PROS / A 15.4-inch screen size makes viewing webpages and documents for long periods of time much easier with less eye strain.
CONS / The processor is adequate but we would prefer an upgrade.
VERDICT / With a long battery life and decent power, the HP Compaq 6730b is ideal for those frequently on the road.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Convenience and versatility are among the best reasons to look for a laptop computer. Today’s best units can essentially replace the standard desktop computer for most needs yet are truly portable. The HP Compaq 6730b is among the best small laptops available, and while it can certainly be used by students and home users, it has a decided lean toward business use.
On the go professionals will find the HP Compaq 6730b to be an indispensible tool for many reasons but most notably for its many connectivity options. Wherever travels may take you, at least one of them can keep you in touch just as though you were in the home office. Security features built in to this computer are also major selling points for this excellent series of computers.
The 15.4-inch screen, diagonally measured, offers ample size for long periods of usage without undue eye fatigue. The anti-glare finish that is incorporated into the display makes it very usable under varying lighting conditions and, for the most part, eliminates the glare that is common to most laptop computers under bright lights.
There’s an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 processor at the heart of the computer running at 2.40 GHz clock speed with a 3MB L2 cache and 1066 MHz front side bus speed. While that’s likely adequate for most business users, there are four upgrades available up to an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 running at 2.80 GHz, a 6 MB L2 cache and the same 1066 MHz front side bus speed. Though most users will be best served by maximizing processor speed, there are also a couple of downgrades available that still offer pretty snappy performance for most needs while saving some money.
Going hand in hand with the processor to define the computer’s performance is the memory. The 6730b comes standard with 2 GB of DDR2 RAM which is upgradeable to 8 MB. A 320 GB hard drive is included in the package price. That can be increased to 500 GB for a reasonable price or reduced to 160 GB for those who prefer to economize a bit.
We mentioned earlier that connectivity is among the HP Compaq 6730b’s strong points. Here are some details. The computer comes ready for wireless networking with built in Wi-Fi supporting the 802.11a/b/g and draft-n standards. Additionally, wireless broadband can be included from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon Wireless. This is, of course, and option and the preferred carrier must be specified at the time of ordering. Use of this service requires activation of wireless broadband service from the selected carrier. For additional information about the carriers, take a look at our side-by-side comparison of Mobile Broadband services. Recognizing that wireless internet connections aren’t always available, this computer is outfitted with a 56K dial-up modem for yet another means of staying in touch.
Sensitive business information can be protected by a couple of options for relatively low cost. A fingerprint reader can be added to the device as can a smart card reader.
The HP Compaq 6730b comes equipped with a CD/DVD reader/burner including LightScribe disc labeling which allows you to burn labels onto the created discs. A second 250 GB hard drive can be substituted for the CD/DVD drive. Also optional is an integrated VGA webcam.
Connectivity to Bluetooth wireless devices is available with the HP Compaq 6730b but there’s a rather odd relationship between this option and the available warranty. If you want Bluetooth, you have to opt for the three year warranty. Without Bluetooth, only the one year warranty is available. We fail to see the connection but suspect that marketing has more to do with it than technical necessity.
Up to about six hours of battery life can be expected from the 6-cell, 55WHr battery but that depends in great measure what’s being done with the computer. As always, using features like Bluetooth and wireless broadband will quickly reduce the time that you can operate without plugging into an AC outlet.
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional is the standard operating system for this computer. For those who prefer, it can be downgraded to Windows XP or Windows Vista, though we can’t quite imagine why anyone would want to do that, especially regarding Vista.
The HP Compaq 6730b is a genuine workhorse for mobile professionals and other road warriors. It strikes a nice balance between performance and size as well as affordability. The base computer is a strong performer but upgrades can add to the price quickly. HP’s website does a nice job of instantly calculating the effect that various options have on the end price to help avoid any unpleasant sticker shock.