The HP Compaq 6910p is a quality laptop we enjoyed testing. HP has positioned it as a business laptop, and it fills that role rather well.

But if you've ever seen one of HP's lower-priced consumer entertainment laptops, you may wonder why HP can't bring that attractive new Piano Black finish and lovely BrightView display finish to its business line. (BrightView is available as a custom option).

Business users want a good-looking laptop too. With them taking their laptop home and on the road, mixing business and pleasure, the convergence trend is happening at the user base, even if vendors haven't totally caught on.

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Getting down to business

That gripe aside, as a business laptop the HP Compaq 6910p fits the bill. It continues the consistent design of HP's business laptop lineup, with a basic gray and black colour scheme. Nice, but no piano black.

The HP Compaq 6910p's 14.1in display is an adequate size for the business traveler, big enough to be comfortably readable while still maintaining portability.

And speaking of portability, the HP Compaq 6910p weighs-in at 2.3kg, with the AC adaptor adding another half a kilo or so. Not exactly ultraportable.

The full qwerty keyboard offered no problems, and for pointing both a touchpad and trackball are included, as seems to be the industry standard for business laptops. The trackball is - as trackballs are - awkward, but the touchpad is easy to use, and the rubberized mouse keys are a nice touch.

We don't like the nearly invisible touch-sensitive buttons across the keyboard for control of functions such as volume, and turning-off the wireless antenna. It's easy to accidentally turn off the antenna, not even knowing the button is there. It can be a frustrating hour of hard-wired surfing to learn where the button is, and then find it on the laptop. If there was a software way of doing it, we couldn't find it.

The HP Compaq 6910p boasts ample ports and features, including a built-in mic, biometric fingerprint scanner, SD/MMC port as well as the standard peripheral ports. The headphone jack is well positioned on the left side, as are the three USB ports, one on the right and two stacked horizontally on the left. Sound quality without headphones is pretty good for a business laptop.

NEXT PAGE: under the hood, in use and our expert verdict > >

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The HP Compaq 6910p is a quality laptop we enjoyed testing. HP has positioned it as a business laptop, and it fills that role rather well.

Under the hood

Moving to the innards, the HP Compaq 6910p comes with a 2GHz Intel Core Duo processor and just over 1GB of RAM, expandable to just over 4GB. Running multiple applications does not impair system performance at all.

A 120GB hard drive is standard. We were pleased with the wireless, which is Intel-based and offers 802.11a/b/g. Other then the above-mentioned antenna-button issue, finding and connecting to hotspots is a breeze with the HP Compaq 6910p.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Battery performance is average. You could probably stretch the HP Compaq 6910p well past three hours with the brightness turned right down and the Wi-Fi turned off. Turn on the wireless though and that drops. Watching a DVD on the airplane at medium contrast (and the wireless naturally off) we managed about two-hours, enough to watch an average movie.

The only major problem we had with the HP Compaq 6910p wasn't even with HP but rather with the OS manufacturer, Microsoft. Our demo unit was running Windows Vista Business, which for some reason doesn't ship with the common Codecs needed to play DVDs. Only consumer editions of Vista do.

We didn't discover this until onboard a transcontinental flight, which meant four hours reading the in-flight magazine instead of enjoying a film. Once on the ground and on the web, with some searching we were able to download the needed codecs from a third-party website; Microsoft had wanted us to pay them for an upgrade instead.

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HP Compaq 6910p: Specs

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7300/2GHz (Dual-Core)
  • 1GB DDR II SDRAM, 667MHz
  • 4MB, L2 Cache
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • 120GB Serial ATA, 5400rpm
  • 14.1in TFT screen
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X2300, 64MB
  • DVD±RW (+R double layer)/DVD-RAM
  • Lithium Ion battery
  • 330x239x290mm
  • 2.3kg
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7300/2GHz (Dual-Core)
  • 1GB DDR II SDRAM, 667MHz
  • 4MB, L2 Cache
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • 120GB Serial ATA, 5400rpm
  • 14.1in TFT screen
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X2300, 64MB
  • DVD±RW (+R double layer)/DVD-RAM
  • Lithium Ion battery
  • 330x239x290mm
  • 2.3kg

OUR VERDICT

While it would be nice to see HP get more creative by bringing some of its consumer innovations to its business lineup, as a business laptop the HP Compaq 6910p stacks up well with the Lenovo ThinkPads of the world and its other competitors in the space. Starting at around £1,100, it's a good fit for the businessperson requiring a laptop for a mix of road and office use.

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