capsule review

HP Pavilion Ze2000

At a Glance
  • HP Pavilion ze2000

HP Pavilion Ze2000
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The HP Pavilion Ze2000 is the better-looking sibling of the HP Compaq Presario M2000. Large but not heavy, this mainstream laptop will suit consumers looking for a good home desktop replacement that won't break the bank.

Like the M2000, the Ze2000 is surprisingly light--6.4 pounds without its power adapter. The sloped front and back give the case a stylish parallelogram shape, the white-and-blue lettering on the black keyboard is easier to read than the M2000's black-on-gray keys. The Ze2000's keyboard feels firm and has a good layout, though its keys' travel is somewhat shallow. Its slim touchpad has dedicated vertical and horizontal scroll zones.

The Ze2000 held its own against similarly equipped models. In WorldBench 5 tests, it scored a 67, tying the mark posted by an IBM ThinkPad R51 with the same 1.5-GHz Pentium M processor.

Both the Ze2000 and the Presario M2000 offer the same features, right down to the nontraditional placement of the display connector on the left side of the case. (The battery occupies the back.) Most other options--including a fixed optical drive, a six-in-one card reader, and USB and FireWire ports--are located on the right side. HP lets buyers drop the combination DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive on our $1174 test unit in favor of a multiformat DVD burner for an extra $75. HP also bundles Microsoft Works with this model.

You can upgrade the Ze2000's hard drive and memory, but the model's most alluring expansion option may be HP's optional ($299) Xb2000 Notebook Expansion Base, which lets you turn the laptop into a full-fledged desktop replacement. Despite its use of a clunky retractable cable, we like the base's versatility: It serves as a port replicator/notebook stand with great-sounding built-in Harman/Kardon speakers and as an internal bay that can accommodate a 160GB hard drive. A wireless keyboard and mouse are included.

Without the Notebook Expansion Base, the Ze2000 delivers mediocre sound typical of a laptop. Emitted from outlets on the sloped front of the case and controlled by volume buttons atop the keyboard, the audio is loud enough for casual use but too weak for impressive presentations or movie experiences.

This well-rounded notebook delivers decent performance and battery life for a reasonable price.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • HP Pavilion ze2000

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