capsule review

HP Pavilion dv9500t

At a Glance
  • HP Pavilion dv9500t

For people who like designer notebooks, HP has produced another sure winner in the Pavilion dv9500t. This desktop replacement offers the same stylish swirl case pattern, dropped hinges, and piano-black lid as its predecessor, the dv9000t, but with several important improvements, including Intel's latest Santa Rosa mobile processor.

With a 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500 and 2GB of 667-MHz DDR2 SDRAM, the Pavilion dv9500t earned a very good WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 73--the same score earned by Fujitsu's LifeBook E8410 with only 1GB of RAM. The Pavilion's average frame rate of 62 frames per second in our graphics tests was average for a desktop replacement but below the marks posted by some gaming notebooks. It should handle productivity tasks, disc burning, and DVD playing with aplomb. And battery life is not bad for the notebook's size, at 3.3 hours.

The dv9500t also improves on its predecessor with an integrated fingerprint reader and optional dual 200GB hard drives, delivering the greatest amount of internal storage available on a notebook. With all the trimmings in place, this is a pricey notebook. Our review cost $2664 as of July 24, 2007.

Pavilions are for gadget lovers. Touch-sensitive, backlit media controls do your bidding in response to a light swipe of a finger, so you can launch a movie, change tracks, or raise the volume in one motion. Both the screen and the DVD drive handle high-definition content. The dv9500t inherits the Pavilion line's high-gloss screen, too, which can be annoyingly reflective under some office lights. But this is a minor complaint. The Altec Lansing speakers provide some of the best notebook audio output available, but you also get dual headphones ports on the front so two people can listen in private. For $100 more, you can add an ExpressCard TV tuner and Windows remote control.

Though built-in cellular broadband is not yet an option, HP does offer a Verizon Wireless V740 ExpressCard ($179 more) in its online configurator for extending your wireless network beyond Wi-fi hotspots. Our test unit came with 802.11n Wi-Fi and a gigabit ethernet port as well.

If the dv9500t is to be your primary PC, consider shelling out for HP's xb3000 Notebook Expansion Base. This terrific desktop docking kit gives you a screen stand with premium integrated speakers, a built-in bay for a third hard drive, and a wireless keyboard and mouse. Including a 400GB hard-drive kit it costs $400.

Carla Thornton

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Equipped with a stylish 17-inch screen and an HD DVD drive, this is a terrific multimedia notebook.


    • Option for second hard drive
    • Good entertainment features


    • Occassionally awkward right Shift key
Shop Tech Products at Amazon