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HP Pavilion DV2-1030EA review

Alan Lu
25 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

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Specifications

12.1 in 1,280x800 display, 1.6kg, 1.6GHz AMD Neo MV-40, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

HP's Pavilion DV2-1030EA is the first computer we've seen to use AMD's new Neo processor.

HP claims the DV2 is an affordable yet powerful ultra-portable laptop rather than a netbook. But we found the Neo's performance far closer to Intel's Atom - the processor found in most netbooks - than the more powerful Core 2 Duo chips used in most ultra-portables.

In our new video-encoding test, the DV2 scored just 21, which is around 25 per cent quicker than an N270 Atom-powered netbook with the same amount of memory. It was almost twice as fast in our image-editing test, but crawled through the multitasking test. We suspect this is because the Neo doesn't support Hyperthreading, which allows the simultaneous execution of two commands.

Unlike most netbooks, the DV2 is capable of playing Blu-ray-quality HD video. This is almost certainly thanks to its dedicated Mobility Radeon HD 3410 graphics chip, rather than the processor. Asus's Atom-powered nettop, the Eee Box B204 (What's New, Shopper 256), has a similar graphics chip and can also handle HD video. If you want to watch such video on the go, you'll have to download it from a source such as iTunes, since external portable Blu-ray drives aren't yet available.

Video looks bright and sharp on the 12.1in widescreen display. Its 1,280x800 resolution isn't sufficient to make the best use of 1080p HD video, but it still looked impressive. Viewing angles aren't very wide, though, and the lid doesn't tilt very far back, which can make it awkward to use in tight spaces. There's an HDMI port for connecting the DV2 to a high-definition TV or digital monitor.

Vista Home Premium is pre-installed on the generous 320GB hard disk. Unlike some Vista-equipped netbooks, the Aero interface felt smooth and responsive. HP has also included its own MediaSmart software for browsing media files, though this is a little redundant given that Windows Media Center is included with Vista Home Premium.

The DV2 weighs just 1.6kg, but if you include the USB DVD writer then its total weight increases to just over 2kg. Although still easy to carry, there are inexpensive ultra-portables available, with built-in optical drives, that weigh less than this. Its short battery life was also disappointing; at just over two hours the DV2 isn't great for working on the go. Its power consumption figures are far higher than any of the netbooks in this month's Labs.

Its glossy black and chrome design looks sleek, and the DV2 feels sturdy, too. The keyboard and touchpad buttons are large, responsive and comfortable to use. However, there was sometimes a slight lag before the pad recognised our inputs, which was annoying.

The DV2 is a lightweight HD-capable laptop with a comfortable keyboard and large hard disk. Unfortunately, its battery life simply isn't good enough. If you need an ultra-portable laptop that can play HD video, Acer's Core 2-equipped Aspire 2930 is cheaper, more powerful and has twice the battery life. If you don't need HD video playback but do want a lightweight portable computer with a decent-sized screen, Samsung's NC20 on page 72 is a far better buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorAMD Neo MV-40
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size30x292x243mm
Weight1.6kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle27W
Power consumption active40W

Display

Viewable size12.1 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, xD
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedCyberLink DVD Suite 6, HP MediaSmart, Microsoft Works 9
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£600
Detailswww.hp.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.thelink.co.uk

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