HP Pavilion dv3 review
The HP dv3 is a compact little notebook, but for a Core i3 system it is expensive. That’s at least partly down to its unique feature: a 13.3in touchscreen, enabling you to control games and applications with the power of a simple prod.
It’s a feature that smacks of gimmickry, though. Sure, you can play with the Windows 7 Touch pack (the rotating globe is the highlight), but there’s little you can do with a finger that isn’t at least as easy with a touchpad. The screen doesn’t twist round, so you can’t turn the dv3 into a digit-driven tablet either.
Interface aside, the dv3 has other attractions in reserve. Its dark swirls and chrome trim may not be to everyone’s taste, but in a market largely populated by grey slabs it oozes character. And for a touchscreen the display is remarkably good: the only hint it isn’t a regular display is a barely-noticeable coldness to its greys. With a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 it delivers just as much detail as larger displays.
The dv3 has some features you wouldn’t expect from such a dinky device, including an ExpressCard/34 slot, Bluetooth and a fingerprint reader. The Altec Lansing speakers are predictably lacking in low frequencies, but they go pretty loud, with a clarity you wouldn’t expect from a machine this size.
Performance is another nice surprise, thanks to HP’s choice of a Core i3-350M, rather than the more common but less powerful 330M. With 3GB of DDR3 and a 7,200rpm 250GB hard disk from Western Digital, the dv3 scored a very creditable 1.36 in our 2D benchmarks. 3D duties, meanwhile, are handled by a discrete GPU – admittedly a last-generation ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4550, but still streets ahead of the lightweight graphics built into the CPU. In our low detail Crysis test it achieved an encouraging 52fps.
Thanks to a capacious 5,100mAh battery, the dv3 lasted a sterling 1hr 30mins in our heavy-use test. That’s good to see, since a notebook of this size is obviously suitable for use on the go. Light use performance was however on the short side at 3hr 20min.
There are cheaper i3 laptops, to be sure, but the Pavilion dv3’s sturdy little frame is packed with good stuff. It deserves a look even if you never lay a finger on the touchscreen.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||327 x 221 x 35mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i3-350M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM55 Express|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4550|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||230GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Western Digital WD2500BEKT|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||HP GT30L|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||IDT HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||yes|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||3hr 20min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 30min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.36|
|Office application benchmark score||1.22|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.36|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.23|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.65|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||52fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs|
|Software supplied||Microsoft Works 9|
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