The newest 12-inch notebook from HP is no ordinary ultraportable. Featuring the new AMD Athlon Neo processor, the HP Pavilion dv2 promises to bridge the gap between low-performance netbooks and higher-priced ultraportable notebooks. This pint-sized powerhouse can handle 1080p HD content from a Blu-ray player or even get you to the next level of your favorite video game and is priced starting at just $699. But in a world full of $300 netbooks can the dv2 survive? We took a quick look at a pre-production sample of this notebook at CES and we're ready to tell you what we think.
The pre-production sample of the HP Pavilion dv2 that we used features the following specifications:
The pricing on the dv2 starts at $699. We don't have final pricing for other configurations to the time of this writing, but it's safe to say that any configuration with the dedicated graphics and external Blu-ray drive will cost more than $800. Regardless, this is a fabulous price point for students or anyone looking for an extremely mobile multimedia solution.
Build and Design
The dv2 has an all new ultrathin design weighing just 3.8 pounds that is made possible thanks to the new AMD Athlon Neo platform. The display lid has the durable plastic Imprint finish, which holds up quite well to minor abrasion without scratching. The body of the notebook is smooth with rounded edges, making it extremely comfortable in your hand while carrying it around. The screen also sports a latchless design, making it easy to open the notebook with one hand. Although the lid lacks any latch to keep it held shut, the hinges feel fairly strong, keeping the lid secure. Pressing firmly onto the back of the screen cover will produce some ripples on the screen ... but you must apply significant pressure to cause this.
The plastic chassis is quite rigid and suffers from no flex or creaks even when twisted between my hands. Granted, this is in large part due to the fact that the dv2 is less than one inch thick ... meaning there isn't much empty space inside the notebook to flex.
The pre-production sample of the dv2 that we used features the "Espresso" (black) Imprint Finish but HP will also offer the dv2 with the "Monlight" (white) Imprint Finish. All of our editorial staff generally likes HP's various Imprint Finishes, but they are glossy and tend to show fingerprint smudges quite easily.
Overall, the dv2 is something like a smaller version of the MacBook Air ... only this notebook has more ports and doesn't cost nearly as much.
The 12.1-inch diagonal HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800) is nice and provides considerably more viewable real-estate than the displays on netbooks. Detail is good, colors are rich with deep contrast, backlighting is even across the entire surface, and viewing angles are good. There is some color inversion when you view the screen from below.
Input and Output Ports
The dv2 has an impressive number of ports for such a small and thin notebook. Here's a run down of the ports:
While three USB ports might not sound like a lot, that's pretty good for an ultrathin 12-inch notebook. The really impressive port here is HDMI thanks to the ATI Radeon HD 3410 graphics. We would have liked to see at least one USB/eSATA combo port on this notebook, but given the price point that is something we can forgive.
The second important feature to consider with the dv2 is the optional external optical drive, available as either a DVD burner or a Blu-ray and DVD burner combo drive. Power and data are handled over a single USB connection so you only have to sacrifice a single USB port on the dv2 when the drive is connected.
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