Compaq Notebook 1600

URL: http://www.compaq.com

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Rating: Forget about it

Review:

First off let me give you the specs of the system. The OS was Windows 98 SE. The CPU is a Celeron 566MHz, it came with 64 MB of RAM, which I immediately upgraded with another 128 to make it 192 MB. The video card is a Cyberblade with a choice of using 2-8 MB of system memory for video. The video will also output to a CRT monitor or a TV if you wish. The screen is a 12.1 TFT (I would highly suggest something bigger). I opted not to get the DVD player, instead I just got the CD player (big mistake) It comes with a touch pad that works fine after you get used to it. The unit also has a feature called disqplay. This feature allows you to play a music cd without booting up the system, thereby keeping you from killing the battery too quickly if you’re not near a wall outlet. It also has a 56k modem. Can’t remember the make, but it works fine. As good as any other that I’ve had on any other system.

When I first received the laptop after ordering it directly from Compaq, I noticed that there was a one gig partition and a four gig partition on the hard drive of the unit. The D drive was nothing but a backup for the unit. I really hate wasting disk space so I did what anyone needing all space available would do, and deleted this backup, after all there is a recovery disk to reinstall everything anyway, right?

I will say I was rather pleased with the system. The battery life was roughly 2 – 2 1/2 hours depending on the power settings. The screen was really nice and clear. No blurred spots etc. anywhere on the screen. I would highly suggest that you get a larger screen, 12.1″ just isn’t large enough – at least compared to my 19 inch CRT on my main system. I’m not to sure on the speed of the hard disk, but I’d have to say it’s probably slower than most laptop systems, because the speed at which the system boots (SLOWWWWWW).

Four months down the road I’d have to say I’m rather pleased about the overall performance etc of the system, until I lost the OS on the system due to a virus, No big deal right? At least I thought it wasn’t, I always reload 98 every so often on my main system (when I ran 98 on it anyway – I run Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 on it now). I formatted C and grabbed the recovery disk for the unit. To my surprise, I couldn’t believe that this disk had no OS on it. I sent an e-mail to Compaq about the problem of no OS on the RECOVERY disk. Compaq says: “Well Sir, we don’t issue copies of the OS with our systems, BUT, we can send you a copy for ten dollars. Plus shipping.” I said, “Let me get this straight: I pay 1500 bucks for a laptop, with no copy of the OS.” Compaq says that’s right. Has anyone ever heard of such a crock. Needless to say, one way or another I reinstalled 98 on the system and shortly after upgraded it to ME.

Almost a year later from buying the system, I still don’t have the Compaq system CD. I refuse to send one more cent to Compaq for anything. I did buy a 10/100 PCMCIA adapter for the unit so I can transfer large files quickly between it and my other systems.

You might ask what suggestions I have for a laptop now, right? Well, here goes. Buy at least a 700 Mhz. Ensure you get at least 256 MB of RAM. Get at least built-in 10/100 NIC. Definitely get DVD. Get the biggest screen you can afford. I’d suggest Windows 2000 as the operating system. That’s why I say 256 MB RAM at least. The rest? To each their own, I say. Don’t rush into buying one, do your homework. One suggestion: if you see it online and can get a good price on it, go out to a store and use a display model, and see if you like it before ordering it. Best of luck if you’re shopping for a system. As for me, my next laptop will be either a Sony (Have you ever see a cooler looking laptop? LOL) or possibly an IBM. I’ll never buy a Compaq again due to their policies.

Submitted by: M. Gooden

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