The HP Pavilion dv2 – A vacation from my Macs

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Ok friends, it’s honesty time. I have a secret to let you all in on and it’s a kinda big and I’m more than  a little ashamed to admit it. But I feel safe with you guys, so here goes… I’ve been pretty much all Mac all the time since July, 2005. I made the switch (after 3 tries) and never looked back. Now the bad part is, that after the switch, I became one of those annoying Apple converts that likes to say Windows sucks every time someone mentions a problem about Microsoft software. And even worse is the fact that I dismissed Windows Vista as crap without truly giving it much of a try. There, I said it.

So here’s what I am going to do. I’m going to give up my Macs completely for a week and am going to use a brand spanking new HP Pavilion dv2 notebook loaded with Windows Vista. Will this notebook steal my heart and give me a new respect for Vista? We shall see said the blind man, we shall see…

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Hardware Specs

AMD Turion Neo X2 Dual-Core Mobile Processor L625 (1.6GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)
4096MB DDR2 SDRAM
320GB (5400RPM) Hard Drive
12.1″ Diagonal WXGA HiDef BrightView Widescreen display (1280 x 800)
ATI Mobility Radeon HD Premium Graphics 3410 with 512MB DDR2 dedicated graphics memory
802.11a/b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth
5-in-1 Media reader
Blu-ray ROM with Lightscribe SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
Windows Vista Home Premium (64bit with SP1)
HP Media Smart
HP Webcam
High capacity 6-Cell Lithium-ion Battery
11.50″(L)x 9.45″(W)x 0.93″(min)/ 1.29″(max)
3.81 lbs

Package Contents

HP Pavilion dv2 notebook
External USB Blu-ray drive
6 cell battery
AC adapter

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This is a very sexy looking notebook that is available in Moonlight White or Espresso Black. As you can tell, I was sent the Moonlight White version. Is it ok to say that it reminds me of an Macbook? ;)

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I love the color as I get really tired of looking at dull Black laptops all the time. This one is almost pearly in color. But  it doesn’t have any swirls like the HP Mini 1000 that we reviewed.

The size of the dv2 is nice. It’s not netbook tiny, but it’s not Macbook Pro big. It’s just right… The weight isn’t bad either. It’s going to make a nice couch surfing machine.

Time for ports, connectors and switches…

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Click for full-size image

On the Right side, the first switch towards the front of the laptop is the power slider, next to it is the wireless toggle, flash card slot, Audio in, Audio out, USB, power connector and security cable slot.

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A bright LED next to the power connector apparently glows all the time when connected. It’s yet to turn off for me, and I’ve had it plugged in for 24hrs now. I’ll have to read up on it.

Click for full-size image

Click for full-size image

On the left side, we have an Ethernet jack, video out, HDMI, 2 USB ports and a heat vent.

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On the front, we have a collection of status LEDs for wireless, power, battery and the hard drive.

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Opening the lid exposes a brilliant glossy display and a bright White keyboard and chrome touch pad.

Click for full-size image

Click for full-size image

The keyboard is pretty spacious and has a decent layout from the brief time I’ve used it so far to setup my account and do a few quick installs.

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I’m looking forward to watching some Blu-ray movies using the USB drive and the HDMI out feature of the dv2. One thing I noticed though… no remote to control playback from across the room.

Ok, that’s the quick and dirty hardware tour. Starting tomorrow, I’m on a Mac vacation until next week. I’m feeling a bit shakey already ;)

If you have specific questions about what the HP dv2 can and can’t do, leave a comment and I’ll try to address your questions as I post updates to the article.

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • zorkor June 16, 2009, 10:27 pm

    I Love HP computers. They really have came from making dull printers to pretty exciting Desktops, Laptops and Netbooks. They look way much better than Dell Products.

    I have also bought HP Pavilion TX2000 Tablet PC and its great. I am sure you will enjoy your vacation with this Pavilion.

    Have fun!

  • T June 17, 2009, 12:23 am

    Awesome write up Julie!

  • Fred June 17, 2009, 5:07 am

    The external drive, the battery and the screen bezel are black. I wonder if they were white with the Expresso Black model.

  • James Branch June 17, 2009, 5:26 am

    Great write up! I also love HP kit… got a few bits and pieces at work and I prefer them over Dell kit, if I have to be honest.

    The dv2 has a splendid hardware spec too…. the only thing that would put me off is Windows Vista. I tested Vista when it was first released and had the pleasure of using it full time as part of on-going testing at work and to be truthful, I hated it. It wasn’t because everything was ‘different’ compared to XP, it’s just that a lot of my software simply didn’t work as well as they did on XP. Some didn’t work at all!

    I’ve had a few discussions with IT colleagues in the past about Vista, some thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and others just said it’s simply rubbish! I will say there was slight improvement with Service Pack 1 but I didn’t keep Vista on my machine long enough to test Service Pack 2, as Windows 7 RC went on instead! I will however let you make your own decision! :)

    Anyway, do enjoy the dv2 Julie, it certainly looks an splendid piece of kit!

  • Julie June 17, 2009, 7:32 am

    @Fred Nope… The Espresso is all Black. You can see a picture on HP’s site.

  • Julie June 17, 2009, 7:34 am

    @James Today is the day I go cold turkey on my Macs. My hands are shaking already ;) As for Vista, From the short time I have used it, it has felt hard to navigate. I use XP all day long at my day job, so I know it’s just a learning curve. I’ve heard that Windows 7 is very nice – even from my Mac friends. I downloaded the RC, but haven’t installed it on anything yet.

  • Daniel McNutt June 17, 2009, 8:31 am

    Good luck Julie! I use both platforms daily and it isn’t too bad. I do prefer OSX at the end of the day (never tried Vista though).

  • Julie June 17, 2009, 8:48 am

    @Daniel Have you tried 7 yet?

  • Lloyd June 17, 2009, 10:49 am

    Looking forward to reading all about your week with the HP dv2 and Vista. My main computer is a dual-boot Windows 7/Vista right now but I prefer Mac OS all things considered. Hopefully I could afford a new Mac around the time Snow Leopard comes along since Leopard is the last release for PPC Macs like my PowerBook G4 12″.

  • Patrick June 17, 2009, 11:52 am

    I don’t think you’ll switch back to Windows if you try the with Vista. It’s not the hardware, it’s the OS. I down grade my system to XP after spending 9 months with Vista. I changed my laptop to Ubuntu recently and don’t think I will use Windows again soon. I tried the Windows 7 beta, nothing impressive

  • Tyler Puckett June 17, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Very interesting experiment. I have been burned by Apple twice now. I had an original MacBook with AppleCare extended warranty that had a bad LCD. Now I have a MacBook Pro that has a bad battery (less than an hour’s charge, even though the menu bar says it’s 82% full when it dies), and a bad LCD cable (it fritzes out when I adjust the angle). As President Bush says, “fool me once, uh, shame on you. Fool me twice….uh….uh….you can’t get fooled again.”

    I won’t be buying another Apple computer.

  • Justin June 17, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Windows 7, Windows 7, Windows 7! :-) I’m pulling for the HP machine, but I think it would have a better chance if you were to throw on the beta release of Win7. I have been an HP fan for a few years now but windows 7 will make a lot of vista users very happy.

  • Richard June 17, 2009, 2:35 pm

    You will be sad and sorry by the end. SAD and SORRY. I have to use PC’s at work now for some tasks and they are just not very nice to use.
    even simple tasks such as putting photo’s on the machine are hard.

    Plug in an ipod to a pc and you get all sorts of screens popping up. Mass starage device ect. I do not like windows because it ruins what are in every other way, very nicely design machines.

    PS.

    I know you can run windows on a Mac, can you run OSX on a windows machine?

  • Julie June 17, 2009, 2:38 pm

    @Justin I may very well try Windows 7 at some point, but right now I’ve been tasked with trying Vista with this notebook.

  • rajshaun June 17, 2009, 2:42 pm

    how does HD youtube videos handle on this and hd overall and can it multitask without crashing?

  • Cyrano June 17, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Having read dozens of reviews since the debut of the HP dv2, I am excited about following your experiment with it and Vista. My ‘at-home’ laptop is a large HP with XP, but since I’m on the road lots, I went looking for something light and portable. I was attracted by the looks of the dv2, bought it and found it impressive. All of the basics met my needs: the speed, the screen, the keyboard, video, etc. Even battery life was ok for me after updating the bios [per HP.com site] and tweaking power/brightness settings. Full disclosure: I NEVER play any games.
    Only 2 items wrinkled my brow: The Dv2 runs warm all the time, not too hot for me, but enough to make me wonder if the heat might have a long term effect on the hardware. And, related to heat, the fan is on a lot, but luckily it’s not noisy.
    Vista has taken getting used to, but has been surprisingly efficient and problem-free. No hang-ups, no headaches, no crashes—yet.
    HP announced an upgraded model just weeks after I bought mine, so I returned it to Costco and am awaiting the dv2z with the Turion dual-core processor.
    I will be looking forward to each day’s report. Good luck.

  • Daniel McNutt June 17, 2009, 10:33 pm

    @ Julie – I’ve heard good things about Windows 7, but we’re still working on XP at work. Thought the boss likes the latest software he was reluctant to take on Vista-no word of 7. Mac at home:)

  • Julie June 18, 2009, 7:28 am

    @Cyrano I’m seeing the same issues with this dv2 as far as the fan running ALL the time. It never turns off. It blows out warm air when all I’m doing is surfing. I’m used to my 2.5yr old Macbook Pro that is super quiet – the fan rarely runs (or I just can’t hear it) on it.

    @Daniel We’re supposed to get all new computers here at my day job next year and they were going to have Vista. Now there are rumors that they might have Windows 7.

  • James Branch June 18, 2009, 8:51 am

    A lot of companies (especially in the UK) continued using XP, as Vista just didn’t cut it as a corporate O.S. Like I say we tested it on a handful of PC’s (10 out of a possible 5,000) and decided against rolling it out, based on security and overall performance with drivers/software. Windows 7 looks to be the next roll out for our XP replacements next year, hopefully!

    Still, I hope you’re enjoying the dv2 Julie…. Vista or no Vista! :-D

  • Andy June 18, 2009, 7:28 pm

    Hope it works out well for you Julie…but.
    I’ve already had my fingers burnt with HP laptops…sorry, never again :(
    I bought six for work just over three years ago and all but one have failed (outside of warranty of course and beyond economic repair). It was an expensive mistake and has put me off. But, conversely, I swear by Hp printers – very reliable.

  • David June 19, 2009, 3:10 am

    I used XP until the New Year but then I bought a new Intel Quad Core 64 bit based computer and switched to Vista. I also have some computers using Windows 2003 and testing Windows 7 since January. But I installed Windows 7 RC to my notebook on April 26th.

    I have Ubuntu and Mac OS X Leopard on my VMware.

    My general thought is that Windows are more open. You have several junk applications for Windows and there are several drivers Windows have to support and users can do more on Windows. And this is the problem. The other two OS are more restrictive in what you can do and there is less junk applications that could make problems. And this is good because most people are like sheeps. They need a leader. They cannot decide what is good for them and their computer. So they make stupid things and this is why their Windows computer may not work properly.

    I think the best thing Microsoft would do is to make something like Ubuntu has regarding installing applications. An average user should not have the right to install everything on his computer. There should be a common installer where someone would just select what he/she would like to install and then the computer would do the rest by downloading the applications from the net. And an average user should not have the administrative rights. I think Mac OS is more for sheeps which is why it is more popular by the people who only use computers as a tool.

    But generally I think Windows Vista and especially Windows 7 are much much much better and especially user friendly than Mac OS X Leopard. There are some shortcuts that you have on Windows that Leopard simply doesn’t have. Like When you want to do something with your desktop you simply right click on a desktop and press Personalize.

  • jay June 19, 2009, 7:27 am

    hi Julie,
    I am on my second Hp laptop in the last 6 years and have had no complaints, currently i’m using a dv5 model so i’ll be especially interested to see which of the existing software you decide to remove from the dv2 and what you decide to install.

  • Brett Moses June 30, 2009, 3:08 am

    Hey, I was just curious the Vista benchmarks for your model of the DV2, to compare to my older model. I’m thinking a motherboard swap is in order if yours is a huge improvement in speed. Thank you!

  • Dan November 23, 2009, 7:41 pm

    My dv2z recently start making metal to metal noise from the fan area. Starting with short duration and now going into longer duration, when I tilt the laptop up and down with my finger under the front edge, I will go away momentarily. I think is a cheap/bad exhaust.

  • Randy January 4, 2010, 8:35 pm

    I think apple need s to worry about windows and Hp,Hp pc ‘s are far more attractive and have more innovations than a mac,Hp has created and innovated the light scribe technology.Apple PC’s and yes they are a PC are over priced and overated.I tried to sed one and couldnt get used to it’s plain features and almost nothing in features,to upgrade anything on a mac is almost impossible unless you want to pay triple for the mac upgrades themselves.Hp is an innovative and constant improving company with customer care that surpasses most and is in the same league as apple.Give credit where credit counts for Hp,and now with windows 7…apple is nothing but rotten and overpriced!

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