back up and share data.

The use of Windows Vista Business brings enhanced usability to mobile workers. Features such as remote access, system back-up and restore tools, and fax compatibility ensure corporate workers are kept connected at all times.

Where the HP falls short is its complete lack of extra features or software. No office tools are provided. There is also no integrated camera or fingerprint scanner, or even a media card reader for sharing data with smartphones or PDAs.

Despite decent performance, usability and an affordable price, the HP Compaq 6820s is outperformed in nearly every way by its rivals. Unless you need a standard TFT screen, you'll be better off picking a rival consumer laptop and using it for your business tasks.