Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion Entertainment PC (dv2633TX) Verve
- Design, LightScribe, Altec Lansing speakers, HDMI port
- Not a powerful performer, speakers lack bass
There's plenty of style to boast of here. The Verve, aptly named for its design, will turn heads, and it's a good performer too, if not at the top of the class.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
Of the two special edition HP Pavilion notebooks, the Verve (dv2633TX) is probably the sexier of the two (see also the HP Pavilion Entertainment PC (6528TX)). Draped in a champagne-style coating with an elaborate patterned finish, this notebook is most definitely for the style conscious. Beyond its extravagant exterior however, the Verve is little more than another HP Pavilion notebook, but that's nothing to complain about.
As with other Pavilion notebooks we've looked at, the Verve offers an Intel Centrino Duo platform, using an Intel Core 2 Duo T5550 1.83GHz CPU, which has a 667MHz front side bus and a 2MB L2 cache. This is not the most powerful CPU around, but it manages to hold its own. There is also 2GB of DDR2 RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS graphics chip. Another couple of features we're used to seeing in Pavilion notebooks are Altec Lansing speakers and LightScribe DVD re-writers, as well as HP's own QuickPlay software with media controls.
The Altec Lansing speakers on the Verve have a nice sound, but lack somewhat in the bass department. However, they're still good enough to watch a movie or put on some background music when surfing the Web, for example. LightScribe DVD writers are great if you're going to use them. They can burn stylish labels of your own design into the discs using the DVD's laser, but require special discs. You'll enjoy this feature if you think you'll be burning disc after disc and want to make them look good, while brandishing your artistic skills at the same time.
HP's QuickPlay software is a media centre application, much like Microsoft's Windows Media Center. It's not necessary to have, but it's a fairly light application and is a viable alternative to the Microsoft option. The media controls run along the top of the keyboard and will work well with any media software. They include skip, stop, pause and play, as well as volume and mute controls. One other hotkey we found to be useful was the touchpad mute button. This is not only handy for when you've connected a proper mouse, it's also useful when typing long documents, so you don't bump the touchpad, relocating your cursor.
Adding to the media feature-set is a Web camera, which is mounted into the bezel of the LCD. There is also an HDMI output, making it simple to watch movies or listen to music through your TV or home theatre setup. The screen itself is a 14.1in number with a resolution of1280x800 and offers a reasonable contrast with a nice bright image and a typically average viewing angle.
It performed reasonably in our benchmarks, suggesting it's capable of what most people are going to need from their computer, such as e-mail, word processing, photo editing and watching movies among other things. In WorldBench 6 it scored a total of 69, which isn't too shabby. In our MP3 encoding tests it took 75sec to encode 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files using iTunes, then 150sec using Cdex, which uses just one core of the CPU.
Overall it performed comfortably, but performance isn't really the Verve's focus point, design is. The Verve is a mix of golden brown and black, giving the aforementioned champagne appearance. It uses a unique patterned design that resembles something between waves and tendrils wrapping around the notebook's surface. It's quite classy, but still cool.
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