"This is a workhorse that is sill a worthy unit"4.5 starson by BrianLevy
Pros: Graphics very good for most office requirements. Sound actually better than many of the newer laptops today. The keyboard is one of the best I've ever used, either desktop or laptop.
Cons: HP did not continue the committment of Compaq to continue development of the design and hence the proposed 802.11 G multiport or other proposed additions dies when HP bought Compaq. The heat reported in reviews is real.
Summary: I picked up one after using someone else's. Mine has 1 gig of ram and the dvd reader/cd writer in the multibay and a blank multiport. The big complaints of the unit seem to be heat. The source apparently is the original 40gig HD from Toshiba. I replaced it with a 60 gig and the heat levels went down to cooler than some more recent laptops. I've mounted XP Home and several flavors of Linux on it and all have run well. I decided to load up 2000 Professional as I've not tried it in a number of years. As I want to use the machine for the office and need some basic network ability it semed like a natural choice as some programs are Windows only making Linux a non-choice. HP still maintains a webpage in support of the unit and has the drivers so not a lot of time was needed in finding them.
The install of 2000 went extremely smoothly. It almost seemed that the laptop was tuned for it. The install was easier than when using XP though XP was the OS sold with the majority. Even better was getting the Linksys and D-link wirelss cards to work. Very easy and straightforward. Both of these seem do work well with XP but seem a little wonky on installing them on XP initially and do not seem to like having both installed at the same time.
With the new HD, the fan noise level is substantially lower and many times is not even running whereas before it continually ran at its highest speed. Even with the 1 gig of ram, the unit is just above ambient room temp after several hours.
I have 2 other laptops plus access to an iBook and find I like the keyboard of the Compaq better. They have a very slight raised edge on the sides and a slightly roughened surface. The travel and resistance is just right for my finger movement. Only other keyboards I ever found as good was on of the original IBM from their early PC and a WYSE that came with a PC they made for a short period.
The power plug on mine is okay but has a little less grip than it should. Not sure if it is from age or a design. Usially not a problem but the battery on mine is toast so I am a bit careful as for a short tiem after getting it, I inadvertantly pulled the plug a couple of times.
The distance from the front edge to the keyboard is neither too shallow or deep. No wrist tire. The touchpad movement does not quite cover the full screen in one movement but does come close. Haveing the left and right buttons on the lower and upper edge of the pad (4 buttons total) makes using them easy to reach.
When I loaded the 2000, I also found my Corel WordPerfect 2000 and MS Office 97 discs plus a number of other apps from that period that I had retired. I decided to load the Corel 2000, Office 97 except for Outlook, and Outlook 2003. Corel is a really nice alternative for those not liking Office. Office 97 is fast and still more than most others would ever use. MS has a download to update the file formats so 97 can open MS through 2003. Outlook 97 is not really great for web based mail. All loaded with other apps such as Opera, Adobe reader the HD space used is only 12 gig. Oh, it includes Windows Media Player and Activsync. My PPC using MS 5.0 setup easier and better than with the XP install but will not sync MP3 as WMP 10 is required and it will not mount on 2000.
The Corel Address book supplies a missing component that MS did not supply in any of its OSs for some reason, an almost direct import/export function between the OS Address book and Outlook. 2 clicks and it is done. It also populates the Corel CorelCentral. All this happens both fast and seamlessly.
Finding drivers for my newer computers to work with 2000 has not been successful. Running some basic functions with the Evo and my Toshiba M60 with XP and 2 gigs such as sorts on some large files were so close I'd call it a tie. Howeever on strtup of the computers, shutdown and opening programs went to the Evo on 2000. If you do not need something for gaming nor need the latest and greatest, get a 610c, update the HD to eliminate the one weakness, upgrade to 1 gig and think of finding 2000 Professional and select some apps that will give you what you need and not a batch of bloated stuff. The limitation of 2000 is it is limited to IE 6 that is starting not to be supported on some sites so I used Opera that I use on all my computers. I did not try OOo, Lotus Symphony, FF or other programs.
Oh, the Evo with 2000 was a snap to hook through the network at work. Far easier than the XP on Toshiba system.
If you have a chance to get one, with only a very little work it is a keeper and I suspect will be in use long after some of the newer offerings are in the recycle bin.