Though it's cooler-looking than much of the competition, the HP Compaq Presario V4000 is still a quintessential mainstream/value notebook. There are cheaper laptops that offer similar performance and better battery life, but the Presario V4000 is a solid all-round notebook for a student or a home user who needs good performance and a complete set of basic features and connections. For a system with a stronger set of multimedia features, check out the comparably priced HP Pavilion dv4000.
HP knows how to make a sophisticated-looking notebook. The Presario V4000's black-and-silver case measures 358mm wide, 259mm deep and 43mm thick, though its rounded edges give it a thinner feel. Weighing in at 2.9kg, the Presario V4000 is 30g lighter than its Pavilion sibling, the dv4000. The system's 225g AC adaptor brings its travel weight to a tolerable 3.2kg. The system has a big, comfortable keyboard with full-size keys and a lovely large touch pad that measures 96mm across, with an aspect ratio that matches the screen. While it lacks dedicated scroll buttons, it does have horizontal and vertical scroll zones.
The Presario V4000 can handle tomorrow's digital demands with a PCI Express slot for high-speed expansion, though no cards are currently available (expect the first in the next few months). All the standard ports and connections are here, including four USB 2.0 (two on either edge, a nice touch), one four-pin, unpowered FireWire, an S-video output, as well as a traditional Type II PC Card slot. The memory-card reader on the left edge supports Secure Digital, Memory Stick, SmartMedia and even the latest xD module. The Presario V4000 is equipped with 100Mbps wired Ethernet, a V.92 modem and both Bluetooth and an Intel 802.11b/g wireless. In our anecdotal test, we found the system had an excellent 50m Wi-Fi range.
Our Presario V4000 test system came equipped with the latest mobile components, including a 2.0GHz Pentium M processor, an 80GB hard drive and 1GB of 333MHz memory -- the maximum amount of RAM the V4000 can accommodate. A bonus is the double-layer DVD burner -- for a reasonable fee, you can add HP's LightScribe technology to laser-etch labels directly on the disc's surface. While it's a tolerable movie machine, the Presario V4000 lacks the Pavilion dv4000's instant-play features and remote control, and the V4000's stereo speakers sound too soft. Its 15.4-inch wide-screen BrightView display, with a 1,280x800 native resolution, looked slightly washed-out but offered a good amount of screen real estate. With an integrated Intel 915 graphics accelerator that uses up to 128MB of system memory, the Presario V4000 is not suitable for high-end gamers who require dedicated video memory.
These components all added up to good, if not exceptional, performance in our benchmark tests, producing a BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating of 200. Unfortunately, the system's six-cell battery ran for only 3 hours, 7 minutes on a charge.