Advantages Sleek, very light (10 lbs) machine. Customer Service good. Snap to install
Disadvantages Few pre-installed applications. Only one drive bay. Caters to businesses
|Memory / capacity|
|Range of Extra Features|
- Sleek desktop with small footprint more distinctive than the Compaq Presario home computer line.
- Geared towards businesses where ease of deployment and maintainability and control is more important.
- No pre-loaded software beyond Compaq's version of NT/Win2K or Win98 with Compaq Intelligent Manageability
- Intel Pro/100+ VM Network Connector with remote management features is standard but NO internal modem available.
- 1 year COMPAQ on-site service standard (additional years available).
- Multibay components (hard drive, CD-ROM, Zip Drive, LS-Superdisk drive, etc) can be swapped between IPAQ desktops and certain COMPAQ Armada notebooks. But only one Multibay slot available.
- NO internal expansion slots available.
I bought the desktop direct from Compaq because they were offering the IPAQ running Win2000/NT4.0 with 128 meg RAM, Intel III 700 mHz chip with 20 gig hard drive, a 24X CD ROM drive, Ethernet card and a Flat Panel Display monitor for $799. With tax and S&H, the total cost came up to $830.Given that the street price of the flat panel monitor is $400, the IPAQ deal I got was very compelling. Unfortunately, the offer is no longer available and the regular IPAQ price of $850 comes only with a standard 15 inch monitor.
The computer comes with legacy free and legacy versions. The legacy free desktop comes with 6 USB ports but no parallel or serial ports)while the legacy version comes with the traditional ports and a couple of USB ports). Since I still needed to hook up my original printer and modem, I chose the legacy version.The computer also features a sleek design and very small footprint (complete specs available at http://www.compaq.com/products/quickspecs/10832_div/10832_div.HTML). The desktop was very light (about 10 lbs) and took up very little space on my table and the flat panel monitor of course could be lifted by one hand. The computer runs very cool and didn't feel warm at all.
As I mentioned earlier, the IPAQ is geared towards business and the NT/W2K version comes standard with solutions for remote cloning, deployment, installation, configuration, and backup/restore; single-click scheduling for all management tasks, and powerful brokering agents to handle requests automatically and communicate status to the management console.However, for home users, there are several quirks to the IPAQ.
First, there doesn't seem to be an internal modem available. Because the Ethernet card is standard, the expectation is that this computer will be hooked up to a LAN or to a DSL or Cable modem. This did not bother me because I had an external modem which I could hook up to the serial port. But if you need a modem, expect to pay about $30-$100 for an external modem.Second. Floppy drives are not standard. There is an external USB floppy drive available for $70. Again, the expectation is that the 3.5" floppy drive is a thing of the past. If you really need a floppy, you might want to consider getting the LS-120 IPAQ multibay drive for $99. For $30 more than the cost of the external floppy drive, you get an internal drive that also doubles as extra storage. The LS-120 drive can be used to write to a Superdisk that as 120MB of storage. That's what I did so that I can use it for backups as well as a floppy.
(Aside: Note that LS-120 superdisk technlogy is not very popular and it is dying. You can get the more popular Zip drive but it costs about $250 for the IPAQ multibay ZIP drive).The Experience
I ordered the IPAQ online directly from Compaq. Unfortunately, the flat panel monitor was out of stock. Instead, the substituted with an similar 15" flat panel display from Viewsonic. Because of the switch in monitors, it took about 3 weeks between the time of my order and when the boxes arrived at my doorstep. In the meantime, I was updated with 3 emails letting me know about the backorder and apologizing for the inconvenience. However, when I ordered my LS-120 drive separately, it arrived within 1 week for their standard shipping which was very reasonable.Because the IPAQ is targeted towards the corporate customer, I got Purchase Orders and Invoices mailed to me even though everything was charged to my credit card. Not an issue.
I got 3 boxes. One of the CPU unit, one for the monitor and one for the CD-ROM. Unpacking was easy because of the light weight of all the components. It also had the standard COMPAQ color coding of all wires so that you simply match the plug and the port by color. I had to install the internal CD-ROM, but it was very easy since it is part of the Compaq's Multi-Bay technology. Just press a button in the back and the drive pops up. Insert the drive into the drive bay and plug in. You can switch drives when the computer is running.It took me 15 minutes to unpack and plug everything in and I was ready to turn the machine on.
The most stressful part was the beginning when I had to choose my operating system. Since I bought a Win2000 box, I had to choose between Win2000 and NT when first booting up the machine. If anything goes wrong during this initial boot process, I'm in big doo-doo. Actually, I had 4 choices (NT English, NT French, Win2K English and Win2K French). I made my choice and waited patiently, crossing my fingers, as my operating system was installed.Everything worked like a charm. Win2K booted up and I was able to start pounding away immediately.
I haven't had a need to test Compaq support, but my experience with them in the past has been positive. When my previous Compaq hard drive failed, I was able to take it into a CompUSA store to they replaced and re-imaged it back to its original condition. Please note that the standard 11-year warranty includes on-site service.My thoughts
I like the computer. Everything seems to be there. I kinda miss my internal floppy drive but it does make sense not to include it. After all, if you normally use the computer to surf the net or install software, you really only need a CD-ROM drive. And if I needed access to a small file, I can always download it onto the IPAQ. And if I need to send a file to work, I can email it instead of copying it to a floppy.The CD-ROM drive is a little inconvenient because it is turned sideways and I have to be careful not to drop the CD when putting it into the drive.
My biggest complaint so far is the lack of internal expansion slots. There is only one internal "bay" available. Sure, you can put a hard drive, or Zip drive or LS-120/floppy, or CD-ROM or DVD drive there. But because there is only ONE bay, it means that if you need to manually switch between the CD-ROM and Zip-drive.What I've done is to leave the LS-120 drive in the bay for doing backups and reading floppies. Then switch to the CD-ROM drive when I have to install software. Those folks that like to play their audio CDs may want to do the reverse.
But if you think that you'll need to swap between the CD-ROM, Zip or other storage drives a lot, then you may to get the other drives as an external drive to avoid having to swap the drives in and out.The speakers are powerful given that they are built into the unit. Because they are placed so close together at the bottom of the computer, you can't get the full stereo effect. But the IPAQ has line-out connections in the back so that I could plug in my own speakers.
My previous COMPAQ had loads of pre-installed software. Because the IPAQ is targeted to a corporate customer so there is no pre-installed software. So adding a spreadsheet or other software will add to the overall cost. On the other hand, you don't get all the junk that you have to get ride of.All in all, it is a nifty little machine.
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