Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Compaq Presario cq62-209wm

Today I'm going to review the Compaq Presario cq62-209wm. The specs for this laptop are as follows:

Screen: 15.6"
Resolution 1366x768
Ram: 3GB DDR3 (1x2gb & 1x1gb both cas 9)
Hard Drive: 250gb 7200rpm sata 3gb/s
Video: Ati Radeon 4250
Processor: AMD Athlon X2 P320 @ 2.1ghz
Chipset: AMD Vision (M880)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium X64
DVD Burner

This is not a bad machine at all. I picked this machine up from Walmart a couple of months ago for $398. For the price the specs could not be beat. At the time all other options with the same internal hardware were at least $450 to $500. The price did come with some drawbacks though.

The low price of this machine meant a few conveniences were removed. There is no built-in webcam and no built-in card reader. I can live without these options. I've already purchased external replacements, though I do admit that I rarely use them because it's not convenient to dig out the webcam and strap it to the screen all the time.

Lacking features aside, I only have 2 real gripes with the design of this machine and the other models around it (i.e. 219wm, 220US, etc). My first and biggest problem is the track pad.

As you can see, the touchpad is flush with the rest of the bezel and has the same texture.  This means I often find my finger slips out of the touchpad area without intending to.  This causes me to drag and drop files to places I didn't intend if I'm not careful.  Another problem, though not as big of a deal, the left and right buttons are both on one bar.

My second gripe is that the keyboard, and the rest of the casing for that matter, is flimsy and cheap.  Not a big deal, but the keyboard on my previous machine, an ASUS 1000HE netbook, was 100x better feeling.  Another minor gripe:  you have to hold the fn key down to press insert.

Conclusion:  Great laptop for the price, the speed and power are certainly no problem for the price range.  If you can afford it, though, i'd suggest jumping up to the $700 range and getting something with more quality and more power.  You can get a higher quality design for $500, but I don't believe the performance is worth it at that price.

Also, you'll notice I linked the cq62-220us model above.  This is the nearest model I can find on amazon.  Even if you can't find this specific model number, this review should still be helpful for any model with the same case design.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dingoo A320

My Sony PSP died the other day. Desperately needing a new device to play my emulated games on the go (who actually plays PSP games anyway?) and not having a lot of extra cash, I found the Dingoo A320. For as low as $114 on Amazon (I've seen it for $80 from other places) you can pick up a device that will emulate the same systems that the PSP is capable of and do it better. Another bonus is that you don't need to hack the firmware to do what you want. The Dingo A320 runs a custom installation of linux and have emulators for many systems including NES, SNES, GBA, PSX, and more. It comes with 4GB of internal memory to hold your games and the screen does fairly well even outside in bright sunlight. If you're looking for a cheap PSP replacement and don't care about official PSP games, this is the device to get.