HP dv5000z Review (pics, specs)

by ZaZ Reads (70,658)

HP dv5000z Notebook Overview

The dv5000z is a 15.4″ WXGA configurable notebook from HP.  It is intended to replace the AMD Athlon based Pavilion zv6000. The dv5000z can be configured with either the AMD Mobile Sempron or Turion ML CPU at a starting price of $699 at HPShopping.com. There are also pre-configured models sold at retailers like Best Buy or Circuit City. With a base price of $699, the dv5000z falls into the budget end of the notebook spectrum, but if you configure the dv5000z with higher end components it can become a power notebook.  It has lots of good and a few bad attributes which we will get into in this review. If you are more of a Compaq fan you can consider the V5000z which is basically the same notebook as the dv5000z with a different color setup and logo.

HP dv5000z top view (view larger image)

Front view of dv5000z (view larger image)

Specs of dv5000z Notebook Being Reviewed:

These are the specs of the dv5000z notebook under review. Since it is a CTO (configure to order) notebook on HP.com, specs can vary greatly.

  • Model: dv5099
  • CPU: AMD Mobile Sempron 3300+ 25W
  • Memory: 512MB PC3200 1 DIMM, 128MB Allocated for Video Memory, 2GB Max
  • Hard Drive: 80GB Toshiba 4200RPM(MK8025GAS) PATA
  • Motherboard: Hewlett-Packard 30AE
  • Screen: 15.4″ WXGA 1200×800 Matte
  • Optical Drive: Toshiba-Samsung TS-L532R 8x DVD-/+RW
    • 8x DVD-/+R
    • 4x DVD-/+RW
    • 2.4x DVD+R DL
    • 24x CD-R
    • 24x CD-RW
  • GPU: ATI Xpress 200m
  • Wireless: None built-in
  • Inputs: 86 Key Keyboard, Two Button Touchpad with Left Side Scroll Device
  • Buttons: Two QuickLaunch Buttons for WinDVD and QucikTime, Power, Volume Up and Down, and Mute
  • Ports:
    • 2 USB 2.0
    • Ethernet
    • Modem
    • VGA
    • S-Video
    • Microphone
    • Headphone
    • Port Connector
    • IR Port
    • AC Connector
    • Security Lock
  • Slots: ExpressCard Slot
  • Battery: Six Cell
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 10.4″
    • Width: 14.1″
    • Height: 1.38″ or 1.77″ with the 12 Cell Battery
  • Weight 6.6 lbs. or 7.1 lbs. with the 12 Cell Battery
  • Operating System: Windows XP Home
  • Warranty: One Year
  • Price: $884 After $50 Rebate as configured on HP.com. This is a pre-configured model so prices may vary.

Competition

HP and now Fujitsu are the only larger makers offering customizable AMD notebooks, so there is not a lot of direct competition, but when you consider all the 15″ notebooks on the market, there are lots of choices. I included some more expensive models like the Asus and Fujitsu because when the HP is fully customized it is close in price.

Build and Design

I think the dv5000z has a handsome look. It comes in a two tone color scheme, the lid and sides are silver while the inside is mostly black. The black coloring also goes over the front to cover the speakers. On the left front there are power, hard drive and WiFi indicators. It also has the IR port located there. The screen latch is located on the front center of the lid. The dv5000z has a silver touchpad and silver system buttons along the top near the screen. The bottom of the notebook is silver in the front and black in the back. On the top of the screen it says “Widescreen” (in case you forgot you bought a widescreen notebook).

The dv5000z case is made of a sturdy feeling plastic, including the lid. When pressing on the lid, there were noticeable ripples in the screen which may cause some concern for long term use, but it is a budget notebook so one cannot expect a metal reinforced lid like you’ll get in much more expensive notebooks. The plastic on the lid is the type that can be prone to getting easily scratched, so a notebook sleeve for protection is recommended.

The screen can be unlatched and opened using one hand — though not easily. In the open position the screen had a slight wiggle if touched with enough force, but in use the screen is sturdy and won’t wobble due to force exerted by typing. There are no brownie points for rugged metal hinges such as a ThinkPad has, but again that’s not a feature you’ll see with a sub $1,000 notebook. Overall the dv5000z feels sturdy, though there is a hint of creaking when the notebook is picked up by the side, but certainly not as much as some other notebooks I have handled.

Keyboard & Touchpad

HP dv5000z keyboard and touchpad (view larger image)

The keyboard on the dv5000z is very good and one of its better features. The keyboard is full size — it has 86 keys. The keyboard is very firm, unlike some rather sponge like budget notebooks I have seen lately. I type on a ThinkPad so I know from where I speak. There was a touch of flex when typing, but mostly the keyboard is solid. Key travel is good and the feel of typing is first-rate.

The keyboard is surrounded by a shiny black plastic accent piece that houses the power, volume and quick launch buttons. This plastic surrounding is quite flimsy, it sank noticeably when pressing any of the buttons located on it.

The touchpad is average — nothing about it stands out. It is rectangular and located on center beneath the keyboard. On the right side of the touchpad is a scroll device that worked fairly well in my experience. Every so often the scroll mechanism did not want to work for some reason, but if you lifted your finger and tried again a time or two it started to work again. The downside to the touchpad was the associated mouse buttons. They felt clicky and are noisy. When I stayed towards the center of the mouse buttons, the noise was less pronounced. Clicky mouse buttons are one thing I’m very aware of when using a notebook so I acknowledge this characteristic may bother me more than it does others. One nice feature of the keyboard area was that the ports were clearly marked along the edge. Since notebook I got did not have a WiFi card, I was frequently switching my USB wireless adapter between my desktop and the notebook. The clear marking made it so I could connect the adapter without having strain my neck down to look to see where the port was located.

Screen

Viewing a movie on the dv5000z screen (view larger image)

The screen on the dv5000z is WXGA with a resolution of 1200×800. Widescreen vs. Standard isn’t a problem for me as I tend to be a one thing at a time person. The dv5000z under review has the matte screen which is fine with me since I am not a fan of the glossy screens. There is a BrightView (HP’s glossy screen) version of the screen available for configuration on the dv5000z. The screen was clear and bright, in fact it was almost too bright as I had to turn it down a bit to get comfortable. There are 10 different brightness levels. The brightness level can be adjusted using the Fn + F7 or F8 to decrease or increase the level of brightness. I felt anything at three or up to eight was good. For everyday use I think the screen is good. The only issue I had with it was when watching movies it lacked crispness and seemed a bit washed out. If your primary interest is watching DVDs, I think the BrightView screen is worth the investment as it will help provide better color contrast and boldness. There was a little bit of light leakage on the left side of the screen. Since it is a matte screen, viewing angles were not great, especially horizontally, but as long as you remained relatively on center the screen looked good. For comparative purposes, here is the dv5000z placed next to my ThinkPad with FlexView screen each showing one of my favorite movies:

ThinkPad T42 on the left, dv5000z on the right (view larger image)

It is clear to me who wins, but I will let you decide for yourself. A higher resolution screen would have been a nice option. I missed mine, primarily when viewing web pages.

Drives & Storage

The dv5000z came with a Toshiba 80GB 4200RPM hard drive. It booted surprisingly quickly. For the most part it was quiet, but on occasion when writing something to the drive it made itself known. At times it lagged a bit when opening applications or installing software. I did convert some music to digital format which was a little slow, but worked. For general use like internet or office it is certainly sufficient. The 512MB PC3200 memory came in one DIMM located beneath the keyboard. There is an additional memory slot located on the underside of the notebook.

Underside of dv5000z with memory slot panel and hard drive panel open (view larger image)

The memory slot is easily accessed by removing three screws and popping off the panel. 128MB of the system memory was allocated for video memory. The only issue I had with the memory is when I installed Half-Life 2. The 384MB left over was not enough for it to run smoothly, but that is easily remedied.

Device manager screen shot (view larger image)

The optical drive is the Toshiba-Samsung TS-L532R 8x DVD-/+RW. It burns DVDs at 8x, re-writeable DVDs at 4x, and DL discs at 2.4x. It burns CDs at 24x and re-writeable CDs at 24x. I burned both CDs and DVDs using Nero 6.6. The Audio CDs I burned at 24x for use in my car had skipping issues, but car stereos are notorious for not liking burned CDs. I also sometimes have this issue with the NEC burner on my ThinkPad. I burned another copy of the disc at 16x speed, when doing that I had no skipping issues. I also backed up a DVD I own using DVD Shrink. I burned it using a Taiyo Yuden disc, widely considered to be the best blank discs, both CDs and DVDs. I threw it into my Xbox 360. About a third of the way through the movie it started having freezing problems. The disc had no obvious defects so I burned another disc at 4x which worked without incidents. I had no trouble reading any discs. It was slow installing HL2, but that could be the hard drive as well.

CPU & Performance

CPU-Z screen shot (view larger image)

The dv5000z offers good performance. This model has the Mobile Sempron 3300+ CPU. For the typical user, doing email and office, it offers more than enough oomph. I was surprised how quickly it booted considering the slow hard drive. It took about 35 seconds from pushing the power button to the logon screen. My ThinkPad, with the 7200RPM drive, takes about 20 seconds. The only times where times where it bogged down was when I had a lot of windows open at once or when gaming which seems to be more of a memory function. I was able to put in the 1GB stick of memory from my ThinkPad into the dv5000z. It noticeably increased performance. After increasing the memory, Half-Life ran much more smoothly, albeit at lower settings.

Half Life 2 runs on the dv5000z at lower settings (view larger image)

BenchMarks

Super Pi Test

Super Pi calculates Pi to 2 million digits. Since it is all about the CPU, it is useful tool to gauge a CPUs performance relative to other CPUs. As you can seen the Mobile Sempron is not the fastest, but still relatively close to the Dothan Pentium M.

Notebook

Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits

HP dv5000z (2.0 Sempron 3300+)

2m 2s

ThinkPad T42(1.8 Pentium M Dothan)

1m 58s

Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 Pentium M)

1m 48s

HP DV4170us (Pentium M 1.73 GHz)

1m 53s

Gateway 7426GX (AMD Athlon 64-bit 3700+)

1m 39s

Toshiba Satellite M45 (1.73GHz Pentium M)

1m 49s

Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)

1m 52s

Acer Aspire 3003LCi (1.8 Sempron 3000+)

2m 7s

Asus Z71v(1.86 Pentium M)

1m 38s

PCMark04

After running PCMark04 on the dv5000z, I ran it on my T42 to see how she held up.

Futuremark PCMark04 Scores

 

HP dv5099(2.0Ghz Sempron, ATI 200m GPU)

ThinkPad T42(1.8Ghz Pentium M, ATI 9600 GPU)

 Multithreaded Test 1 / File Compression

2.56 MB/s

3.23 MB/s

 Multithreaded Test 1 / File Encryption

29.57 MB/s

25.31 MB/s

 Multithreaded Test 2 / File Decompression

23.83 MB/s

22.05 MB/s

 Multithreaded Test 2 / Image Processing

11.96 MPixels/s

10.11 MPixels/s

 Multithreaded Test 3 / Virus Scanning

1512.95 MB/s

1526.23 MB/s

 Multithreaded Test 3 / Grammar Check

2.79 KB/s

2.59 KB/s

 File Decryption

60.52 MB/s

51.03 MB/s

 Audio Conversion

2471.46 KB/s

2369.85 KB/s

 Web Page Rendering

4.22 Pages/s

4.94 Pages/s

 DivX Video Compression

44.02 FPS

41.47 FPS

 Physics Calculation and 3D

63.12 FPS

116.81 FPS

 Graphics Memory – 64 Lines

481.96 FPS

102.83 FPS

It looks like a pretty close race.

HD Tune

Below is a screen capture of HD Tune. It seems in line with other 4200RPM notebook hard drives.

(view larger image)

I thought about running some graphics card benchmarks here, but honestly if you are a heavy gamer you should be considering other notebooks like the Compaq v4000t with the x700 which is a much better GPU.

Sound

The dv5000z has a pair of Altec Lansing speakers which are located on the front of it.

dv5000z front side with speakers (view larger image)

They produce very good sound. They did not get particularly loud, but sound was clear with even a little bass. Considering their small size and no woofer they are very good, at least as good as a modest boombox. Since they are located on the front of the notebook, sometimes while typing on it, my arms covered the speakers which degraded the sound a bit. It was still better than most laptop speakers.

Wireless

The dv5000z I received had only an Ethernet port and no wireless card. The Ethernet card worked fine hooked up to my NetGear router, but it sort of limited the range. I can’t imagine one of these is going to be sold without a wireless card. Luckily for you and me, I happened to have a Linksys wireless USB adapter lying around which greatly increased my mobility. Surfing internet and download worked well after I got the card installed. There are three wireless cards offered on HP’s site, two a/b/g cards one with Bluetooth and one without, and a b/g card with SpeedBooster.

Heat & Noise

This is area where the dv5000z excelled. There are two vents. One located on the back, and the other on the underside.

Back side view with heat vent (view larger image)

If you placed your hand by it, you could feel hot air coming from it. The bottom of the notebook only got warm even after several hours of use. No chance of burning yourself here though you might want consider pants. The touchpad which is located directly over the hard drive did not go much above room temperature. Using a warmer hard drive like the Hitachi 7k100 may produce some heat on the touchpad. As a result of the cool performance of the machine, the fan rarely came on while I used it. Every now and again it would turn on so you could hear for 5-15 seconds, but then it when back to low speed or off. The only time it came on regularly is when I was playing Half-Life 2. It was on fairly often when gaming.

Battery & AC

Battery and AC adapter + power cords (view larger image)

The dv5000z has two battery options, a six or a 12 cell battery. This particular model came with the six cell battery which is flush with the back. Using medium settings while surfing the internet and listening to music, I was able to get about 2:35 minutes of battery life until in went into standby. If you dimmed the screen and downclocked the CPU more you could get closer to HP’s stated battery life of 2:55. Figuring with the 12 cell battery you’ll get double the life, a bit over 5:00 with the 12 cell seems reasonable. The 12 cell battery sticks out from the bottom a bit and does add about .5lbs. of weight to the system. The AC adapter that came with the notebook was quite small. The only knock against is that it came with a three pronged plug which may limit your options when searching for an outlet.

Ports & Connectors

The dv5000z came with a minimalist set of ports. There are two USB on the left side of the notebook. This made it difficult to use my Microsoft Notebook Mouse since they cord barely made it around the back of the laptop. Wireless or Bluetooth would fix this problem. In addition to the USB ports there is an Ethernet, VGA, S-Video, Port Connector and Security Lock on the left side.

Left side view (view larger image)

The right side of the notebook contained the power connector, modem, Expresscard slot and headphone and microphone jacks beneath the Expresscard slot.

Right side view (view larger image)

Getting a machine with the upgraded 128MB 200m graphics card adds a 6-in-1 card reader, 4 pin Firewire port, PC card slot, and an extra USB port. I am guessing the card reader would be placed on the left side by the USB ports as it is the only place that could accommodate it. A standard card reader and FireWire would have been nice, but I guess for the $25 upgrade it costs on HP.com, one can’t grouse too much.

Software

The dv5000z came with Windows XP Home. It can also be had with XP Pro or Media Center Edition. When I first received the laptop I tried to throw Unbuntu Linux on there to see if it would work. Alas, it did not. After the initial screen it failed to boot and I did not have time to figure out how to get it working as I had a review to write amongst other things. I think HP is one of the few major companies still sending a Windows CD with their notebooks.

Software CDs included (view larger image)

It had one along with a Drivers/Apps CD, some HP image software which I did not bother with, MS Money 2005, Acrobat 6 and MS Works(Garbage, the Works did not even come with Word.).

Screen shot of Start menu with some of the programs included (view larger image)

Most of the other software on there are trial versions. Norton, Sonic, WinDVD, Office, etc. were all trial versions with not so subtle plugs to upgrade. Luckily only Norton started with Windows. Plus there was the usual AOL, Blockbuster, etc. desktop icons. This didn’t really bother me as I wipe all new notebooks and use mostly free software for the things I do. While the dv5000z at $900 is a budget notebook; you should get software that allows you use the notebook without having to go out and spend extra cash buying software. There are free alternatives for the above software, but someone getting their first notebook may not know this.

Conclusion

Overall, the dv5000z is a good middleweight budget notebook with lots to offer. For every day tasks like surfing or burning discs it has more than enough juice. At 6.6 lbs. it is probably not made for a road warrior, but around the house and the intermittent trip out and about doesn’t look out of the question. While it is not the best built notebook out there, I can’t think of another that is doing it better for the same price. When fully configured I think it loses some of its appeal as it is closer in price to the Asus, Fujitsus and ThinkPads of the world which offer better build quality at the same price. It is a good option for someone looking for decent performance and style without a ton of cash to spend. I look forward to the day when a major manufacturer offers customizable AMD notebook with a good screen, dedicated graphics card and premium build quality for those of us who would consider it. It would be nice to have a higher end option AMD option to compare to Intel based systems like the Asus Z70va or Fujitsu n3520. Nothing like that exists at the moment.

Pros

  • Good Keyboard
  • Handsome Look
  • Peppy Performance
  • Pleasing Sound
  • Decent Looking Screen
  • Cool and Quiet Operation

Cons

  • Easily Scratched Plastic Lid Cover
  • Poor Software Bundle (at least Windows CD is included though)
  • Slightly Loose Screen Hinges
  • Loud and Clicky Touchpad Buttons

Pricing and Availability:  Customize the dv5000z at HPShopping.com


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