HP dv2000t Review (pics, specs)

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HP dv2000t Review


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Overview and Introduction

HP’s dv2000t is the “next generation” of the aging dv1000 series.  Because of its 14.1″ widescreen LCD, 1″-1.5″ thickness, and 5.4 lbs, the dv2000t is portable and large enough to be used comfortably.  Even though the dv2000t is not built for gaming, it is a great solution for those who need everything in a portable system.

Here is the breakdown of my notebook’s configuration:

  • Processor: Intel Core Duo (Yonah) T2300E 1.66GHz
  • Screen: 14.1″ WXGA BrightView TFT LCD 1280×800
  • GFX Card: Intel GMA 950 (integrated, 128MB shared)
  • RAM: 1024MB DDR2 at 533MHz
  • HD size: 80GB 5400MHz
  • Disc drive: Super 8x DVD+/-RW with DL support
  • Wireless: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG w/ Bluetooth
  • OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Communication: Built-in 1.3 MP Webcam with 2 omnidirectional microphones
  • Ports:1 ExpressCard 54/34 Slot, 1 Firewire, 3 USB 2.0, TV-Out (S-video), IR (for remote control), Microphone in, 2 Headphone out (with one also as SPDIF Digital Audio), 1 RJ-45 (ethernet), 1 RJ-11 (modem), 1 Expansion Port 2 Connector, Light-up DC port for power supply

Reasons for Buying

For the past few months, I’ve been searching for a notebook that is small enough to carry in a backpack and sufficient for use as a desktop replacement.  I had briefly considered Dell’s Inspiron e1405/e1505 because of the popularity & low prices, but I quickly lost interest due to the poor construction and bulkiness after examining my friend’s e1505.  Later I saw the HP’s dv1000 (14.1″) and dv5000 (15.4″) series and was amazed by the sturdy build quality, so I decided to look into HP notebooks a little more.  Luckily, HP decided to release their dv2000 product line while I was on my search for the perfect notebook for college.  Blown away by the new glossy piano-like ebony finish and vast configuration options, I immediately ordered the dv2000t.

Where and How Purchased

I purchased the dv2000t directly off of HP’s website.  At the time of purchase there were no pre-configured models for this new series, so I had to configure my own specs (known as a CTO, or Configure-To-Order).  They offered free shipping for my order, but the building took weeks before I actually received the notebook.

I would like to point out that there are now numerous pre-configured models available from HP.  In fact, some models are already available at retail stores like Best Buy.  Later, I will discuss why it may be better to still go with a CTO online.

Build & Design

As mentioned before, the dv2000t sports a new glossy finish on the cover and inner faces of the notebook (it even comes with a gray cloth to wipe the glossy exterior!).  This thing really is quite a beauty compared to the dull square edges of the older dv1000/dv5000, but is very susceptible to fingerprints due to the glossy nature.  Overall, HP has done a great job designing an elegant notebook that is sure to get some attention.


HP dv2000t above view (view large image)

The notebook does not have a latch to hold it shut.  Instead, it “clicks” shut at the hinges like in MacBooks, and is surprisingly secure.  One thing I don’t like about the design, however, is that the screen only folds out to approximately 135 degrees; most other notebooks I’ve seen can fold out 180 degrees flat.


HP dv2000t screen fully extended (view large image)

The AC port also lights up when it is plugged in:


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Screen

Because there were no other options for the screen configuration, my dv2000t came equipped with a WXGA BrightView 1280×800 LCD.  When I first turned the notebook on, I was very surprised that the dv2000t’s screen was almost as bright as Sony’s XBRITE screens.  Along with the glossy screen, this notebook produced very crisp text and vibrant colors from movies.  In addition the screen had very little light leakage at the bottom only, allowing even brightness across the screen.

Although the resolution is only 1280×800, I found that if it were any higher the text would be too small and hard to read.  Still, I felt that the resolution provided plenty of room for most applications unless you’re doing high resolution image editing or something.

So you’re probably wondering why I said that “it may be better to go with a CTO” earlier.  After I got my notebook, I decided to check out the same notebook at several retail stores to see if they were all the same.  Unfortunately, the dv2000t I saw in retail stores had a significantly dimmer screen than my notebook’s.  I found out that the in-store models had screens manufactured by SEC; mine is from QDS.  My friend’s dv2000t CTO has a QDS screen too, so this may be something worth considering before purchasing.

At the top of the screen is the 1.3 MP Webcam:


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Speakers

The speakers are nothing spectacular.  They’re exactly what you would expect from notebooks: tinny and lacking in dynamics.  Some may argue that they’re “Altec Lansing” speakers, as if that’s supposed to make the speakers any better (or worse?) than it really is.  Luckily, the dv2000t comes with 1 microphone and 2 headphone 3.5mm jacks (one works as SPDIF too) in the front edge for you to use your own headphones / headset.

There’s a row of QuickPlay buttons right above the keyboard which allows direct controlling of back, play / pause, stop, forward, and volume within Windows XP.  The buttons are actually “touch sensitive”, which is a nice idea, but makes it difficult to operate.


QuickPlay buttons (view large image)

Processor and Performance

The Intel Core Duo T2300E 1.66GHz working with 1.0GB of DDR2 memory enables most applications to run in a snap on this laptop.  Although the dual core feature is useless for the average user, it is great for applications that utilize multi-threading.  The benchmark results below show how the dv2000t compares to other notebooks:

SuperPi:

Notebook

Time

HP dv2000t (1.66 GHz Core Duo)

1m 26s

Asus W3H760DD (2.0 GHz Pentium M)

1m 33s

Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 16s

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo)

1m 29s

Dell XPS M140 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 41s

Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 53s

IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)

1m 45s


HD Tune:


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Detailed PCMark2005 Results:

HDD — XP Startup

5.910 MB/s

Physics and 3D

68.785 fps

Transparent Windows

125.618 windows/s

3D — Pixel Shader

n/a

Web Page Rendering

1.828 pages/s

File Decryption

41.556 MB/s

Graphics Memory — 64 Lines

494.824 fps

HDD — General Usage

4.146 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 1 / Audio Compression

n/a

Multithreaded Test 1 / Video Encoding

n/a

Multithreaded Test 2 / Text Edit

89.118 pages/s

Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Decompression

19.943 MPixels/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / File Compression

6.069 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / File Encryption

16.135 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / HDD — Virus Scan

27.871 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 3 / Memory Latency — Random 16 MB

7.315 MAccesses/s


Heat and Noise

This notebook is extremely quiet under normal operations.  Besides the faint access noises from the hard drive, the DVD+/-RW drive is the only other part that is louder.  While I was typing papers and surfing the internet, there was almost no noise at all aside from the occasional fan and hard drive use.

For the most part, the heat is nothing unbearable.  The only heat you’ll ever notice is beneath the left palm area, which is where the hard drive is located.  Even then, it is only warm to the touch and isn’t really uncomfortable.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard has a very solid feel and does not clatter if you run your hands over it.  Although I’ve always used a desktop keyboard, I had no trouble getting used to the dv2000t’s keys.  My only complaint is that the keys to the right of the spacebar are slightly shifted to the left in order to squeeze in the arrow keys, but this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re not keyboard-shortcut savvy like me.

Because the entire computer is pretty much glossy, why not make the touchpad glossy too?  Yes, it’s glossy.  And yes, it makes it harder to slide your finger on it.  However, I got used to it pretty quickly and it didn’t seem that much of a nuisance anymore.  The mouse buttons feel rather flimsy and don’t give you a solid “click”, but you get used to that too.  Another feature on the touchpad is an on/off button, in case you want to use an external mouse.  Unfortunately, the button is rather small and difficult to press.  The touchpad isn’t as bad as I make it sound though, really!


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Input and Output Ports

The dv2000t offers a plethora of ports throughout the notebook.  Because all the ports are on the left, front, and right sides (none on the back), they are very easy to access.


Front side view of dv2000t (view large image)


Back side view of dv2000t (view large image)


Right side view of dv2000t (view large image)


Left side view of dv2000t (view large image)

Wireless

Setting up my notebook with my wireless router was quite effortless.  I get good signal strength throughout my house when used with my Linksys wireless-G router.  I also chose the Bluetooth option, which lets me connect my PDA/cellphone to my notebook.  There’s also a sliding wireless on/off switch on the front to let you save battery life.

Battery

While configuring my dv2000t, I had the option of choosing either a 6-cell battery or a 12-cell battery.  I decided to go with the 6-cell battery because the 12-cell sticks out on the bottom (not at the back like Dell’s larger batteries).  HP claims that you can get up to 4 hours from 6-cell batteries.  However, the battery life with my 6-cell was rather disappointing.

I timed the battery life under different conditions (H:MM):

  • Wireless OFF; Lowest brightness; Word Processing only: 3:05
  • Wireless ON; Lowest brightness; Chatting only: 2:30

(Results may vary for you, since other factors like the number of background processes may affect your battery life.)

I really hoped that it would at least hit the 4 hour mark like MacBooks can, but it apparently fell short of my expectations.

Operating System and Software

You have the option to pick either Win XP Home or Win XP Pro while configuring your notebook.  I chose Home because I believe most extra features in Pro are quite useless for most people.

As expected, my notebook came preloaded with a bunch of junk applications and trial-ware.  A 20-minute run-through in Add & Remove Programs should free up a lot of space on your computer.  I’ve heard of people formatting their dv2000t and installing their own copy of Win XP, but I don’t recommend it because of potential driver issues.

Customer Support

My experience with HP’s customer support has been fantastic so far.  When I had trouble burning the 3-DVD (or 15 CD) recovery disc set, they promptly replied with an email in less than an hour and said that they would ship out a set to me.  The downside is that the dv2000t comes with only a 1-year limited warranty, but you can always purchase an extended warranty.

Conclusion

To reiterate, the HP dv2000t is a lightweight but powerful machine that’s perfect for college or home/office use.  Although it lacks in gaming performance for post-2004 3D games, it is a great solution for people who only do office work, listen to music, watch movies, etc.  The webcam option makes the notebook great for Skype or MSN video chatting with its decent 1.3 Megapixel camera and 2 omni-directional microphones integrated above the screen.  Aside from the cheap mouse buttons and glossy touchpad, the notebook feels very solid throughout.  The 14.1″ BrightView widescreen 1280×800 LCD and full size alphanumerical keys makes it comfortable for long-term typing and viewing.

Pros:

  • Clear and vibrant colors on widescreen LCD
  • Full-size buttons on keyboard
  • Plenty of ports
  • Lightweight and small; Can fit in most backpacks
  • Lots of configuration options
  • 1.3 MP Webcam
  • 2 headphone jacks
  • Very quiet
  • Good wireless connectivity
  • Good build quality
  • QuickPlay software to play DVD/CD/music without booting WinXP

Cons:

  • Sub-par battery life
  • Cheap mouse buttons
  • Glossy touchpad
  • Difficult to use QuickPlay buttons
  • Prone to fingerprints
  • Weak graphics processor
  • Cheap built-in speakers


(Note that if you find the 14.1″ size to be too small but like this notebook’s style, you can go for the dv6000 (15.4″) or dv9000 (17.0″) series that are all similar in build & design.)

If you’re interested in this notebook, there are some other accessories / configurations that I do not have but are worth considering:

  • dv2000z series (based on AMD cpu’s) (click here to se see dv2000z Review)
  • Upgrade to Geforce 7200 Go (6150 for dv2000z; both have 128MB dedicated)
  • HP Media Remote Control (I find this to be useless)
  • 12-cell battery (if you don’t mind the extra bulge and weight)


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