HP Pavilion dv7-2045ea £640
25th Aug 2010 | 08:30
An impressive range of features, but let down slightly by limited performance
HP has a strong range of consumer laptops in its Pavilion series, and the dv7-2045ea is a well-built, entertainment-focused entry.
However, its fantastic range of features is sadly undermined by a lacklustre specification which can't match the best at this price.
At 3.4kg and with a 17.3-inch screen, this is the heaviest and one of the bulkiest machines we have tested in a while. While portability is limited, the 220-minute battery life is second only to the Sony VAIO VPC-Y21S1E/SI, and the large dimensions allow for a well-sized keyboard and dedicated numeric keypad.
This is one of the best keyboards we have used for touch-typing, thanks to the scale and intuitive layout, and despite the plastic feel of the keys. The mirrored touchpad adds to the laptop's style, along with a unique patterned design across the chassis' shiny lid and interior.
The screen is bright and vibrant thanks to its Super-TFT coating, although it is quite reflective as a result. The widescreen aspect ratio is perfect for watching films, something HP has carefully considered with the inclusion of an infrared remote which allows you to control Windows Media Centre software at a distance, for the playback of movies and other media.
A responsive touch-sensitive media bar above the keyboard is also included for controlling music, movies and photos. Other features are just as impressive, including the only DVD drive to provide LightScribe support.
The range of ports is comprehensive, with VGA and HDMI outputs in addition to mini FireWire and eSATA ports for fast data communication. An ExpressCard port and four USB ports let you add peripherals.
The only negatives are the 802.11g Wi-Fi – as most modern laptops here support the faster 802.11n standard – and the use of the older Windows Vista OS instead of Windows 7.
Performance is sadly less impressive. With an AMD Turion X2 processor in place, this laptop only beats the cheaper Mesh Discovery 16-RV in terms of power and lags significantly behind the Hi-Grade Notino W760C, Acer Aspire 5745PG-354G32Mn and Toshiba Satellite L670-12J.
Functionality is limited to running office applications and watching movies, and we expected a lot more of a laptop at this price point.
HP has included a dedicated ATi Radeon HD 4350 graphics card which packs in more 3D power than everything but the Acer Aspire 5745PG-354G32Mn, but the basic processor means that modern games and intensive design packages still suffer from lag.
A mixed specification and outdated OS are compensated in part by the excellent features and quality build of the Pavilion dv7-2045ea, but anyone looking for a high performance machine should look to the Intel Core laptops.
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