HP Pavilion dv7 review

£964
Price when reviewed

HP’s premium-priced Envy range may be catching all the headlines, but now its Pavilion range of affordable consumer laptops has gone under the knife. With an all-new design and some trickle-down technology from its luxurious stablemates, HP’s Pavilion dv7 just might be the affordable powerhouse we’ve been waiting for.

The Pavilion dv7 is entirely unrecognisable from its predecessors. Gone is the ostentatious glossy silver of previous models, replaced by an altogether more understated, stylish finish. That’s no bad thing, as the Pavilion now looks a little like a cut-price Envy 17. It has a smoothly contoured chassis, and little touches such as the subtle, textured finish on the lid and wristrest make all the difference.

HP Pavilion dv7

The hefty 3.05kg chassis doesn’t just look good; that slick appearance goes hand in hand with fine build quality. The base is flex-free, with a wide and solid wristrest to lean on, and the lid does a great job of protecting the display within. No matter how hard we prodded and poked it, the lid stayed firm, with no sign of any showthrough on the display itself.

All the physical changes have been accompanied by tweaks under the hood. This, the range-topping dv7, now includes the Beats Audio technology, which made its debut in the Envy range. The multiple speakers dotted around the HP’s chassis reach the sort of volumes required to make games and movie soundtracks enjoyable, and there’s enough clarity that listening to music’s a pleasure rather than the usual tinny chore. They might not have the Bang & Olufsen accreditation of the fancy-pants Asus N53JN, but they’re certainly no poorer for it.

The HP’s aural finery is accompanied by an equally good display. The glossy 17.3in panel may make do with a native resolution of just 1,600 x 900 pixels – it seems a waste not to have a Full HD screen on a Blu-ray-equipped laptop such as this – but the quality is very good. Colours are rich, and even tricky skintones are handled well. There’s plenty of brightness on tap too.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions415 x 274 x 37mm (WDH)
Weight3.050kg
Travelling weight3.9kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-720QM
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55
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 Radeon HD5650
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity500GB
Hard disk usable capacity466GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba MK5056GSY
Optical disc technologyBluray reader
Battery capacity5,100mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
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 locationFront edge, underneath
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 23min
Battery life, heavy use54min
Overall application benchmark score1.49
Office application benchmark score1.32
2D graphics application benchmark score1.71
Encoding application benchmark score1.29
Multitasking application benchmark score1.63
3D performance (crysis) low settings79fps
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 suppliedN/A

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