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Laptop - Compaq Armada M700

 
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PostPosted: 01/04/2008 04:06:10    Post subject: Laptop - Compaq Armada M700 Reply with quote

Laptop - Compaq Armada M700
(Article found at digit-life.com)

Compaq Armada M700

By [EMAIL="gruzzin@mail.ru]Dmitry Nikishenkov[/EMAIL]

Portable systems market has considerably extended this year. Although there are more and more [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6][color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]notebooks
working at frequencies exceeding 1 GHz and containing the most up-to-date video accelerators the manufacturers do remember about the mid-range machines. Exactly the mid-range notebooks are best selling today ($1200 - $1600). Although there is nothing ultra-modern, a 500-750 MHz processor and 64-128 MBytes RAM are more than enough for standard office applications. As for displays, there are usually 13" or 14" ones which are comparable to a 15" monitor. On the whole, I advise you to get the most balanced solution with good multimedia possibilities. Don't strive for hertz since a modern even mid-range notebook can be a good substitute for a home computer.

Compaq M700. Well, this one is a typical business-class machine. It has an austere design, a convenient keyboard, can be easily upgraded and is relatively cheap. It weighs and measures just a bit more than the notebooks of the Slim series. On the other hand, it allows the Armada to have a full-sized keyboard, a TFT screen, a case protected with a magnesium alloy and a MultiBay where you install any drive of a certain format offered by Compaq or an additional battery. It has 64 or 128 MBytes [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6][color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]RAM in case of a standard package and 576 MBytes in case of the maximum package. Almost all Armada M700 models are equipped with an Intel Mobile Pentium III working at 450MHz and with an ATI Rage Mobility video adapter with 8 MBytes memory. Such a video adapter can display an image on two monitors at the same time.
Any notebook of the Armada M700 series can be equipped with a CD-Rom 24X or DVD-Rom 8X drives. Among external ports there is a TV-out. Functions of PC Card models are extended as compared with the previous models: now both support the Zoomed Video mode.
The notebook ships with either 6 GBytes HDD or 10 GBytes or 12 GBytes one.
The M700 system is compatible not only with new Docking Stations but also with those released for the 7400 Armada Station II series.
Notebooks of the new series can be connected to a network since a modem-[color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6][color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]network [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]card incorporates RJ-11 and RJ-45 connectors. Technical specifications


  • Processor: Intel Pentium III 500 MHz
  • Memory: 128 MBytes (expandable to 576 MBytes (in fact to 256 MBytes).
  • Hard disc: Toshiba MK1214GAP 11.2 GBytes
  • CD-Rom drive: 24x (removable)
  • FDD can be used as built-in or as external via an LPT port (the cable ships with the notebook)
  • Matrix: 14.1" TFT LCD SVGA
  • Video: ATI Rage Mobility P AGP 8Má SDRAM (resolution on a built-in monitor up to 1024X768 at 32bit, on an external monitor up to 1024X768 at 64K colors)
  • Sound: ESS Maestro, 2 built-in speakers, microphone
  • Modem: integrated V.90 standard 56K fax/modem (ITU V.90, 56K data, 14.4K fax)
  • Network: 10/100 Intel Pro/100+ MiniPCI, Full Duplex supported
  • Integrated ports: 2 PCMCIA II slots, IrDA, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, COM, LPT, VGA, USB, TV-out
  • Keyboard: 102 keys
  • EasyPoint IV(TM) 3D Pointing Stick
  • Dimensions: 31.5X24.9X2.8 cm
  • Weight: 2.2 kg
Accessories



Apart from the notebook and a power supply unit the box contains:
I wish there were a video cable as well.
There is also a traditional Quick Restore packet on several CDs.
The software set consists of:
  • Microsoft Windows 98 SE Eng.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Eng.
  • Compaq Information Center Eng.
  • Compaq Drivers Information Eng.
  • Compaq DVD Express Eng.
  • Ring Central Fax Eng.
  • Armada Quick Reference Eng.
Ergonomics



The notebook is not small: with a 14.1" matrix you can get a normal substitute for a standard 15" monitor. [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6][color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]Power [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]supply and battery status indicators can be seen with the lid closed. When you open the display it doesn't draw up the other parts thanks to 4 good hinges. On the right side you will find an audio-out and a mic-in.
The keyboard is strongly shifted upwards so that you may rest your hands on the edge.

It is interesting that the arrow keys are not surrounded with other keys like on a usual extra keyboard where "7" and "9" keys have another function. Now you shouldn't worry what can happens if you accidently press another key. I wish though the Fn key weren't placed right under the Shift because you can also press it accidently. The whole upper row (from ESC to Del) consists of keys smaller in size by a quarter: well, it will take you some time so that you may get used to them.
In front of the keyboard there are LEDs indicating the status of a hard disc, FDD, Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock (I wish, though, these indicators were liquid-crystalline).

Besides, there are two switch buttons: a blue and a black one. With the blue button you can enable the Suspend function, with the black one you can turn off the system and when pressing them both you can reset it. Switching on is implemented with any of them.

The notebook is equipped with a Q-Point (Track point). The Armada series notebooks can be equipped with either Track point or Touch pad. I think that the Track point is more convenient for working in the car, for example, or in some other similar situations, i.e. when the notebook doesn't lie in a horizontal position. The Touch pad, on the contrary, suits best when the notebook is on a desk.

The CD-Rom drive is placed on one of the sides, while the FDD is in front. The CD-Rom drive can be replaced with a DVD-Rom drive, and it makes much less noise as compared with the previous models. But air inside the system doesn't circulate the most efficient way: the right part is much warmer than the left one. Another disadvantage is that network and modem connectors are too close to each other.
A network adapter shouldn't cause any problems for you since Intel's cards are usually of high quality. The infrared port works flawlessly, at least, with the Ericsson R320S. So does the USB one. Software


The notebook has several service programs:
  • Compaq Intelligent Manageability is in charge of Backup copying, sets an auto save period, alarm, file auto collation.
  • Easy point IV adjusts the Q-point: sensitivity, scrolling, short description of buttons. The settings are scarce: the cursor always moves at the same speed. At a greater speed positioning becomes worse.
  • Energy saving mode settings. Standard energy saving schemes integrated into the Windows 98SE, auto alarm at the battery's critical level. Settings for on/off buttons for sleep mode, switching off, withholding of operation. Setting of brightness in %. Calibration of battery - this function might help you increase the service life of the battery.
  • Compaq Information Center offers information on modem, network card, quick installation of the notebook and simple ways of operation.
  • Compaq Configuration Record contains brief characteristics of notebook's devices and checks their serial numbers according to the data from the memory.
  • Compaq Diagnostics contains primarily description of devices than the diagnostics itself.
  • Compaq DVD Player - it is not of great interest since the notebook lacks for DVD.
  • Ring Central Fax - an average fax program.

Since we reinstalled the OS we had to use the Quick Restore packet. In course of installation of the new OS the notebook couldn't find drivers for a [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6][color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]video [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]card and a network one. Besides, it was very hard to find one or another program on a CD. You can easily restore the preinstalled Windows 98 Eng, but if you need programs for another OS then you will have to serf the Internet for it.
All batteries have status indicators. It is very convenient if you deal with several batteries. Just insert it and check its status. After-sales service


All equipment from Compaq is backed with a warranty. But apart from the manufacturer's warranty, the equipment is backed with additional 3-year warranty from Swifttech service center. The [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6][color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]technical [color=invalid-color:86ce6e5ef6]support lines work every day. The price of the notebook includes a 1-year warranty. Score


Score (max.)Our scoreAccessories
25

15

Appearance and ergonomics
25

20

Ease of handling
25

21

User support
25

23



Total: 79 scores. Why we lowered the score:


Accessories:
  • documentation only in English (-3);
  • no cover or bag (-3);
  • aging software - Windows 98 SE and out-dated drivers (-2);
  • inconvenient Restore Kit (-2).

Appearance and ergonomics:
  • Old-fashioned appearance (-2);
  • keyboard has some imperfections (-1);
  • software for cursor management lacks for flexibility and settings (-1);
  • ports unprotected (-1).

Ease of handling:
  • warms up significantly (-1);
  • out-dated status indication (-2);
  • FDD placed at the front (-1).

User support:

  • updates are not displayed in time on the company's sites (-2).
Tests


The tests were carried out according to our testing technique, but the test set was extended:
  • Ziff-Davis CD WinBench 99 v1.1.1
  • Ziff-Davis Battery Mark v4.0.1
  • Ziff-Davis Winstone 2001
  • Ziff-Davis Media WinBench 99 v1.2
  • Ziff-Davis 3D Winbench 2000 v1.1 (1024x768 16bit)
  • BapCo & Mad Onion SysMark 2001

Test results: ZD Business Winstone 200115.3ZD Content Creation Winstone 200116.1ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 CPUMark
1450

ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 FPUMark
2650

ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 Business Disk WinMark2810 (1850*)ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 High-End Disk WinMark8970 (4670*)ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 Business Graphics WinMark
152

ZD Winbench 99 v1.2 High-End Graphics WinMark
3175

ZD 3D Mark200010.3ZD CD Winbench 99 v1.1.1 CD-ROM WinMark 99
1010

BapCo & Mad Onion SysMark 2001 Rating
63

BapCo & Mad Onion SysMark 2001 Internet Content Creation
68

BapCo & Mad Onion SysMark 2001 Office Productivity
59

ZD BatteryMark 4.03 hs 10 min
*In course of testing the hard disc we received two different results - the worse one corresponds to the initially installed OS (Windows 98SE Eng). It is obvious that it had a UDMA mode enabled, that is why the processor utilization was 83%. When we activated the DMA mode the results much improved, the speed of the hard disc increased by 47%.
Conclusion

The M700 is a typical mid-level model with its highs and lows. The disadvantages are both in ergonomics and in the performance. The performance with the preinstalled OS is what worries me much. Among its advantages is a large display; the gap between a display's edge and a lid is so minute that your attention is never diverted. The notebook costs some $1750 without a bag and $1799 with it.
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