The Compaq SR1800NX is another value system we purchased during our retail experience experiment. While this system was by far the cheapest of the machines we bought, is it a runt or a diamond in the rough?
As many of you might know by now, [H] Consumer doesn’t "review" systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
This process allows us to not only evaluate the system, but the OEM that builds it. Our goal is to give you the wide-angle lens view of the computer and the company so that you can make informed and educated decisions about what you purchase or recommend to clients, friends, and family.
“Compatibility and Quality.” Those two words comprise the acronym “Compaq,” the name given to the Texas-based company credited with being one of the first producers of IBM PC compatible computers as well as the forefather of today’s laptop. In the late 1990s, acquistions and successful marketing of IBM PC clones made Compaq the world's second largest computer maker in terms of revenue. Since then, a stormy merger with Hewlett-Packard and lost market share to Dell have resulted in falling stock prices, causing the IT community to wonder if Compaq could still produce reliable machines in the face of such hardships. We decided to take a look and see for ourselves whether Compaq machines still retain the compatibility and quality guarantee embedded within the ubitiquous six red letters.
We purchased one of Compaq’s latest lower-end models, a Presario SR1800NX, from Circuit City for $399.99, but the machine came with a $50 mail-in rebate. Keeping in mind that this system lacks the bells and whistles of its high-priced counterparts, we wanted to see if it met the needs of users who want to check their email, watch DVDs, and play some tame games without breaking their wallet. We were curious whether a system could still be reliable at such a low price.