Thursday June 25, 2009 6:12 pm
HP Pavilion dv2 12.1-inch laptop review
The HP Pavilion dv2 Entertainment PC aims to fit into the gap between full-featured notebook, and ultra-portable netbook. In fact, depending on your needs, the dv2 could be the best of both worlds. It’s very thin, weighing just under four pounds, and packs an AMD Athlon Neo processor with 4GB RAM, Vista Home Premium 64-bit, a widescreen 12.1-inch LED-backlit display, 320GB hard drive, HDMI out, quad-mode Wi-Fi with 802.11n support, and a 5:1 media card reader. Even better? Since we are talking about full-featured notebooks, the dv2 even has an external Blu-ray drive. We’ve got our full review thoughts on the device, after the jump.
So let’s begin with an overall statement. If you’ve been using a netbook, and have been frustrated by the power and keyboard size, the HP dv2 is something you should take a serious look at. You guys dealing with 1024x600 screen resolutions will find the dv2 and its 1280x800 screen to be very nice. The screen is bright and clear, and has the same resolution as a 15” HP laptop such as dv5. You’ll want to use this one for yourself though, as sharing the screen to watch a movie or something has a sub-par experience, since the viewing angle isn’t the best.
When you boot this thing up for the first time, you are gonna wanna spend some time removing what seems to be like an endless amount of bloatware. I mean, seriously, this made a big difference in responsiveness of the machine, and I was almost appalled at all the stuff that was on the retail version of this notebook…but hey, PC manufacturers get kickbacks on these things, so the practice isn’t going to end anytime soon. Just do yourself the favor of trashing the unneeded software.
One minor thing I like about the dv2 is the trackpad. A notebook trackpad needs to be comfortable and smooth, and scrolling shouldn’t be an issue. For a smaller notebook, the trackpad here is great.
For graphics, you’ve also got the discrete video card in the ATI 3410 HD 512MB. Not to say this will be your gaming powerhouse or anything, but you can certainly play games on this machine comfortably.
Watching videos on the HP dv2 is nice, but since it runs Windows Vista 64-bit, video hardware acceleration is a bit spotty. Once Windows 7 drops though, things should be better on that end. As long as you stick to 720p high definition, you are good. Plus, the screen won’t correctly display 1080p anyway, since it isn’t that high a resolution.
The only real complaint we had with the machine is that battery life wasn’t much at all, as we got under three hours. If you are wanting to use this thing to watch a Blu-ray title, you’ll be disappointed, because unless you are plugged in to a wall, you won’t be able to get through an entire 2-hour feature without the battery dying. So grab an extra battery, or make sure you aren’t doing things that use it up when you aren’t going to be near a power outlet. The other thing, the battery can get pretty hot. It won’t scald you or anything, but you’ll definitely know it’s there. This is a notebook that you’d want to use on a table or desk, rather than actually having it sit on your lap.
All in all, the HP dv2 is a worthy machine. If you want something that is much more feature-rich than all those netbooks out there, but don’t want to spend $1000 or more on a dual-core desktop replacement, this is your answer. The fact that it supports Blu-ray playback with an add-on makes it even more attractive. Definitely give it a look if you are in the market. You can pick up the
HP Pavilion dv2-1030us at Newegg.
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