HP Pavilion dv5-1000ea review
When the new Pavilion landed in the PC Pro offices its looks instantly set the team bickering. Its glossy black exterior doesn’t make any great departure from the laptop norm, but tilt back the lid and the striking new design for HP’s dv-series of laptops is revealed. Some thought it strikingly ugly, some stylish and alluring, but whether you love it or hate it, it’s no shrinking violet, that’s for sure.
The keyboard-surround is split in the middle horizontally: the lower half is light silver with a subtle white check pattern, and the upper half perforated silver plastic, allowing high-quality sound from the laptop’s Altec Lansing speakers to emerge. Around the edge of the chassis, and running down the side where the ports are located, is a chrome-effect strip that shimmers with an alluring sparkle. While this isn’t exactly subtle, the most eye-catching part is the trackpad, which is covered in a mirror-like finish. Occasional glances down at the keyboard often surprise as you see yourself staring back from beneath the space bar.
Close the lid and the dv5 is a more sober affair, but still eye-catching. An expanse of glossy black is the order of the day, interrupted only by an illuminated HP logo in the corner of the lid that glows blue-tinted white.
Few PC laptops can challenge Apple’s portables for sheer desirability, but while the HP is more gaudy haute-couture than timeless style, it’s certainly a refreshing change.
Under that glittering veneer lies a laptop that’s a pleasure to use. The trackpad is large and accurate, and can be easily disabled by clicking a small button between it and the keyboard. This is extremely useful when working on long documents, letting you get down to some serious typing with no danger of bouncing the cursor around with a misplaced thumb.
The keyboard is spacious and comfortable to type on with large, slightly concave keys that have a good, positive action. There’s also a set of touch-sensitive media-control buttons above the keyboard, but unfortunately these rely on a dedicated application that runs in the background. If you uninstall it in the quest for a clutter-free taskbar, they’ll stop
As well as being good to use, the HP is extremely well built, with little creak or flex in the chassis. And while it isn’t the lightest laptop in the world, for a machine with a 15.4in screen, 2.65kg isn’t actually that bad.
The performance is solid, too. A 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 3GB of RAM sees the Pavilion reach a fine 0.99 in our 2D benchmarks, although the Nvidia GeForce 9200M GS graphics managed only 21fps in our Crysis 3D benchmarks, even at the lowest settings. Notching these upwards gave predictably sluggish results, leaving the latest games off-limits to the Pavilion.
Working with office applications is the HP’s forté, though, and the 15.4in TFT is wonderfully crisp and clear. Its resolution of 1,280 x 800 is standard fare for a 15.4in laptop, but the brightness and colour accuracy is a match for many pricier laptops. And, should you need them, HDMI and VGA ports allow for connecting to larger external monitors, although it’s worth noting there’s no Blu-ray drive for high-definition movie playback.
At £574, the HP represents great value. And, compared with the £553 Samsung R560 – our current A-List choice (see p27), which is comparable in specification to the HP – the speakers, build quality and keyboard are noticeably better.
The Samsung has the edge in terms of the battery life – in our light-use test the HP lasted 3hrs and 23mins, a full hour short of the Samsung – and the Samsung also outdoes the HP in both 3D and 2D performance.
|Warranty||1 year(s) collect and return|
|Dimensions||357 x 259 x 42mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo P7350|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,280|
|Resolution screen vertical||800|
|Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce 9200M GS|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3MP|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||203|
|Battery life, heavy use||79|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.99|
|Office application benchmark score||0.98|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.18|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.89|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||0.96|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|OS family||Windows Vista|