capsule review

HP Pavilion dv2000t

At a Glance
  • HP Pavilion dv2000t

    PCWorld Rating

    Offering stunning looks and great battery life, the dv2000t is an excellent home and small-business notebook.

Goodbye, boring black and silver. Hello, high fashion. A glam exterior encases the HP Pavilion dv2000t, a sophisticated entertainment notebook that replaces the dv1000.

With the Pavilion dv2000t, HP breaks new notebook-design ground with Nissha film imprinting, an advanced molding technique that incorporates attractive patterns into an object's surface. The unit's high-gloss metallic and piano-black finish contains a subtle wave design, just as some cell-phone casings and luxury-car interiors do. (HP has also installed this new design on the Pavilion dv2000z, as well as on a handful of other new consumer and business notebook models.)

The reasonable $1739 (as of 9/8/06) price of our test configuration included one of the first 14.1-inch high-definition notebook wide screens. The Altec-Lansing stereo speakers are first-rate, as well, and plenty loud enough for you to enjoy MP3s and action movies without headphones. The two stereo headphone jacks are nice extras; one is S/PDIF-capable, enabling connection to your surround-sound audio system for pure digital audio.

Multimedia is one touch away via HP's QuickPlay 2.1, a wide-screen menu that launches movies, music, personal videos, and photo slide shows without booting Windows. A new pressure-sensitive membrane bar that runs along the top of the keyboard lets you start QuickPlay and control volume at the touch or swipe of a finger--very snazzy.

Would you rather sit back and relax? With HP's palm-size remote ($15 extra), you can scroll through documents and control media from up to 10 feet away via an infrared receiver on the front of the notebook. You store the remote in the ExpressCard slot when you're not using it. For making face-to-face contact during instant messaging, you can add an integrated 1.3-megapixel Webcam to your configuration ($40, and included in the price of our review system).

Our Windows XP Home review unit (XP Professional is also offered) came with both Wi-Fi and optional Bluetooth wireless communications; a top-of-the-line 120GB, 5400-rpm hard drive; and Microsoft Works 8. The included SuperMulti DVD±RW/R drive comes with LightScribe, which enables the drive to laser-etch grayscale labels on discs. Pavilions come with extra entertainment software, too, including the Muvee AutoProducer consumer movie-creation software and the Sonic MyDVD CD and DVD creator. About the only thing our test machine lacked was a dedicated video card, which you'll want for gaming or other highly graphical applications; a 128MB nVidia GeForce Go 7200 board costs $25 more than the standard integrated video.

The port selection is modest but should satisfy most home users; included are three USB ports, a FireWire port, and a three-in-one media slot that takes SD, xD-Picture Card, and Memory Stick. The extrafirm keyboard is great, and features a touchpad lock. The typing slope is comfy, as well, thanks to the 12-cell battery, which adds three-quarters of an inch to the height of the back of the notebook.

The dv2000t, equipped with a 2.16-GHz Core Duo T2600 processor and 2GB of DDR2-533 SDRAM, turned in a solid WorldBench 5 score of 110, not quite as impressive as the mark of 120 earned by the similarly equipped Micro Express HEL8021. Our unit's 12-cell battery ($39 extra) lasted 7.1 hours in our tests and doesn't add too much extra weight to the fairly light 6.1-pound unit. (We didn't test the standard six-cell battery, which is rated at 4.2 hours.)

To turn the dv2000t into a truly terrific desktop replacement, you'll want the $250 xb3000 Notebook Expansion Base, which includes a port replicator, a screen stand, a premium speaker setup, a hard-drive bay, and a wireless keyboard and mouse. To increase the system's 120GB internal storage (as in our test machine) to desktop PC class, you can get the $450 Base with a 300GB hard-drive kit.

A couple of ease-of-use quibbles: I had to turn the pointer speed all the way up to revive the cursor, which seemed to drag due to the touchpad's thick glossy finish. And as cool as I found the volume-control membrane, even carefully executed swipes turned sound all the way up or down, requiring additional adjustment taps. In this case, at least, the old-fashioned volume wheel still has the edge.

But those are minor issues. The dv2000t is an excellent home and small-business notebook for the money, and its stunning wave-design casing will turn heads wherever you take it.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Offering stunning looks and great battery life, the dv2000t is an excellent home and small-business notebook.

    Pros

    • Excellent battery life
    • Designer case

    Cons

    • Volume gauge is jumpy
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