Hewlett-Packard Australia Compaq Presario B1900
- Design, Lightweight, Dual Layer optical drive, Solid benchmark results
- Poor battery life, Some screen flex
A solid ultraportable ultimately let down by poor battery life.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
The HP Compaq Presario B1900 is a compact and light weight ultraportable notebook that measures just 287mm x 224mm x 34mm and weighs 1.79 kilograms. While the B1900 may not offer much in the way of gaming capabilities, its desktop performance is solid, and it has more than enough grunt for basic office applications. Unfortunately, battery life, an area most ultra portable units excel, was not quite as high as many other models in this category, although this is somewhat understandable given the powerful CPU.
The Presario B1900 is equipped with a 1.73GHz Intel Core Duo T2250 processor and 1GB of DDR RAM (which can be expanded up to 2GB). It received a World Bench 5 score of 78, which is quite reasonable for an ultra portable. This means it is more than adequate for most desktop and office tasks. In terms of graphics, the B1900 uses an ATI Radeon Xpress 200M chipset, but this only managed to produce a mediocre score of 4918 in 3DMark 2001 which isn't really enough to run anything more than the most meager games. This system isn't targeted at gamers though, so factoring this in the score isn't particularly surprising.
HP has included an 80GB 5400 rpm hard drive and the B1900 also boasts 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi in addition to a rear-mounted 100Mbps Ethernet and a Modem port. Bluetooth 2.0 is also supported although infrared is not. The B1900 also has three USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a VGA output, an S-video out port, FireWire 400 port and a Kensington lock slot. Unfortunately, there is no built-in webcam, but there is an integrated ExpressCard slot.
The B1900 features a 12.1in widescreen LCD display and supports resolutions up to a maximum of 1280 x 800 pixels. This is a functional resolution for an ultra-portable and we found brightness and clarity excellent. The screen is glossy though, so if you are using the B1900 in bright light, reflections can cause some viewing problems; especially when watching DVDs. We were also little concerned by the amount of flex the screen exhibited; this may be a weakness if you don't take care when transporting the notebook.
As an ultraportable unit, the design of the B1900 looks and feels quite pleasing. At 34mm it is slightly thicker than most ultra-portables, but besides the flex exhibited by the display, the unit feels solid and well built. The metallic black surface of the exterior is stylish but it does attract some unwanted fingerprints. Inside, the B1900 keyboard stretches across almost the entire width of the casing, so the keys are well spaced out and comfortable. The B1900 has a standard two button touchpad and scroll pad, below which is a row of neon blue and orange indicator lights for caps lock, num lock, Bluetooth and wireless, amongst others. Unfortunately HP hasn't included a fingerprint scanner or media keys - two features present on many recent notebooks.
Despite being a compact and lightweight device, HP still manages to squeeze in a full DVD-RW optical drive that writes everything from DVD+RW to Dual Layer discs.
Unfortunately, the most disappointing part of this notebook is the battery life. It lasted only 130 minutes in MobileMark 2005's productivity test. That's only just over two hours of battery life, and while the processor goes some way to excusing this, it still means the B1900 doesn't compare to units such as the Lenovo Thinkpad X60 (Model: 170693M) or the Asus S6F Leather, which have similar benchmark performance.
Overall, as a highly portable workstation, the Compaq Presario B1900 is a product let down by poor battery life. While its benchmark performance was quite pleasing and it includes a Dual Layer optical drive, we'd suggest the purchase of an extra battery if you want to get the most out of this notebook.
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