The HP Pavilion dv2 is a HOT notebook

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I’m a few days into my Mac vacation and so far I’ve only broke the rules once… I used my Mac / Photoshop to work up the images in this article. Gimp is nice, but I’ve been unable to figure out how to save jpgs at lower resolutions while having them still look crisp. Other than that little discretion, I’ve been true to the experiment and am using the HP Pavilion dv2 notebook as my main computer while I’m here at home.

In the last two days, I’ve noticed two things. First, I love the size of this device and second, this laptop is hot – but not in a good way.

I’ve had the opportunity to review two different netbooks so far. First it was the MSI Wind and then we did a team review of the HP mini 1000. The netbook form factor is great for travel. It fits easily into a gear bag and typically weighs less than 3 pounds. Perfect for portability.

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The HP Pavilion dv2 has great portability too. It’s larger than a netbook (the image above is the HP mini 1000 sitting on top of the dv2), but I think I’m actually liking this intermediate size considerably more.

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The dv2 with the 6 cell high capacity battery weighs in at close to 4lbs on my digital scale…

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While the HP mini 1000 netbook is 2.5lbs. Yes, the dv2 weighs more, but I what I like better about it, is the large 12.1 inch display that has a max resolution of 1280 x 800 and the larger keyboard. It’s much more comfortable to use for any extended period of time or for use as a main computer.

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The display does have a glossy screen, which may be a problem for some people. I’ve been finding that I’ve had some issues with it reflecting my 3 bulb ceiling lap. To remedy the situation, I have the screen angle open to the maximum angle and have also propped up the front with a package of chewing gum ;) The chewing gum package wedge would not have been needed if the screen could open just a little farther. I had a similar complaint with the HP mini 1000’s max screen angle…

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I have had no issues with the keyboard on the dv2. It’s nice and spacious, with a layout that does not cause me to press the wrong keys. The keyboard itself is very quiet and the keys are slick feeling and flat on top.

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The mirrored finish touch pad works well, including the scroll bar on the Right side. The only ‘problem’ that the touch pad has, is that it shows fingerprints and smears. Other than that, the surface is very slick, making it easy to move your cursor quickly. I like that I can hold my finger tip at the top or bottom of the scroll bar to have it automatically continue scrolling down the page.

I’ve not had any usability issues yet with this computer. Granted, I’ve been doing almost all my work in the browser (I installed Firefox). So far the only applications that I’ve installed are GIMP, Tweetdeck, Blu, Firefox and Miranda. GIMP has worked fine except for the fact that I don’t have the settings configured correctly for saving jpgs. I tried the Blu twitter client, but it would not log me in (I need to try it again), so I went with Tweetdeck, which I have used on my Macs. For the browser, I had to go with Firefox because I have certain plugins that I like to use. For instant messaging, I ended up just using meebo, since I use it during the day at work and am very comfortable with it.

The main complaint that I have so far with the dv2 is that it runs way too hot for my liking.

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The fan runs continuously. It even runs when the notebook is idling. The fan blows hot air out the vents on the Left front side of the device. I used an IR thermometer to check the temps. The highest I’ve seen so far is 119 degrees. I’ve just been checking it periodically all day today and it’s averaging around 112 – 114 degrees. I have found that the fan will increase in speed when I watch a video through YouTube or open a couple tabs in Firefox that are both loading pages.

The continous fan annoys me because I have a thing for noise and have been spoiled by my Macbook Pro, which is virtually silent. Even the fan on my iMac is quieter than the fan on the dv2. I’m curious how warm this laptop would run with Windows 7, XP or Ubuntu…

Ok, that’s it for today. I have plans to do a bunch of couch surfing this weekend to see if the dv2’s 6 cell hi-cap battery really does last for 4.5hrs. I also want to hook the dv2 up to my 65″ RPTV via HDMI and check out a Blu-ray DVD.

{ 28 comments… add one }

  • Jake June 19, 2009, 3:48 pm

    the fan on my laptop is on nearly on all the time. and PAH i can trumph your weedy 119 degrees f temp I have hit 120 degrees CENTIGRADE!!!!

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  • Daniel McNutt June 19, 2009, 5:47 pm

    My brother-in-law had an HP 17 incher that sported a Pentium 4 if I recall correctly. That fan was annoying you could hear it in the other room. In my quest for a netbook one store agent pointed me to this laptop as a decent fit between netbook small and full sized-function laptop. Aren’t these are going for about $700?

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  • Julie June 19, 2009, 8:34 pm

    @Daniel One configured like the one sent to me goes for about 1k… pricey.

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  • Cameron June 19, 2009, 8:54 pm

    My last HP laptop (I’m a Mac guy now) was one of those Pentium 4 “Desktop In a Laptop” things. It also was scorchingly hot, and the fan was indeed loud. (I’m hearing impaired, so if I can hear it, I KNOW it’s loud). At the end of its life the windows and other associated stickers on the bottom had literally been browned. (All of this was on XP, if it matters, but again it WAS a P4 in a Laptop)

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  • jose June 20, 2009, 12:45 am

    @ Jake how do you get a computer that hot?

    PC fan noise V.S. mac mouses inability to right click well. I’d go for PC fan niose unless watching videos with low sound.

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  • jake June 20, 2009, 7:23 am

    by playing gta sn andreas for 3 hours where the CPU ran at 100% the whole time I could feel the heat through the keyboard

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  • Dennis Siegfried June 20, 2009, 9:30 am

    The fan noise and heat are part of the reason that I have gone Asus for all my computing needs. I have found that the fans are rediculously quiet on the laptops even running full bore. Also, with the new HE1000 netbook, you get multi-touch mouse pad with a right click (Love you Asus)!!

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  • Mark Adkins June 20, 2009, 6:28 pm

    Julie- as for resizing .jpgs, I find that the little program paint.NET does a nice job, and is also free.

    http://paint.net/

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  • zorkor June 21, 2009, 12:34 am

    @Dennis Siegfried

    ASUS??!! that brand has the worse reliability rating among laptop manufactures. I always recommend potential buyers to stay away from Asus and Acer. The have the most cheapy plasticky feel and not worth your money.

    Toshiba , HP and Dell are much better built though I dont know about the heating problems mentioned by the author.

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  • Julie June 21, 2009, 4:04 pm

    @Jake You can feel warmth through the palm rest area on the dv2 by just surfing…

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  • TC June 21, 2009, 7:12 pm

    Regarding the heat issue, try flashing to the latest BIOS (sp43709.exe) . I have the dv2 and was ready to take it back when I found that this might solve the heat issue. It cooled it down immensely.
    You can also go into the BIOS on startup and deselect the continuous fan setting.
    Since I’ve done these it runs cooler and quieter.
    Hope this helps.

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  • Julie June 22, 2009, 8:49 am

    @TC Thank you for the tips/advice. I’ll try both tonight!

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  • Tyler - Building Camelotq June 23, 2009, 11:16 am

    I don’t like how it stays hot for so long and I’ll bet that the batter life could be better if the fan didn’t have to run all the time.

    I’m with you, I can’t wait to connect mine to my Vizio and watch a Blu-Ray movie.

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  • kave June 29, 2009, 1:41 pm

    @TC Turning off the continuous fan doesn’t sound like a smart idea. If you’re complaining about heat issues the last thing you want to do is turn the fan off and keep all the heat in the chasis.

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  • Julie June 29, 2009, 2:44 pm

    @Kave The average temperature seems to be a few degrees cooler since the BIOS update. Now the fan kicks on when it needs to, instead of running all the time non-stop.

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  • TC June 30, 2009, 2:28 pm

    @Julie I’ve also found a way to help battery life is to disable the hp camera and realtek connection when not using.
    Hope you enjoyed your week without your Mac, and I’m sure you’re happy to be back using it.

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  • Julie June 30, 2009, 4:32 pm

    @TC Thanks for the tips! I need to write a conclusion to the article very soon :)

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  • Avid July 2, 2009, 9:08 pm

    Hey guys. The best gaming ability I’ve seen in a notebook. Been waiting for so long for this tiny book which plays games at ease.

    Thought of getting the Asus N10J for playing GTA 4, as I saw a video of the GTA 4 gameplay at a minimum fps of 10 and maximum fps of 22 at the lowest detail setting but overclocked to 2.1 GHz. Seems to run fine, but not sure whether the fps will decrease when more number of cops are chasing you around…

    I heard that GTA 4 can be played on this machine (HP dv2-1003ax) with medium settings and lower resolutions.
    Now all I want to know is if it can play GTA 4 at the lowest setting with the resolution of atleast a resolution of 1024 x 768….
    Would be great if it can play that….
    If GTA 4 can be played, great!
    We can be sure that it can handle similar games with ease as GTA 4 is a very CPU intensive game as well..
    Please do post the ‘fps’ if possible.
    And do comment whether the Asus N10J is better for gaming?
    Seriously the smaller form factor and the gaming ability are the advantages.
    Thanks.
    :)

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  • Cyrano July 8, 2009, 4:51 pm

    Like TC, I found the BIOS update (sp 43709.exe, 5/09) helped with the heat, the fan & extended battery life by about 30 min.
    Re heat: the palm rest never gets hot now and the fan works less often. Something else that may be helping: I’m using “Laptop Legs” (a product Julie featured recently)which allows more air circulation under the dv2.
    Things I’m loving about my dv2z are the speed, the bright screen, the sharp graphics and the skinny profile. Now, if I could just find the perfect case….
    Julie: still hoping to learn how the rest of your week went wih the dv2.

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  • Ekstor July 15, 2009, 4:23 pm

    Hey Julie, it looks like you’ve had just about a month now with the DV2… would love to hear what your final verdict is on this machine.

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  • Julie July 15, 2009, 4:58 pm

    @Ekstor Yes, I know I’ve been tardy in posting my wrapup article. Look for it in the next few days :) I promise.

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  • Bostki July 15, 2009, 9:31 pm

    There is a new BIOS update, sp44196.exe , released on 7-7-09. The udpates are:” Enhancements: Enables a graphic power management function to improve battery life. Improves system stability. ” Hopefully this will make the battery last even longer.

    I have ordered the dv2z and it is due to ship 7-20-09. I can’t wait to get it.

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  • Ekstor July 16, 2009, 4:44 pm

    Thanks Julie… not trying to pressure you! ;) I have great respect for your site (I was a contributing editor with Mr Dunn and PPCT myself for about a year)… you’re just one of the very few people to have written a review on the DV2 with the dual-core CPU. I’m actually pretty close to just buying this thing outright.

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  • Cyrano July 24, 2009, 11:56 pm

    JULIE – Still hoping to read your final thoughts and conclusions after your week with the HP dv2. Thanks.

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  • Julie July 25, 2009, 11:38 am

    @Cyrano I’m working on the wrap up today. Will post it this weekend. :)

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  • Cyrano July 26, 2009, 6:19 pm

    That’s good to hear, Julie…Thanks.

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  • ClaireyGG February 24, 2010, 12:33 pm

    Hey guys,

    Can someone please walk me through the BIOS thing to cool the computer down? I just got the DV2 and feel like sending it back already – it’s been making a whirring fan noise for the last 40 minutes NON STOP and I know I will not be able to concentrate on anything if that noise continues!

    Many thanks

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  • JT August 25, 2010, 8:18 am

    ClaireyGG : Go to HP website and download the latest bios updates for your windows version for your DV2. That it’s rather auto, just flash BIOS !!!! Hp is great with their updates and making it so easy for home-user.

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