HP Pavilion dv7-2215SA review

Price when reviewed

Big is beautiful, or so the old saying goes, but in the world of laptops a gargantuan frame often comes with a similarly giant price tag. HP’s Pavilion dv7 doesn’t conform to that stereotype, however. Generously proportioned and available for just £487, it promises a hell of a lot of laptop for surprisingly little outlay.

HP Pavilion dv7-2215SA review

Let’s get things straight, though. If you’re looking for a laptop to carry around with you, we’d recommend you look elsewhere. At 3.35kg without the power supply, and close to 4kg with it, the dv7 isn’t a laptop your shoulder will suffer gladly.

And even if you decide that you do need a bit of a workout after all, we’d make sure to keep the dv7 in a well-padded laptop bag. Short of milling the dv7 from a single piece of aluminium – something HP understandably couldn’t squeeze into the budget – a big laptop such as this is going to exhibit some flex here and there. The lid has a fair amount of give in it, and even the base begins to creak a little once you really start to tug on it. It’s nothing overly concerning, though, and if it’s a desktop replacement you’re after, the Pavilion still has plenty to recommend it.

Indeed, the dv7’s huge 17.3in screen is one of its biggest selling points. It has a generous native resolution of 1,600 x 900 and provides a refreshingly spacious Windows desktop. Image quality might not quite place it at the very top of the pile, but popping two documents side by side, or just having multiple applications open at once, is no problem for the HP.

The HP’s sheer size doesn’t just pay dividends with its screen either. The chassis has enough room to accommodate a comfortable keyboard and a numeric keypad. The keys have a precise action and plenty of travel, and the glossy silver trackpad makes cursor control luxuriously smooth.

As you’d expect for the money, the specification is nowhere near top of the range, but it’s perfectly pitched for most people’s needs. The 2.1GHz dual-core processor and 4GB of memory are enough to keep 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium running smoothly, and a result of 1.00 in our benchmarks is exactly what we’d expect.

The provision of both dedicated graphics and a fast 7,200rpm 500GB hard disk is a pleasant surprise, however, and the result of some skillful penny-pinching on HP’s part. Don’t dismiss the ATI Radeon HD 4530 chipset as being incapable: it charged through our easiest Crysis benchmark at a smooth 45fps, which bodes well for taking on modern games at reduced settings.

You might expect such a huge laptop to struggle on battery power, but even here the HP confounds expectations. Light use stretches to a surprising 4hrs 15mins, while heavy usage sees the HP last for a herculean hour and 46 minutes.

And importantly for a desktop replacement, connectivity is beyond reproach. The four USB ports are spread equally between the HP’s two flanks, and one doubles up as an eSATA port, which is handy for rapidly backing up large amounts of data to an external drive. Meanwhile, a mini-FireWire port nestles alongside a card reader, an ExpressCard/54 slot and there are both VGA and HDMI outputs ready and waiting to be connected to an external display.

When viewed as an all-round package, the HP Pavilion dv7 is a superb desktop replacement. Well built and more generously specified than the price would suggest, it really is both big and beautiful.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions414 x 275 x 44mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.9kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual-Core T4300
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM45
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size17.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetATI Mobility Radeon HD4530
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity466GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate ST9500420AS
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveLG GT20L
Battery capacity4,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportno
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetIDT HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use4hr 20min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 46min
Overall application benchmark score1.00
Office application benchmark score0.93
2D graphics application benchmark score1.21
Encoding application benchmark score0.95
Multitasking application benchmark score0.92
3D performance (crysis) low settings45fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedMicrosoft Works 9, CyberLink DVD Suite

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