Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion DV2800 (DV2840TX)
A notebook with funky aesthetics
- The funky design will stand out for users who appreciate it, fast performance, HDMI-port, good speakers
- The funky design will stand out for users that dislike it, heavy for its size, some reflectivity issues
It's fast and has all the essentials, but in the end the art makes or breaks it.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
HP's Pavilion DV2800 (DV2840TX) Artist's Edition notebook is the most aesthetically adventurous unit we've seen lately, and it might not appeal to everyone. To search for the art to grace its youth-targeted notebook, HP launched a competition. After sifting through 8500 entries, it found 20-year-old Joao Oliveira from Portugal. The result is an Asian-themed mixture of dragons and yin/yang symbols laser-etched into the cover and palm-rests.
The notebook also sports some effective hardware: its 2.4GHz T8300 Intel Core 2 Duo CPU is seriously fast, the 320GB hard drive spins up at 5400rpm, and there is 2GB of DDR2 RAM installed.
Graphics are managed by an NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS chip and sound can be heard through a set of excellent Altec Lansing speakers. The notebook has a 14.1in widescreen with a native resolution of 1280x800. Although the screen's quality is adequate, reflectivity is an issue.
In our WorldBench 6 tests, the HP recorded a score of 90, which translates into an ability to easily multitask several office applications and perform video encoding functions. The CPU's strength was confirmed by our iTunes test — in which we convert 53min of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3 files — which was completed in just 73sec.
3DMark06 returned a less satisfying score of 1726, which reflects the relative weakness of the 8400M GS chip. This means that the integrated graphics card can handle older games with ease, but will struggle to play F.E.A.R. at anything higher than mid-level settings.
The full-sized keyboard is responsive and suitable for extended use. Although some heat can be felt on the palm-rests after an hour of use, it never becomes uncomfortable for the user. The unit weighs 2.5kg without its power supply, making it a little heavy for lap use. The entire package comes in at 3kg.
A webcam is installed in the frame above the screen and it works well with the built-in array microphone to provide a solid video conferencing platform. Cyberlink's YouCam program is bundled, and it offers the ability to easily upload video directly to YouTube.
The notebook's D-Sub, S-Video and HDMI ports can be used to attach an external monitor, projector or high-definition TV.
At this price point we'd like to see Gigabit Ethernet, but unfortunately only 10/100 Ethernet is built into the system. You do get 802.11b/g/n wireless networking, however, and this can supply fast wireless transfer speeds (sometimes faster than 10/100Mbps) in a home environment. If you're unlucky enough to live in an area without broadband, the modem will come in handy. Bluetooth connectivity is also included.
A 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, xD, MS, MS-Pro) sits just below an ExpressCard/54 slot on the left-hand side of the unit. A FireWire port is also present, which can facilitate data transfers from FireWire-enabled devices such as camcorders.
Two USB 2.0 ports come as standard. A microphone port and two headphone ports sit on the front of the unit, and beside them is an infrared port that can easily connect to mobile phones, for example. The LightScribe dual-layer DVD-RW drive burns and runs DVDs smoothly.
In our worst-case scenario battery rundown test, the HP lasted for 1hr 28min, which is a little less than expected.
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