HP Pavilion dv7 review

8 Oct 2010

Not perfect, but it does have great speakers, a good display and plenty of power under the hood

Price when reviewed: 
964(£964 inc VAT)
5

HP’s premium-priced Envy range may be catching all the headlines, but now its Pavilion range of affordable consumer laptops has gone under the knife. With an all-new design and some trickle-down technology from its luxurious stablemates, HP’s Pavilion dv7 just might be the affordable powerhouse we’ve been waiting for.

The Pavilion dv7 is entirely unrecognisable from its predecessors. Gone is the ostentatious glossy silver of previous models, replaced by an altogether more understated, stylish finish. That’s no bad thing, as the Pavilion now looks a little like a cut-price Envy 17. It has a smoothly contoured chassis, and little touches such as the subtle, textured finish on the lid and wristrest make all the difference.

HP Pavilion dv7

The hefty 3.05kg chassis doesn’t just look good; that slick appearance goes hand in hand with fine build quality. The base is flex-free, with a wide and solid wristrest to lean on, and the lid does a great job of protecting the display within. No matter how hard we prodded and poked it, the lid stayed firm, with no sign of any showthrough on the display itself.

All the physical changes have been accompanied by tweaks under the hood. This, the range-topping dv7, now includes the Beats Audio technology, which made its debut in the Envy range. The multiple speakers dotted around the HP’s chassis reach the sort of volumes required to make games and movie soundtracks enjoyable, and there’s enough clarity that listening to music’s a pleasure rather than the usual tinny chore. They might not have the Bang & Olufsen accreditation of the fancy-pants Asus N53JN, but they’re certainly no poorer for it.

The HP’s aural finery is accompanied by an equally good display. The glossy 17.3in panel may make do with a native resolution of just 1,600 x 900 pixels – it seems a waste not to have a Full HD screen on a Blu-ray-equipped laptop such as this – but the quality is very good. Colours are rich, and even tricky skintones are handled well. There’s plenty of brightness on tap too.

Details

Price ex VAT £820
Price inc VAT £964
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 415 x 274 x 37mm (WDH)
Weight 3.050kg
Travelling weight 3.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-720QM
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 17.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD5650
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 466GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Toshiba MK5056GSY
Optical disc technology Bluray reader
Battery capacity 5,100mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset IDT HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge, underneath
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 23min
Battery life, heavy use 54min
Overall application benchmark score 1.49
Office application benchmark score 1.32
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.71
Encoding application benchmark score 1.29
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.63
3D performance (crysis) low settings 79fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software supplied N/A