Hewlett Packard – Pavilion dv2 review

12-inch ultra-slim notebook with impressive Neo processor
Photo of Hewlett Packard – Pavilion dv2

In case you thought that HP’s new Pavilion dv2 was just another in the growing forest of portable PCs, HP has specifically labelled it an Entertainment Notebook so that it will appeal to youngsters on the move rather than the business market.

One glance at the exterior, on the other hand, reveals a cool, smooth, shiny black and silver body that no executive would resist showing off around the office. Unusually, there’s no fastening latch at the front; just a firm set of hinges that keeps the lid securely in place.

Inside the lid is a 12.1-inch, WXGA, HP LED BrightView widescreen display (with native resolution of 1280 x 800) which is surrounded by a large bezel, though it might have been preferable to extend out the screen more, as on Acer’s Aspire 3935. It’s perhaps no surprise that the Pavilion dv3 in the same range has taken this on board and has even extended the screen resolution to 1366 x 768, exactly the same as the Aspire 3935.

The keyboard is 92 percent full size and most of the keys have a curved groove in the centre which comfortably adapts to your fingertips. However, because the overall design of the Pavilion dv2 is geared around rounded edges, this has been extended to the keyboard layout which means that the already small Esc and Del keys in the top corners are even tinier and harder to access.

The touchpad is in matching silver to the sides, which makes a pleasant change from the usual black, although it is more prone to visible fingerprints.

You’d expect an entertainment notebook to have a few showbiz extras and the dv2 comes with HP’s version of Windows Media Centre, HP MediaSmart, which controls all your movies, music and photos, etc., as well as a powerful graphics card, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410, which is more than adequate for handling shooters like F.E.A.R. and providing sharp definition (although slightly on the dark side) for DVDs.

You will soon be able to have an optional Blu-ray disc player and, in addition to three USB 2.0 ports, there’s an HDMI output to view your HD images on a full-size monitor.

Our sample came with an external DVD drive in identical silver and black to the main unit, but as the dv2 is supposed to slip easily into a backpack, couldn’t we have had a slot-fed optical drive instead of the extra bulk? On the plus side, you can use the 5-in-1 card reader which supports all the common memory cards, while connectivity arrives via WiFi, Ethernet and Bluetooth.

The Pavilion dv2 gives HP the chance to show off the new AMD Athlon Neo MV-40 1.6GHz processor which appears to perform faster than the Intel Atom, and you can fit up to 4GB of RAM for even better performance.

Our unit had 2GB of RAM and there were no major lag or judder problems with games or DVDs, but within half an hour of usage the bottom of the unit became hot to the touch.

While DVD viewing we were able to squeeze about two hours and 45 minutes out of the six-cell battery, which is nothing to get very excited about, but the machine’s certainly slim (292 x 240 x 237mm) and won’t break your back at just 1.7kg.

Company: Hewlett Packard

Contact: 0845 270 4215

If you want more features than a basic netbook can supply but don't want the larger and more expensive laptops, then this 12-inch entertainment notebook is reasonably priced with an impressive new Neo processor and HDMI capability. It's a shame it has an external DVD player, though, and it becomes uncomfortably hot quickly.