by Mitch Gates
The following is intended to be a subjective comparison of the HP DV1000 and Compaq V2000. It is not meant as a through review of either model, but instead will focus of the differences between these two models. My methods of testing were not scientific by any stretch of the imagination, and my personal opinions played a large part in the resulting article.
Compaq v2000 on top and HP dv1000 on bottom (view larger image)
Recently I decided to purchase my first laptop. I’ve been using computers for about 15 years, work in the computer animation industry and have always insisted on having at least one high powered desktop machine for use at home. I have always resisted owning a notebook for various reasons, but the temptation of being able to pare down my home office to a single desktop and having a computer I can travel with finally became too great and my endeavor began.
The major usage of this notebook would be for web-browsing, word processing, email, dvd viewing, listening to mp3’s and transfer/editing of images from a digital camera. I also wanted enough memory to be able to comfortably run Discreet 3ds Max. Since this software runs acceptably without any 3d acceleration and I didn’t plan to do serious gaming on this machine, a high-end graphics chipset was not as important as portability and price.
My requirements for a notebook were as follows, in order of importance:
1. Ability to run WinXP
2. Small and lightweight. Ideally 5lbs or less
3. DVD playback
4. 1gb of ram or 1×512 to allow easy upgrade
5. Good battery life
6. Attractive appearance
7. Under $1600
After about a week of online research I narrowed my choices down to the HP DV1000 and Compaq V2000. I really liked the look of the V2000, but the added Quickplay feature and remote on the DV1000 sounded very useful. Neither of these models were available in retail stores at the time, making a side-by-side comparison impossible. Considering my wife was also in need of a notebook for school, I decided the best thing to do was order one of each. This way I could do a very in-depth comparison of the two and make an educated decision on if I should keep either one or both.
I ordered them on HP Shopping website as custom configured machines. Both units shared these features in common:
- 1.8ghz M Processor
- 80gb 5400rpm HD
- CDRW/DVD-ROM combo drive
- Brightview Option
- Intel 2200 b/g wireless w Bluetooth
- 6 cell battery
There were two small differences in their configurations. The DV1000 has 512mb ram (512×1) and the V2000 came with 1gb (512×2). The reason for this is that when I ordered the V2000 a few days later the 512×1 option had been removed. Also, the DV1000 came with XP Pro while the V2000 is running XP Home. This was because my wife didn’t need the extra network features of Pro. Even with these differences, the price of each came within $15 of being the same.
The common opinion of these machines on all the various notebook forums was that they are essentially the same machine, with the exception of the Quickplay feature, remote control and cosmetic differences. Once both units arrived I quickly discovered that although this is basically the truth, there are MANY differences between the two that might be overlooked without a side-by-side comparison. I will outline these differences in the remainder of this review.
Enclosure, Construction and Appearance
One of the first things I noticed about the DV1000 was that it was a little nicer looking than I expected from seeing online photographs. Although I still prefer the silver “powerbook” interior of the V2000, the DV1000 is no toad. The outside of the DV1000 is a nice painted silver (not the bluish-silver others have suspected based on some HP products). The inside and keyboard is a mix of textured matte black plastic and a smooth polished black for certain trim sections. The V2000 is practically the inverse of this scheme with a textured black plastic outer shell and painted silver interior. Some users have complained that the exterior of the DV1000 scratches easily since it’s painted. This might be one reason to give a point to the plastic outer shell on the V2000. However, on the flipside, the reverse might end up happening…where the interior silver finish begins to wear on the V2000. There is evidence of this yet on mine, but I have noticed that other silver Compaq notebooks on display at retail stores sometimes show areas of worn-off paint around the touchpad and thumb-buttons. Also, as others have stated, the black outer shell of the V2000 does pick up fingerprints VERY easily. However, they easily clean off with a cloth and mild cleaner. Another aspect I like of the V2000 is the more modern and minimal design qualities.
Front view shot of HP dv1000 on left, Compaq v2000 on right — you’ll clearly notice the mirror like quality of the screen with the Bright View LCD! (view larger image)
The DV1000 is a bit “busy” with all of its white text to describe every button, port and feature. A good example is the large “Widescreen” text above the lcd. The V2000 designates this feature in with much more understated text along the upper left monitor trim. The HP also features blue back-lighting for the media control, power and wireless buttons (situated just above the keyboard). These look ok, and do help when using the unit in the dark. However, I could take or leave them from an appearance perspective. The Compaq has some basic backlighting on the volume, power and wireless buttons (also above the keyboard). However, they illuminate via a clear icon stencil and are much less overwhelming. All buttons and front panel indicators glow orange, with the exception of “wireless” which is blue. One quick note on the DV1000…the power button is actually silver in color and NOT white as some have reported. It does appear white in photographs, but in reality it is light metallic silver.
Each has a weak spot in their otherwise solid construction. For the DV1000 it’s the fact that when the lid is closed, the latch does not hold the lid completely tight or flush. When closed there is some “wiggle” room…a gap of about 1/8th inch that you can feel if you press down or clasp the notebook to carry it. On the V2000 I’ve noticed that when you grab the lid to adjust monitor tilt while the unit is on, the lcd screen distorts a bit. It’s as if the construction of the lid is not sufficiently reinforced.
Size and Weight
Both units are pretty much the same size and weight. The V2000 is about 1/8th inch less deep and about 3oz lighter, but is slightly thicker than the DV1000 by a tiny margin. Judging how close they are in size and weight, I would not consider it a factor in trying to decide between the two. Both are very portable and feel quite comfortable when sitting on my lap or being carried in my shoulder bag.
Battery and AC Adapter
The 6 cell battery and AC adapter for both are identical. The battery snaps-on flush with the bottom shell of both units. I have not done extensive battery life testing to determine which one (if either) eeks out more usage from a single charge. During normal usage they seem to be generally about the same in that respect.
Keyboard and Touchpad
This is one area where the two units show some major differences. The keyboard on the DV1000 is overall softer and quieter than the V2000. Its keys are smooth, yet responsive and have a very high-quality feel. The V2000 on the other hand is noticeably more “clicky”, making an audible click each time you depress a key. The sound is NOT really that loud, especially compared with some IBM keyboards I have used…but it is noisy compared to the DV1000. I prefer the keyboard of the HP far and away over the Compaq, but such things are highly subjective. The Compaq keyboard seems nice enough, and I could live with it if need be. The touchpads and thumb-buttons exhibited similar differences. The pad of the DV1000 is slightly textured, and features a vertical scroll zone. That of the V2000 is much smoother and has both a vertical and horizontal zone. The buttons of the DV1000 are textured plastic and have a very smooth yet responsive click, while those of the V2000 are rubberize with a much louder and stiffer click. Overall I prefer the smoother feel of the V2000’s pad, but like the buttons on the DV1000 much better. The buttons on the V2000 are too loud in my opinion.
HP dv1000 Keyboard (view larger image)
Compaq v2000 Keyboard (view larger image)
Display and Graphics
I ordered both units with the “Brightview” option which is supposed to enhance color and contrast. This coating does indeed make the screen quite reflective, it’s not so bad in most viewing situations. I have read enough user reports on Brightview to convince me it does indeed increase color and contrast enough to justify the added glare. Even though one would assume both models share the same lcd panel, I have serious doubt that this is the case. The monitors exhibit surprising differences in regards to brightness and contrast, as well as viewing angle behavior. At first glance, the DV1000 appeared to have far better contrast than the V2000. The V2000 appears a little dull by comparison, and lacks some of the overall range in intensity of the DV1000. Even after trying to adjust the “Graphics Properties” of both units (initial comparison was done with default settings), I could not get them to come close to matching.
Compaq v2000 Screen angle shots (view larger image)
However, what at first seemed like a major victory for the HP turned into one of its weakest aspects. Once I started examining DVD movies and photographic images I found that the DV1000 exhibits some very annoying viewing angle behavior. When viewing such content, the lcd suffers from the dreaded “inverse color” effect in dark areas at VERY narrow angles. The problem overall seems to be that unless you view the screen from slightly ABOVE you will get this effect. If you tilt the screen to where it is perfectly parallel to your viewing angle, the inverse colors start to appear in the upper corners of the screen. If you tilt the monitor back even just a few degrees, this effect can be seen on the entire area of the monitor. It only gets worse as you increase the vertical viewing angle. Strangely enough, the horizontal angle penalty is much more forgiving as long as you view slightly from above center. The V2000 does not seem to be nearly as sensitive to vertical viewing angles, but I’m not sure if this may be due to it’s overall less contrasting display. All things considered, I would be able to live with the V2000’s slightly less impressive image quality over the DV1000’s annoying viewing angle limitations. Both monitors seem quite crisp in regards to text, etc. No complaints on either one there.
HP dv1000 Screen angle shots (view larger image)
Speakers and Audio
Both units have very good speakers when compared to most notebooks on the market. The DV1000 sports Harmon Kardons, while the V2000 comes with JBL speakers. After some brief and very un-scientific comparison of various music cds and dvd titles, I would have to give the edge to the DV1000 speakers. They seem to have a bit more range and clarity, and it seems like the slight upward angle at which they are mounted does indeed improve delivery of sound. Also, the HP has two headphone jacks which could prove quite handy when traveling with a companion.
Ports and Expansion
Aside from the extra headphone jack on the DV1000, these two units have virtually the same I/O features…even down to the placement of all 3 USB ports. Both have the same accessibility to memory and hd via user serviceable panels on their underside.
Heat and Noise
Overall, both units seem to have very low noise and heat levels during normal operation. The V2000’s optical drive does seem noticeably louder when it spins up. The one on the DV1000 is almost whisper-quiet by comparison. Neither unit’s fan seems to kick in during normal usage…only when viewing DVDs. Both seem to have relatively quiet fans. On the subject of heat, I have found the V2000 to get a bit warmer under normal usage. The DV1000 barely gets warm at all after over an hour of use, but after the same amount of time the V2000 is noticeably warmer. It isn’t so bad that you can’t leave it on your lap.
On the subject of noise I would like to point out another strange observation about the DV1000. After about 3 days of use, it started to exhibit a faint yet annoying high-pitched squeal. I can only describe it as a high-frequency, electronic “buzz”. It’s not related to the use of the optical drive, and turning off wireless has no effect. It come and goes, and is not terribly loud…but it is enough to be quite annoying while in a quiet room. The V2000 does not do this (yet).
Bells and Whistles
Feature-wise, the DV1000 and V2000 are pretty much the same animal. However, there are two notable exceptions…Quickplay and the remote control. I won’t go too deep into either one of these since that’s covered in my full review of the DV1000 here on notebookreview.com. In the context of this comparison I must say both Quickplay and the remote are cool enough to seriously consider the DV1000 over the V2000. Quickplay seems to be an extremely useful feature, especially when viewing DVDs on the road. I’ve determined the time from first hitting the “dvd” button when the unit is off to viewing a movie is approximately 20 seconds. Pretty impressive when compared with the roughly 60 seconds needed to boot into XP and launch playback software. The usefulness of mp3 playback feature is a bit more questionable considering its limited feature set compared with iTunes or Winamp. The handy remote, which stores away in the pc card slot, is very useful and has pretty much every control needed for multimedia use. It seems to have a very good range (at least 15ft) and can even power the unit on/off.
Curse of the Clock!!!
It appears my DV1000 arrived with a defective CMOS clock. After a few days of use I noticed that every time I cycled power the system time would be back to where I last manually set it. Upon further investigation I discovered that the time in the BIOS does not count up….but instead just sits there. After contacting HP support, I flashed my BIOS as their suggestion. No improvement. Next I was told it needs to be returned for repair (possibly a faulty CMOS battery). Needless to say, I wasn’t to happy about the prospect of having a brand new notebook serviced.
I feel that both of these models fit the bill for anyone looking for a lightweight and portable notebook computer. Of course, this opinion is assuming the products arrive without any defects (which wasn’t the case for the DV1000). If not for the stuck clock and weird viewing angle problem, I would easily pick the DV1000 over the V2000. I really like the extra media playback and remote features, as well as the feel of the keyboard when typing. However, due to the aforementioned issues I ended up returning it and keeping the V2000 instead. When I contacted HP they offered to build send me a brand new one in exchange for the defective unit, but I was afraid I would probably get another with the same lcd issues.
I hope this comparison will help some of those out there trying to decide between these two units. I feel that either one would be great choice for someone who needs a portable and full featured notebook but doesn’t need to play the latest games. I have found HP’s support and customer service to be surprisingly good, especially in respect to their return policy.
Pricing and Availability