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HP Pavilion dv2 (1030-us) Review by pcmag.com December 12, 2009

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The HP Pavilion dv2 (1030-us) is as close to a netbook as you’ll see with an AMD processor. Though it was made clear that the semiconductor company had no interest in competing in the netbook category, this 12-inch beauty says otherwise. The dv2, which bears a strong resemblance to the Dell Inspiron Mini 12, is the first laptop to use AMD’s new Athlon Neo processor, and at $749.99 (direct), it costs about $100 more than the HP Mini 2140 netbook. I think HP and AMD have the right idea here, as there aren’t enough 12-inch form factors that are able to hit this price. The only catch is that you’ll have to put up with fan noises and occasional heat from its underside. In terms of form factor, the dv2 as more like a netbook. The things that set it apart from that category are the new AMD Neo processor, 4GB of memory, a discrete graphics card, and a 12-inch screen, not to mention its steeper price. In that way, it straddles the line between netbooks and ultraportables.

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Take away the brand logos and you’ll see the striking design similarities between the dv2 and the Dell Mini 12. They have roughly the same dimensions: the dv2 measures 11.5 by 9.5 by-0.9 inches, and the Mini 12 is slightly thinner at 11.8 by 9-by 0.8 inches. Both have a glossy-black top that collects smudges and fingerprint marks. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that HP paid more attention to subtle design details on the dv2, such as the chrome trimmings along the edges, the embedded patterns on the palm rest, and the chrome mouse buttons and touchpad. The Mini 12, as with most inexpensive netbooks, is more basic.

At 2.7 pounds, the Dell Mini 12 is more than a pound lighter, but the dv2’s 3.8-pound frame is fit for travel. Granted, the dv2 weighed in with a bigger 55-Wh battery (its only battery option) than the 12’s 24-Wh one. A 12-inch widescreen is a rare sight on a budget laptop, which is what makes the dv2 so appealing at this price. The 1,280-by-800 resolution is much more pleasant to work with than the 1,024-by-600 one that is typically employed for a netbook. It allows high-end applications like Adobe Photoshop CS4 to install (Adobe Photoshop CS2, CS3, and CS4 require a minimum 1,024-by-768 resolution screen), and makes multi-tabbed Web surfing more tolerable than on a 10-inch netbook screen.

A full-size keyboard would have improved the dv2’s standing against other 12-inch ultraportables. Alas, it has a 92 percent keyboard, the same size as that of the Mini 12. The keys are very similar in design and in size to those found on the HP Mini 1000 and the Mini 2140. Unless you have stubby fingers, though, the typing experience is still exceptional for an ultraportable. If a full-size keyboard is a must for you, you’ll get the best typing experiences from more-expensive ultraportable systems like the Toshiba Portégé R600-S4202 and the HP Elitebook 2530p. Because of the dv2’s roomier dimensions, a pair of responsive mouse buttons is located beneath the touchpad rather than flanking the sides of it, as they do on the Mini 1000 and 2140. In case users find that the touchpad interferes with their touch typing, there is even a button above the touchpad that disables it.

For the most part, the dv2 hits the right notes in terms of features. An HDMI port makes it stand out from a netbook, and the built-in speakers pack more oomph than those on the Mini 12. Otherwise, it possesses many of the features that are commonly found on a netbook, including three USB ports, a 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, xD, MS, MS Pro), an Ethernet port, VGA, and built-in Wi-Fi. Like all Pavilion laptops, it comes with a one-year warranty for parts and labor. Omitting an internal optical drive was necessary to maintain its slim silhouette, although an external dual-layer DVD burner comes standard with your purchase. And, no, you cannot opt out of it, but you can upgrade to an external Blu-ray drive, which will ship separately.

The dv2 is the first out of the gate with AMD’s new Athlon Neo—a low-powered processor that’s greater in physical size and slightly more powerful than the netbook-class Intel Atom. Running Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit is another thing that differentiates this system from a netbook, given that the OS on most netbooks is Windows XP Home Edition. As a result, the dv2 doesn’t suffer the same memory limitations imposed by Microsoft (with XP Home Edition, manufacturers are restricted from putting in more than 1GB of memory). The dv2 comes with 4GB of DDR2 memory. And whereas other netbooks run on Intel’s integrated graphics, the dv2 is capable of running 3D-intensive applications. Its ATI Mobility Radeon 3410 discrete graphics card, which comes with 512MB of video memory, can handle moderate 3D gaming (a Spore trial edition comes with the system). The card helps prevent lag and smooths out the decoding process while you’re watching high-definition content on, say, Blu-ray discs.

HP Pavilion dv2 (1030-us)

So how did the Neo processor fare against the Atom in actual testing? Thanks to the Neo, the dv2 showed its muscle in video-encoding tests, outperforming the Atom-powered ASUS EeePC 1000HE by 20 seconds and the Mini 12 by 1 minute 18 seconds. It was the only one of the group that completed Photoshop CS4 tests, finishing in 1:49 (the Dell 12 did not complete the test, and the 1000HE’s resolution was too low to even run the test. (Like Atom, the Neo is a single-core processor, so it couldn’t complete a dual-core test like CineBench R10.)

In terms of raw horsepower, the Neo clearly has an advantage over Atom. Against an ultra-low-voltage Intel Core 2 Duo, however, it fell way behind. The Core 2 Duo–equipped Toshiba R600-S4202 was at least twice as fast as the dv2 in video encoding and Photoshop CS4 tests. More important, the Toshiba ran cooler than the dv2.

The combination of the dv2’s processor and a discrete graphics card did result in heat and fan-noise issues. I noticed when I had the dv2 propped on my lap that the underside was extremely warm, and traces of heat were detected on the palm rests. I took readings with a Fluke infrared thermometer and found that temperatures got as high as 112 degrees Fahrenheit at the base. The palm rests measured 95 to 97 degrees while Photoshop CS4 was installing, and the fans could be heard the whole time, working constantly to cool the laptop (even when it was idle). The Mini 12 ran much cooler and quieter, as did most netbooks that use the Intel Atom platform.

A warm system can have an adverse affect on battery life. The dv2’s 55-Wh battery was less than stellar, scoring 3 hours 41 minutes on MobileMark 2007 tests. The ASUS 1000HE and the Samsung NC10-14GB have similar-size batteries that scored around 6 hours or more.

The HP Pavilion dv2 (1030-us) has some interesting advantages over its netbook counterparts. A big screen and a nice resolution make a huge difference in usability. Though overall performance didn’t blow me away, the dv2 wielded better graphics performance than a laptop with an Intel integrated chipset, and completed certain tasks faster, albeit at the expense of having a cool-running system. The dv2 will face some stiff competition when the Samsung NC20 and the MSI X320—cheap VIA- and Atom-based netbooks with big screens—begin their march in the U.S. (both reviews to come shortly). Until then, the dv2 and the Dell Mini 12 are the least expensive systems in the 12-inch space. If you’re looking for a little more performance, like watching a Blu-ray video or encoding files, a dv2 is a good pick. For general-purpose tasks, you’d be better off with the Mini 12.

Check out the HP Pavilion dv2’s (1030-us) performance test results.

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DV2 Review by digitgeek.com December 12, 2009

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Ultraportables seem to have been overshadowed by netbooks in a big way. This has not only to do with the smaller size of netbooks but also the price factor. HP Pavilion dv2 aims to reduce the price gap between netbooks and ultraportables without compromising on performance. The laptop first made its appearance at CES 2009 and attracted a lot of potential buyers. HP has kept an attractive base price that will give touch competition to netbooks which lack the same level of performance that it has to offer.

hp_pavilion_dv2

HP Pavilion dv2 specifications :

  • Processor : AMD Athlon Neo / 1.6 GHz
  • Display : 12.1″ TFT HP BrightView
  • Display resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Memory : 3GB DDR2
  • Hard Disk : 160GB SATA-150 5400 rpm
  • Graphics : ATI Radeon HD 3419
  • Graphics memory : 256MB
  • Optical Drive : External Blu-ray drive with DL support
  • OS : Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Battery : 4-cell Li-ion
  • Approx. price : $699

The base price of the HP pavilion d2 starts at $699. The external Blu-ray drives is not included in the base price and you have to shell out extra for it. However, you do get a good configuration in the base price sans the graphics card and some other goodies.

The design of the HP Pavilion dv2 is stylish and looks stunning in all black look. The laptop is not only ultra thin but also light weight at just 3.8 pounds. The usual imprint finish can be found all over the laptop. Portability was one of the top priorities for HP while designing this laptop and you can make that out by looking at its dimensions and weight. The lid of the laptop is sturdy and does not make any funny noises while opening or closing.

The body is made of high-quality plastic and it does not show scratched easily which can make a black notebook look messy. The edges of the notebook are smooth and round as has been the case with HP Pavilion notebooks. The lid does not have a latch to keep it secure while closed but it hinges manage to keep it in place without it too. Overall the build quality of the dv2 is excellent.

The 12.1″ display on the laptop is as good as it gets for HP laptops. Having a bigger display when compared to netbook never hurts. The display has good contrast and the colors appear rich. The depth in colors is its strong point along with uniform backlighting across the screen. Viewing angles are good but the glossy screen produces reflections in bright light. The 1280 x 800 resolution is fine for a 12″ screen and you can enjoy movies in full glory.

The keyboard has finally got a refresh on the HP Pavilion series laptop and is much improved, hopefully HP will implement the change for all future Pavilion laptops. The keyboard is rigid and keys offer good tactile feedback with minimal sound. The keys have are slightly glossy but that does not affect typing. The palm area has enough space to accommodate palms. We definitely like the new keyboard on the HP Pavilion line which supposedly is the same the HP tx series flaunts.

The touchpad however has remained unchanged, disappointing. The touchpad has a big area for an ultraportable but the surface is slippery that makes it hard to use especially with oily hands. The keys too are shallow and do not give enough tactile feedback for our satisfaction. The On/Off button on the touchpad is the best part that allows to turn the touchpad on/off one the fly as it can interfere while typing. We are still waiting for HP to improve their touchpads, till then we are going to have to do with a mouse.

Ports get the axe in ultraportables and especially when they are ultra-thin too. HP seems to have taken good care of that by including a good number of ports in its ultra-thin body. One can find three USB 2.0 ports that are standard for many mainstream notebooks too. Apart from that it has a  HDMI 1.3 connector to connect external display. A card reader, LAN port, VGA port and a Kensington lock port have been squeezed in as well. That surely is a nice list of ports to have on the move!

The laptop does not come with a internal optical drive due to space constraints but you have the option of going in with either a normal DVD burner or a Blu-ray one both of which are available as external drives. They are powered and driven by a single USB port and do not require any external power. The external drive has similar design as the notebook and gels with it completely.

The laptop has the latest AMD Athlon Neo processor under its hood. The processor is designed to run cooler and consume less power. A cooler processor takes care of the heating problem with ultra-thin notebooks and the dv2 does indeed run much cooler. The performance of the processor is almost twice when comapred to Intel Atom. The dedicated graphics card on the laptop offers flawless full HD video playback and also allows for casual gaming. Overall the dv2 is a good performing notebook. The netbooks simply do not offer the similar performance level.

Pros :

  • Good display
  • Dedicated graphics
  • Good performance
  • All major ports present
  • Great design

Cons :

  • Average touchpad
  • No internal optical drive
  • Low battery life

Final Thoughts

The HP Pavilion dv2 is a nice offering from HP that puts in a lot of features in to the ultra slim ultraportables while keeping the price at a reasonable level. The design of the notebook is cool and Imprint finish lends a sexy look. Although there isn’t an internal optical drive but you can go for an external one. Dedicated graphics is its biggest advantage over netbooks that make it more performance oriented rather than just portability. The keyboard is great but same isn’t the case with touchpad. There isn’t much negative to write about this notebook and one should seriously look consider it over netbooks if performance is top priority.

Rating : 4/5

Source : http://www.digitgeek.com/hp-pavilion-dv2-review/