Compaq Presario C500

A good value laptop that outperforms many other notebooks at the same price -- the only feature missing is a DVD burner.


7.4
CNET Rating
6.8
User Rating

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Design
The Compaq Presario C500 is an attractive budget laptop which is finished in two tones of matte silver. The unit makes the most of the screen real estate with a very small bezel, and has a surprisingly small footprint. The unit is quite thick, however, due to the exhaust vents being underneath -- it even has feet to prop the laptop up off the desk, which is a little unusual.

All its ports and connectors are conveniently accessible on both sides of the laptop. There is actually nothing on the back you would need to reach around for -- not even the power supply -- which is great as you will never have to flip it around to plug anything in.

The build quality is mostly good, though the keyboard is somewhat flimsy -- it moves up and down as you type. Easily accessible above the keyboard are dedicated buttons for volume and wireless networking. These light up when active which is great for quick control and feature status.

Features
The Presario C500 is powered by an Intel 1.7Ghz Celeron Mobile processor. It may not be fast, but it gets the job done. The unit comes with 512MB RAM as standard and it has a spare memory slot so you can easily upgrade -- running Vista can be memory hungry, and so a minimum of 1GB is recommended -- even for the Basic version.

The C500's 1280 x 800 pixel widescreen has a nice gloss finish and offers quite reasonable levels of brightness. Only one combo drive included so you won't b able to burn DVDs but all other equipment levels are as you would expect, including all standard features such as 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11g wireless networking, a modem, three USB ports and VGA and S-Video connections.

Performance
Battery performance testing wasn't particularly noteworthy. Under the standard Battery Eater test its battery life was only average at one hour thirty-seven minutes. This is with wireless networking turned off, so you can expect slightly bigger impact on power if you want to use Wi-Fi.

Performance also wasn't spectacular compared to some of its bigger cousins. The Presario C500 achieved an overall 1507 with PCMark 05. Higher end laptops will generally score over 2000 so it is definitely not going to compete with them, but compared to other laptops in its price range this unit sits well above average.

BatteryEater Pro reader test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance.)
HP Compaq Presario C500
97

PCMark 05
(Longer bars indicate better performance.)
HP Compaq Presario C500
1507


Conclusion
At $999, this laptop is definitely good value. Features are reasonable, but a DVD burner would be a good addition to the package. Its performance is better than many other budget laptops we've tested in the past and overall it is a solid product well worth consideration.

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PriscillaFlores
9
Rating
 

PriscillaFlores posted a review   
United States

The Good:cheap

The Bad:if you don't get more ram space, you're likely to have a horrible laptop.

I thought this was a horrible computer, which it is if you don't get the extra 2GB of ram, now the laptop can now run vista and chat without crashing. It's an extra 80 bucks if you go to frys. Now I love this computer. n.n

charley
9
Rating
 

charley posted a review   

I have built all my computers I'm a hardcore gamer the the problem I see with the bad reviews on any computer is because the person complaining is to lazy to learn how the computer works I also fix and maintain network systems my compaq presario c500 is the first I've ever got retail my advice to people who complain is to know what you are saying before you say it I use mine for my computer repair service so I'm online buying parts for building custom computers I have no problem because I keep my system defraged and free of virus and malware programs so when your computer gets slow it's you who are the problem not the computer

 

PriscillaFlores posted a comment   
United States

The Good:It was cheap, $400 bucks.

The Bad:it broke down twice, broken dvd player, super slow, it's horrible

i got this computer my junior year in high school, it was a pretty awesome deal since it was $400. Everything was fine until I had to drop $200 to fix it when it crashed out of no where, the dvd player broke, then i had to drop another $150 when it broke again, and then the power cored broke. i had to spend $60 bucks to replace it(and now I see there's $15 ones on amazon!) And the everything just crashes all the time. i have an imac now, it's a life savor, kinda wish i got that in first place. If nothing ever happened to this laptop, then it would have been perfect for me. But it wasn't.

hpman
7
Rating
 

hpman posted a review   

The Good:cheap, sounds good

The Bad:powercords

i bought mine at a local pawn shop and so far its been running great, except for having to order a charger. its still bone stock, but i do plan to upgrade. so for 300 its a nice machine for my first laptop.

Neralo
4
Rating
 

Neralo posted a review   

The Good:Screen, Speakers

The Bad:Durability.

right lets see, got this abot 2 years back, upgrades to 1.5gb ram, thats it. still running windows vista basic, though i did use the 7 rtm for a while. Anyways, recently, its been starting to suck very badly. You might say its cos its old, but the fan seems to not work very well, and the laptop becomes superheated doing the least taxing of jobs, such as playing youtube videos. overall, a very horrible computer now, i must say. though it was tolerable one before.

Al
2
Rating
 

Al posted a review   

The Good:cheap

The Bad:what isn't there.

The battery life of this is really bad. Even on the power saver setting it drains in almost no time at all. After a couple of months the cord of the adapter started to fray and the wires inside weren't connecting. I ordered a new one and then months after that it broke as well. Two keys are missing and one hinge is busted. Along with all of those the screen has four vertical stripes running down it from stress on it. The bottom of the laptop gets super hot as well. Never again would I get this laptop. It didn't live up to expectations at all.

Jordan
9
Rating
 

Jordan posted a review   

The Good:Cheap, Speakers, Nice Screen

The Bad:Battery Life

I have had this laptop for over 2 years now, it came with vista home basic out the box and after a year and a half I uninstalled it. It is now running Windows 7 Ultimate and Mac OSX 10.5.6 well. Windows 7 works like a charm. Never upgraded it, came with 1.73 GHz and 80GB Hard Drive, 512mb RAM.

Saaaaamm
9
Rating
 

Saaaaamm posted a review   

The Good:hmm WIDESRCEEN!!! optical driveee

The Bad:BATTERY LIFE grrr :@

I love this laptop great price lovin the widescreen a bit bulky. Battery life i hate. I have to plug the charger all thaa time but overall i like it . I hate vissttaaa! :(

 

C500 Lover posted a comment   

The Good:Everything

The Bad:Nothing bad for a $400 close-out

I couldn't be happier. I never upgraded the memory, so it's slow, but since I bought my first personal computer over 30 years ago, I can always think back to booting off floppy discs which puts things in perspective. I used this laptop daily for two years, no issues. I was so pleased that when the next generation got down to $400 as close-outs I bought a bigger, better faster Compaq. So my C500 is now my spare and I can always watch ad additional video feed off Hulu, etc. if I want to put it to work.

Not Happy
1
Rating
 

Not Happy posted a review   

The Good:Cheap

The Bad:Battery life

This laptop is garbage. I bought 2 of these within 2 months of each other...one for the wife, another for the kids (used mainly for surfing and basic Excel, Word stuff) - cheap price from Best Buy...in the last few months, both hinges have broken on the wife's laptop and harddrive bombed, power supply cord on the kids computer crapped out and the 2 keys have just popped out...total garbage...


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User Reviews / Comments  Compaq Presario C500

  • PriscillaFlores

    PriscillaFlores

    Rating9

    "I thought this was a horrible computer, which it is if you don't get the extra 2GB of ram, now the laptop can now run vista and chat without crashing. It's an extra 80 bucks if you go to frys. No..."

  • charley

    charley

    Rating9

    "I have built all my computers I'm a hardcore gamer the the problem I see with the bad reviews on any computer is because the person complaining is to lazy to learn how the computer works I also fix..."

  • PriscillaFlores

    PriscillaFlores

    "i got this computer my junior year in high school, it was a pretty awesome deal since it was $400. Everything was fine until I had to drop $200 to fix it when it crashed out of no where, the dvd p..."

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