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Review HP Compaq 6720s Notebook

Low cost worker.

The HP Compaq 6720s offers a good base for daily work at the office or at home for little money. Due to modern dual-core technology made by Intel, it is also able to complete extensive tasks quickly.

Review HP Compaq 6720s Logo

Case

The HP 6720s presents itself with a surprisingly modern design, especially considering the usually conservative style of Compaq business notebooks. Whereas it's big and little brothers show spartan and clunky design, the 6720s offers elegant shapes and a slim case. Especially the indentation in the case around the keyboard almost  resembles VAIO notebooks from far east - but only on a small scale. Various other such details, like the charge status LED directly on the power connection on the left side of the case, help to modernise the look of the notebook line.

Despite the redesigned case, the HP Compaq 6720s stays loyal to it's roots . Ease of use and functionality continue to dominate over appearance. The working space is properly arranged and tidy. All keys and buttons are clearly marked and located where one expects them to be. Neither input devices nor interfaces are hard to understand.

The surface feel of the silver plastic case reminds a lot of the low cost 3000er product line made by the Chinese competitor Lenovo. While this is certainly not too bad, it doesen't really boost the haptics rating of the 6720s. The silver surface is very sensitive to scratches, but shows good resistance to dust and finger prints. Although the case bends through around the WLAN hot key and the keyboard if pressure is applied, and some other small flaws become apparent at a second glance, workmanship and stability of the case are sufficient for this price class.

The lid of the HP Compaq gets an average stability rating. Even light pressure on the outer side is sufficient to bend the surface through. Stronger pressure disturbs the image, which is usual for this class. The hinges on the other hand do their job and keep the LCD always safely in the chosen position. They also don't need any additional hook to keep the lid shut.

Interface equipment

The interface equipment of the HP Compaq 6720s is below average.

Interfaces for modem, LAN, WLAN and Bluetooth are provided to communicate with the rest of the world. External devices can be plugged into the three USB ports. Unfortunately, HP put them not only directly next to each other, but also below the ExpressCard slot on the left side of the notebook. A large expansion card or a big USB stick can easily block most of the available ports - very inconvenient. The HP Compaq 6720s also offers a memory card reader for MMC and SD cards and, as usual for this class, only a VGA connection to send analog video to external displays.

Front Side: audio ports, memory card reader
Front Side: audio ports, memory card reader
Left Side: modem, fan, VGA, power supply, LAN, 3x USB, ExpressCard/54
Left Side: modem, fan, VGA, power supply, LAN, 3x USB, ExpressCard/54
Back Side: no ports
Back Side: no ports
Right Side: DVD-burner, Kensington lock
Right Side: DVD-burner, Kensington lock

Input devices

Primary input device of the HP Compaq 6720s is a black keyboard in matte-finish and with 87 single keys. Like with the keyboard of the already reviewed HP Compaq 6715s, the keys appear slightly cheap. However, typing is surprisingly pleasant and even longer text is no problem. Even keyboards of more expensive notebooks can't always offer such typing comfort. The layout is self explanatory, stroke depth is clear, and even hectic typing doesen't bend the key area - very good.  

The touch pad is sufficiently large for daily work and allows, after some modifications of the driver, very precise movement of the mouse arrow. With default settings it's much harder to get proper control on the slippery surface. Navigating long documents and websites is easy due to the scroll panel on the right side. Both touch pad buttons are relatively quiet when pressed.

Keyboard
Keyboard of the HP Compaq 6720s
Touch pad
Touch pad of the HP Compaq 6720s

Display

Colour diagram
Display measurement

Our HP Compaq 6720s test sample came with a non reflecting matt display in 15.4" format . Even in very bright environments it stays clear of annoying reflections, but the display's colour quality can't keep up with it's glossy competitors. Alternatively, the display is also available in some configurations with glossy BrightView screen.

126.1
cd/m²
135.5
cd/m²
136.3
cd/m²
132.8
cd/m²
165.1
cd/m²
142.5
cd/m²
163.2
cd/m²
180.7
cd/m²
160.4
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 180.7 cd/m²
Average: 149.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 70 %
Black: 1.0 cd/m²
Contrast: 165:1

The Samsung display of our test sample manages the tests pretty well. Although contrast and colours are only average at best, the subjectively even distributed illumination and sufficient brightness with 149.2cd/m2 on average are pleasant and allow working outdoors in sunny weather.

HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability
HP Compaq 6720s viewing angle stability

Performance

Hidden under the hood of the HP Compaq 6720s is a processor made by Intel. The Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 of our test sample can access two cores with 2GHz clock rate each and offers thus plenty of performance at any time. From web surfing to demanding video encoding tasks - the HP keeps up well even with more expensive notebooks regarding brute processor power. Current 3D games on the other hand, are a clear no-no for this office notebook. The integrated graphics chip turns modern games into slide shows - if it runs them at all.

In comparison with the processor, the choice of the hard disk is poor. Although the Hitachi stores up to 160 GByte of data, it does this slower and noisier than it's competitors. As a result, it only manages to read 34.2 MByte/s with a 18.4ms access rate in the synthetic benchmark HDTune - really no high end values. Because of this, the Vista notebook seems often to be slower and less responsive than other notebooks with similar hardware equipment.

Our test sample has one gigabyte DDR2 system memory built-in. Although this is enough to work with Vista, experience has shown that an additional gigabyte significantly improves performance. For this reason the shop delivered our test sample with another separate one gigabyte stick of RAM, which even inexperienced users can add within minutes, due to the maintenance slot on the bottom of the notebook.

3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE4161 points
3DMark 031169 points
3DMark 05699 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
387 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Asus Eee PC 1101HA (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
68
   ...
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 (N3S23GE)
 Z2760, SGX545
369
Acer Iconia-W3-810-27602G03nsw
 Z2760, SGX545
381
HP Compaq 6720s
 T7250, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
387
HP Envy x2 11-g000eg
 Z2760, SGX545
401
Lenovo 3000 N200 0769BBG/TY2BBGE
 T2330, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
419
   ...
Clevo Clevo P157SM (max)
 4930MX, GeForce GTX 880M
29955
PC Mark
PCMark 053715 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Fujitsu-Siemens S7110
 T7200, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
3647
HP Compaq 6735b
 ZM-82, Radeon HD 3200
3690
HP Compaq 6720s
 T7250, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100
3715
HP nc6400
 T7400, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
3716
Dell Inspiron 1520-PP22L
 T5250, GeForce 8400M GS
3720
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
Cinebench R10
 SettingsValue
 Rendering Single 32Bit1660 Points
 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit3069 Points
 Shading 32Bit556 Points
160 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 18.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 44.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 34.2 MB/s
Access Time: 18.4 ms
Burst Rate: 84.1 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.8 %

Emissions

Noise level

The HP Compaq 6720s turned out to be a quiet companion in our test. During undemanding writing tasks in office programs it is almost completely silent. Only the up to 36.2dB(A) loud access noise of the hard disk occasionally interrupts the quietness. Otherwise we measured 32.1dB(A) in low performance mode.

Putting the processor under stress activates the system fan, which starts infrequently at first and then runs constantly. But the fan is so quiet that it is barely audible in a typical office environment or at low to medium load. It isonly noticeable in very quiet surroundings or close to the fan air holes. Maximum noise level on the other hand is with 42.1dB(A) rather loud, but can only be achieved if the notebook runs under full load for extended periods of time.

The DVD drive made by Matshita apparently can't be bothered to follow the lead of the system fan and keep the noise down. Although the light scribe burner transfers data from discs to hard disk relatively quiet, the situation changes quickly if the drive head has to move a lot. The noise level goes up to 48.1dB(A) in this case - far too loud.

Noise Level

Idle 32.1 / 34.2 / 34.3 dB(A)
HDD 36.2 dB(A)
DVD 37.1 / 44.8 dB(A)
Load 38.5 / 42.9 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

While the test sample only moderately heats up during daily usage, it doesen't look as good in our temperature test. Reasons for this are the room temperature of 25.0 degrees Celsius when the test was taken and of course also the test conditions, which means running extended periods of time under maximum load . After an hour we measured temperatures per Infrared. The upper surface of the notebook below the keyboard was acceptable 35.6 degrees warm, but the bottom heated up to 52 degrees. It is thus not recommended to keep the notebook on your laps in summer while doing demanding tasks.

Max. Load
 33.4 °C31.4 °C28.2 °C 
 33.8 °C34.0 °C28.6 °C 
 35.6 °C35.2 °C29.2 °C 
Maximum: 35.6 °C
Average: 32.2 °C
31.6 °C31.2 °C38.4 °C
52.2 °C35.8 °C30.4 °C
43.2 °C38.0 °C37.2 °C
Maximum: 52.2 °C
Average: 37.6 °C
Room Temperature 25.0 °C

Loudspeakers

A single small mono speaker is responsible for the sound output of the HP Compaq 6720s. Although two stereo speakers would be far better, the sound is not too bad for a entry level notebook. Music is obviously not very natural, due to the lack of stereo sound, but the speaker is sufficient for Windows sounds and Skype calls.

Sound output over the earphones port with high end earphones (Sennheiser HD650) is satisfactory. Differences to other notebooks disappear almost completely with more common earphones (Sennheiser PC-150).

Battery Life

The battery life of the HP Compaq 6720s is acceptable in our test. Although the notebook only manages 70 minutes under full load with the Battery Eaters classic test, the 47 watt battery lasts for more than 5 hours in the undemanding idle mode test with minimum display brightness before running empty. This equates a power consumption of 9 watt. However, the same test with activated WLAN and maximum display brightness depletes the battery in about 150 minutes - power consumption: about 18 watt.

As opposed to most other HP Compaq notebooks, it is not possible to extend battery life of the 6720s with an additional battery , since the required interface on the back is missing.

Power Consumption

Idle 12.5 / 19.0 / 23.7 Watt
Load 45.4 / 48.9 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 22min
WiFi Surfing
2h 39min
DVD
2h 49min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 10min

Verdict

The HP Compaq 6720s marks an inexpensive entry into the notebook world. It's workmanship is solid and it has input devices that are pleasant to use. Furthermore, the 15.4" notebook stands out with it's relatively high performance while staying quiet. Due to Core 2 Duo processor and two gigabyte system memory it can keep up with the performance of current PC systems in most applications. Only for newer 3D games it's integrated graphics chip definitely doesen't have enough power.

Positive is also the non-glare display. It's brightness, matte-finish, and subjectively homogeneous illumination turn the notebook into a good companion for long office sessions. It is also possible to work outdoors with the 6720s. The LCD manages a proper image as long as one avoids direct sunshine. But better bring a power cord along, or make sure a power jack is nearby, since the battery usually runs out in less than three hours.

The HP notebook made in our tests only few blunders. Workmanship and material quality is satisfactory considering the price, but it would have been better if the IT company had saved a bit less on the equipment. The fact that the notebook contains only a small mono speaker in spite of the large speaker panel irritates as much as the very inconvenient interface alignment.

HP Compaq 6720s
HP Compaq 6720s

We would like to thanks Misco Germany Inc. who kindly provided us with the test sample. You can also buy it there.

Reviewed: HP Compaq 6720s, provided by:
HP Compaq 6720s
Misco.de

Specifications

HP Compaq 6720s

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel GM965
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR2 PC5300 667MHz
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
15.4 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
160 GB - 5400 rpm, 160 GB 5400 rpm Hitachi HTS541616J9SA00
:: Soundcard
Analog Devices AD1981 HD Audio
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 1 VGA, 56k Modem, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Microphone, earphones,
:: Networking
10/100 MBit Lan Adapter (10/100MBit), Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (a b g ), V2.0+EDR Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
TSSTcorp DVD-RAM DVD +/-R TS-L632M LightScribe
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 33 - 40 x 368 x 267
:: Weight
2.607 kg Power Supply: 0.393 kg
:: Battery
47 Wh Lithium-Ion, 10.8V
:: Price
950 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Business 32 Bit
:: Additional features
12 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The HP Compaq 6720s has an attractive case.
The HP Compaq 6720s has an attractive case.
A Hitachi hard disk with 160 GByte capacity is used as mass storage. Speed and loud noise make it quickly clear that it isn't the newest model anymore.
A Hitachi hard disk with 160 GByte capacity is used as mass storage. Speed and loud noise make it quickly clear that it isn't the newest model anymore.
...which is supported by 2 GByte system memory in our case, but the user has to build in one of the modules by himself.
...which is supported by 2 GByte system memory in our case, but the user has to build in one of the modules by himself.
The sticker gives it away: A powerful Intel processor lives inside this notebook,...
The sticker gives it away: A powerful Intel processor lives inside this notebook,...
This can also be said about the touch pad - after some driver adjustments.
This can also be said about the touch pad - after some driver adjustments.
The keyboard of the HP Compaq 6720s doesen't need to fear any competition in it's price class. Typing is pleasant and the layout doesen't need any getting used to.
The keyboard of the HP Compaq 6720s doesen't need to fear any competition in it's price class. Typing is pleasant and the layout doesen't need any getting used to.
Looks promising, but contains only a small mono speaker: The wide sound panel above the keyboard.
Looks promising, but contains only a small mono speaker: The wide sound panel above the keyboard.
...while the left side is filled to the last inch with ports directly next to each other. Cable tangle and problems with big USB devices are inevitable.
...while the left side is filled to the last inch with ports directly next to each other. Cable tangle and problems with big USB devices are inevitable.
Not very clever is the alignment of the interfaces. The right side of the notebook is devoid of any ports or connections,...
Not very clever is the alignment of the interfaces. The right side of the notebook is devoid of any ports or connections,...
In the picture: on the left is the switch for the WLAN and Bluetooth, on the right is the illuminated power button.
In the picture: on the left is the switch for the WLAN and Bluetooth, on the right is the illuminated power button.
Despite new shape the HP Compaq 6720s sticks to it's business roots. Everything is where one expects it to be.
Despite new shape the HP Compaq 6720s sticks to it's business roots. Everything is where one expects it to be.
Workmanship of the HP notebook is good overall, but with some minor flaws.
Workmanship of the HP notebook is good overall, but with some minor flaws.
Useful: The display can be moved backwards more than 90 degrees.
Useful: The display can be moved backwards more than 90 degrees.
The batteries last for about three hours before running out.
The batteries last for about three hours before running out.

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Price comparison

Geizhals.at

HP Compaq 6720s (EU)

Pricerunner.de

HP Compaq 6720s on Ciao

Pro

+good keyboard
+fast processor
+slim and light case
+2 GByte system memory (1 GByte is upgradeable)
+Bluetooth interface
+bright, matte-finished display
+quiet
+stable display hinges
 

Cons

-case bends under pressure
-interface alignment
-scratch sensitive surface
-single mono speaker
-only 1 year guarantee

Rating

HP Compaq 6720s
10/08/2007
Kristian Kübeck

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
82%
Weight
80%
Battery
79%
Display
70%
Games Performance
53%
Application Performance
80%
Temperature
79%
Noise
83%
Add Points
85%
Average
78%
80%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review HP Compaq 6720s Notebook
Author: Kristian Kübeck, 2008-05-17 (Update: 2012-05-26)