In May of 2009 I treated myself to an early birthday present — an upgrade to the HP Pavilion dv7. This performance & entertainment notebook features a high definition 16:9 ratio (with a yummy 1600 x 900 screen resolution!), integrated webcam & microphone, and a variety of customization options for hard drive capacity, processor speed and amount of memory. For those who like to personalize the looks of their notebooks, there are two options for the notebook’s color: Moonlight White or Espresso Black.
The base model is currently priced at $799, and features the Espresso Black finish. The specifications are as follows:
- 2.1GHz Intel Core2 Duo processor
- 2GB DDR2 memory
- 250GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive
- 512B ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530
- LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW
- Wireless-G Card
- Integrated webcam & microphone
- 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
I stuck with the base specs, though I took advantage of a free upgrade to a 320GB hard drive and 3GB of RAM. I also paid $25 extra to get the Moonlight White finish (which I absolutely love, and have loved since I first received the notebook from HP.com!). And at the time, I had to pay $15 extra to get the LightScribe feature added.
Let me just say, I absolutely love this notebook. I love HP, and when it comes to computers and notebooks, I always go straight to them. I have now had a desktop computer and three notebooks that were made by them. My mother has had two desktop computers and a notebook made by them, and for my husband’s birthday I purchased an HP notebook for him.
The HP Pavilion dv7 offers four USB ports (two on either side), an HDMI port, a ESATA port, a network cable port, some video out ports if I wanted to hook up the notebook to an external monitor, and an SD/MS Pro MMC/XD card reader. There is a closed phone jack port — closed because I did not choose to pay extra for a modem. There is also a small remote control, though I’ve never used it, so I can’t report on its ease of use or reliability. The included power cord is much lighter than the cord that came with my second-to-last HP notebook (a zd8000), and plugs into the notebook on the right side, beneath the hinge for the lid.
Physically, it seems well built, with soft, easy to use and very responsive keys, and a very fast touch pad. Quick play buttons are situated above the keyboard, separated from it by part of the speaker design. These buttons control the volume, playback of media, and enable and disable the wifi. My only complaint for these buttons would be the location of the wifi button. Despite being separate from the volume and playback buttons, I have occasionally hit it by accident, thus disabling my wifi connection when I was in the middle of doing something. Maybe I just have large hands? :lol:
Performance-wise, I have no complaints. The HP Pavilion dv7 came loaded with Windows Vista Home Premium, and once I replaced that with Windows 7, and added an additional 1GB of memory, I could see an even bigger increase in performance. The notebook performs flawlessly. I have had it for a little over two months now, and it has never overheated (and I don’t always keep it on a notebook cooling stand or tray).
The 16:9 HD display on the HP Pavilion dv7 is amazing. I have read some reviews complaining that the screen brightness seemed a little dim, but I haven’t noticed any dimness. In fact, it seems to be brighter than the monitor I use for my desktop! The glossy finish really helps to make colors pop, particularly when I’m running the notebook on electrical power and have the screen brightness set to the maximum setting.
Battery life is also fantastic. Even with 80%-100% screen brightness, wifi and music going, I can get a good two hours out of it. With the screen kept at its lowest setting and music and wifi disabled, the performance jumps to at least two and a half hours, sometimes closer to three. A lot depends on what I’m doing.
My only critique of the notebook would have to be the design. Specifically, the fact that the casing around the display and around the quick play buttons is black, despite the fact that the notebook itself is finished in Moonlight White. Some say that perhaps it is black to help with contrast and visibility of the screen, but I don’t buy it, considering that Apple creates entirely white notebooks and external displays. Also, the black has a very glossy finish, so fingerprints, smudges and dust show up, and so frequent wiping and cleaning is required.
Overall, I would highly recommend the HP dv7 for anyone who is looking to have a sexy, fun and high performing laptop to use for work or play. I use mine for both work and play, and on most days it is on for 8-10 hours, sometimes longer. It performs beautifully, and I look forward to getting plenty of enjoyment out of it for the next several years!