The Bottom Line
Oct 17 2012 - It is just so hard to find anything that is really worthy of purchasing a Compaq Presario CQ58-a10NR. With its $400 price tag, the limited performance and features just don't stack up to just about any other laptop in this price range. Sure, it may have AMD Radeon Graphics which best Intel's options but even AMD A series laptops at this price point have better performance and more features.
- Improved Integrated Graphics
- Lower Performance Processor
- Less Memory and Storage
- Lacks USB 3.0 Port
- AMD E1-1200 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 2GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With VGA Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 7310 Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.8" x 9.7" x 1.4" @ 5.4 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Compaq Presario CQ58-a10NR
Oct 17 2012 - The Compaq Presario CQ58-a10NR is very different from many laptops because it uses the AMD E series APU. This is a sort of a bridge between the C series processors used in the netbook style systems and the A series used in traditional laptops. It uses the same power as most of the A series but has lower clock speeds meaning less performance. Thus, by using an E-1200 dual core processor combined with 2GB of DDR3 memory, the system can handle the basics of email, web browsing and word processing but it certainly isn't a smooth experience as laptops in the same price range using the AMD A series processor or the Intel Pentium. It definitely has problems for those that are doing multitasking and is not suited at all to something like desktop video editing.
Storage features are a bit disappointing for a laptop priced at $400. It uses a 320GB hard drive which doesn't offer quite as much storage as the 500GB drive that many of the budget class systems offer but it is more than the 250GB drives than netbook class systems use. One of the big drawbacks here though is the lack of a USB 3.0 peripheral port for use with high speed external storage. This means that external storage devices won't be as fast as they can be. A dual layer DVD burner is included for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The display uses the same 15.6-inch panel with a native resolution of 1366x768 that you find in pretty much any budget laptop. It functions just fine but has limited viewing angles and color levels that become much more apparent when compared to much more expensive laptops. The one bright spot for the Compaq Presario CQ58-a10NR is the graphics system. The AMD APU series takes the Radeon HD graphics systems and placed them into the main processor for improved graphics support. The Radeon HD 7310 here is a pretty low end one that still won't be well suited for 3D graphics but it does offer improved acceleration for non-3D applications such as Photoshop compared to Intel's integrated graphics.
The keyboard for the Presario CQ58 uses a more traditional style than the chiclet or isolated keys that have become common to many systems. The key layout itself isn't really a problem but the flat keys and limited space between keys may be a problem for those with larger hands and fingers. The trackpad is actually quite wide but is rather short which gives it a bit of an awkward space. The trackpad is also centered on the palmrest rather than on the center of the home row which may throw off some users.
HP has included a standard six cell battery pack with a 47WHr capacity rating on it that one would find in most 15-inch laptops. In my digital video playback tests, the laptop was able to run for three and half hours. This is pretty typical for the running time of a 15-inch laptop but is a bit disappointing though. Generally if you are looking at a slower processor, you would hope to have some added benefit from extra running time. This is very apparent in HP's Envy Sleekbook 6 which runs nearly six hours on a low wattage AMD A series processor but with a larger battery pack and a higher price tag.
Priced at $400, the Compaq Presario CQ58-a10NR has a lot of competition at this price point, unfortunately most are just better. Some notable alternatives include the ASUS X54C, the HP 2000t and the Toshiba Satellite C855. The ASUS is just slightly more expensive but uses a has a better processor, more memory, more storage space, longer battery life and a USB 3.0 port. HP's 2000t is essentially an Intel based version of this laptop that features more performance, memory and storage. Toshiba like the HP also a faster processor and a USB 3.0 port but can actually be found for under $400.