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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

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For an entry-level laptop, the Compaq Presario CQ62-215DX has some minor shortcomings, but is a solid buy.
For an entry-level laptop, the Compaq Presario CQ62-215DX has some minor shortcomings, but is a solid buy.

Tech Review: Compaq Presario CQ62-215DX Notebook

For an entry-level laptop, the CQ62-215DX isn't a bad starting point. Reasonably priced at around $349, the machine is a handsome and fairly lightweight model with a crisp, clear and bright 15.6-inch HP BrightView screen.

Specs

  • Dimensions – 14.72" W x 9.70" D x 1.25" H
  • Weight – 5.5 lbs
  • Microprocessor – 2.2GHz AMD V-Series Processor for Notebook PCs V120
  • Microprocessor Cache – 512KB L2 Cache
  • Memory – 2GB DDR3 (2 DIMM)
  • Max memory – 8GB
  • Graphics – ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250
  • Hard drive – 250GB
  • Multimedia drive – LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support
  • Display -- 15.6" diagonal High-Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366 x 768)
  • Network card – Integrated 10/100 Ethernet LAN
  • WiFi – 802.11b/g/n WLAN
  • Sound – Altec Lansing speakers
  • Keyboard – 101-key with one-touch launch keys
  • Other devices – Integrated microphone
  • Power – 65W AC adapter / six-cell Lithium-Ion battery

I purchased this machine for my surprisingly tech-savvy grandmother, whose six-year-old laptop started to take a turn for the worse over the last few weeks. She wanted something simple but reliable and my experience with HP/Compaq has always been pleasant.

When I found the CQ62-215DX on sale at Best Buy, I gave it a shot.

Best Buy's new computer sales program is a bit frustrating. Almost all computers, I was told, are now opened upon arrival and set up by the store's Geek Squad. The free trials are set up, six months of anti-virus is set up ... everything, they say, is "set up" for you already.

Suffice it to say, my first order of business after trying to remove all of the unwanted "free" software was to wipe the machine and install a fresh copy of Windows 7 (upgrading from Home Premium to Ultimate).

I was very pleased with the display. Personally, I'm more partial to the matte finish than the common glossy offerings found today, but the colors were bright, crisp and vivid. The Altec Lansing speakers, located directly above the top row of the keyboard, provided a very high-quality sound – better than you would expect on an entry-level laptop.

The machine itself is quite attractive, featuring a detailed matte black finish.

Still, the CQ62-215DX leaves a bit much to be desired. The AMD processor lags a bit as it's only a single-core, but that's to be expected at this price point. For the beginner, or low-maintenance consumer, the speed isn't noticeable.

What is problematic, however, is the touchpad and button. Unlike most laptops, which separate the touchpad from the bezel, there is no separate area on the CQ62-215DX. The pad is overly sensitive and the button to turn it off requires s pinpoint of some sort.

The button is on the other end of the spectrum. It's incredibly firm and almost difficult at times to use.

Two obvious omissions were a media card reader and an integrated webcam, despite there being an obvious place for one.

The verdict

If you're looking to do some heavy-duty computing or spend a lot of time on the road, keep looking. But, if you're looking for a machine to check email, surf the Web, mange your music or for simple tasks – and you don't have need for portability -- the CQ-62 will do the job.

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