A couple of years ago, HP’s PSG (Personal Systems Group) came up with the marketing slogan ‘The Computer is Personal Again’, under which a whole raft of interesting and stylish PCs and notebooks were launched.
Now HP has carried on the concept with a range of laptops in styles and designs that, frankly, are very un-HP-like, with even the limited editions selling well. If you think HP’s Pavillion range is grey, corporate and dull, boy are you in for a surprise.
One of the latest Pavillions is the dv7-1000ea, a 17-inch entertainment notebook based around Intel’s latest Centrino 2 technology. It offers a good blend of performance and features at a price that is around half what you would have paid this time last year (thank you, credit crunch).
The first thing that strikes you is the style and finish of the dv7-1000ea: it just screams quality. The lid uses the high gloss, piano black finish that is so loved by manufacturers these days, but this time there is a pattern embedded in it. The lid is set off superbly by the chrome finished chassis sides.
Opening the lid you are confronted by a finish that you will not find on any other laptop. The wrist pad has the same pattern as the lid, but here with a natural aluminium finish that’s set off by chrome detailing, this time the trackpad and mouse buttons. Above the keyboard sits a metal mesh panel into which HP has set the media centre touch-sensitive controls, wireless on/off switch and the power button.
The chassis is also remarkably thin for a 17-inch notebook at 45mm high, but even so it weighs in at 3.4kg without the power brick, so although you may want to carry it around to impress your friends, you may soon start to regret it.
However, the dv7-1000ea is a whole lot more than a flashy looking chassis. Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 (clocked at 2.0GHz) and 4GB of PC2-6400 800MHz DDR2 memory, there is more than enough power to support your everyday applications.
As a home entertainment notebook you’d expect a certain level of games performance from the dv7-1000ea, and the Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card with its 512MB of dedicated GDDR2 memory provides a good but not outstanding basis for gaming.
When tested at the screen’s native resolution of 1,440 by 900 pixels with World in Conflict‘s built-in benchmark, it gave an average frame rate of 20fps with all the in-game details and filters set to high or maximum. Dropping the resolution down a couple of notches and doing the same with the detail levels, you should get some playable frame rates.
The 17-inch WXGA screen comes with HP’s BrightView high gloss coating which does tend to reflect office lighting quite badly, but on the other hand is just perfect for watching movies on, and text and images are pin-sharp and crisp.
What is a nice surprise is that the dv7-1000ea comes with an integrated Blu-Ray drive, while for permanent storage there is a fast 320GB hard drive.
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