HP Pavilion dv2500t Review

by Reads (58,912)

by Jerry Jackson

The HP Pavilion dv2500t replaces the dv2000t as HP’s newest 14.1" consumer notebook offering cutting edge design and performance in a mobile package. With Intel Core 2 Duo (Santa Rosa) processors, available LightScribe optical drive, available nVidia dedicated graphics, and a stylish yet tough design, the dv2500t might just help HP keep its place as one of the leading notebook manufacturers. Let’s take a closer look.

The HP Pavilion dv2500t (starting at $949.99 after $100 instant savings) is available with a range of Core 2 Duo processors (from the Intel T5450 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo up to the T7300 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo). There is only one 14.1" screen offering, a 1280×800 WXGA glossy display. HP officially states that this notebook can take up to 2GB of RAM but multiple dv2500t owners in our discussion forums have upgraded their notebooks to 4GB. HP is unique among affordable notebook manufacturers in that they currently offer both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. If you want to be able to use a full 4GB of system RAM you need 64-bit Vista … 32-bit does not support a full 4GB of system memory. We are glad to see HP giving customers the option of 64-bit Vista, and we hope other manufacturers will start doing the same thing.

Our review unit of the dv2500t has the following specifications:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7300 (2.00GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
  • 14.1" WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
  • 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS (128MB dedicated memory plus 191MB shared, 319MB total)
  • HP Imprint (Radiance) Finish + Fingerprint Reader + Webcam + Microphone
  • Integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection and Bluetooth
  • 160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
  • 6-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • 12-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Dimensions (with 6-cell battery): 13.15" (L) x 9.33" (W) x 1.02" (min H)/1.54" (max H)
  • Weight: 5.29 lb
  • 65W AC adapter


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Build and Design

The dv2500t is visually identical to its predecessor the dv2000t, and with good reason. The design of the dv2000t has been very successful for HP and it is still arguably one of the best designs on the market. By using the same external casing customers get an attractive notebook and HP saves on production costs. As the old saying goes, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

HP’s glossy "Imprint Finish" on the lid and palm rests remains one of the key design features of the dv2500t. HP’s "Imprint Finish" isn’t just paint, it’s actually a complex process that starts with the molding of the plastics. The swirling design and glossy coat on the HP Imprint Finish is actually "inside" the plastic … it isn’t just a top layer that scratches off. Our particular review unit has been handled by multiple news organizations before it made its way to us and was covered in fingerprints and a few unidentified smudges. As proof of the durability of the finish all we needed was the included cleaning cloth to wipe the notebook clean. In a matter of seconds the dv2500t looked as good as new. Few stylish notebooks have glossy finishes that are as durable as this.

The dv2500t lid does not have a latch to hold it closed, but the hinge mechanism works well and firmly holds the lid in place. There is almost no flex to the screen.


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We managed to take a few comparison photos of the dv2500t and another competing 14.1" notebook, the Dell Inspiron 1420. Both notebooks are nearly identical in size, although the dv2500t is slightly thinner toward the front of the notebook and the rounded edges make the HP feel much more compact than the boxy Dell.


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Performance and Benchmarks

The dv2500t has more than enough performance for a full range of multimedia entertainment needs thanks to the range of Core 2 Duo processors that are available. Even the entry-level 1.66GHz T5450 packs a powerful punch. The 2.0GHz T7300 processor and nVidia 8400M GS dedicated graphics card in our review unit provides plenty of power for games and streaming media over the web. While the 3DMark05 and 3DMark06 benchmarks are a little below what we saw in a similarly equipped Dell XPS M1330, we believe this has to do with the significant amount of bloatware that came pre-installed on the dv2500t. In any case, the scores are still quite good.

Super Pi comparison results:

Notebook Time
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 0m 58s
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500) 0m 54s
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 0m 59s
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 0m 58s
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 1m 01s
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300) 0m 59s
HP dv2500t (1.80GHz Intel 7100) 1m 09s
Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo Intel T7300) 0m 59s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo T7200) 1m 03s
Toshiba Satellite P205-S6287 (1.73 GHz Core 2 Duo Intel T5300) 1m 24s
Toshiba Satellite A205 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 34s
HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52) 2m 05s
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T2400) 0m 59s
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 02s

PCMark05 comparison results:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 4,522 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,925 PCMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,377 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks

3DMark05 comparison results:

Notebook 3D Mark 05 Results
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 2,157 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 2,840 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 910 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 3,116 3DMarks
HP Compaq 6510b (2.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, Intel X3100) 916 3DMarks
HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1270) 871 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 2,013 3D Marks
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 1,791 3D Marks
Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB) 4,236 3DMarks
Alienware Aurora M-7700(AMD Dual Core FX-60, ATI X1600 256MB) 7,078 3D Marks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3D Marks
Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB) 2,090 3D Marks

3DMark06 comparison results:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
HP dv2500t (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,055 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1420 (2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,329 3DMarks
Sony VAIO FZ (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 532 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66 Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

Screen

The 14.1" WXGA glossy screen on the dv2500t isn’t ideal for HD video, but it does offer sharp contrast, excellent color, and reasonably even backlighting. Unlike many other 14.1" 1280×800 pixel displays the screen on the dv2500t doesn’t suffer from "graininess." Horizontal viewing angles were excellent although vertical viewing angles were only average. The screen itself didn’t suffer from ripples, stuck pixels, or any other problems.


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Keyboard, Touchpad and Other Input Buttons

The full-sized keyboard on the dv2500t has almost no flex. The keys have excellent cushion and response and were quiet during use. There are dedicated keys for home, end, page up, and page down. The f-keys also control a range of features (such as raising or lowering screen brightness) when they are pressed in combination with the function key.


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The touchpad is nice and large and features a durable and responsive surface that is also covered in the HP Imprint Finish. The marked vertical scroll section is likewise accurate and responsive. The touchpad buttons have deep feedback and produce quiet, cushioned clicks. One of the nice features found on HP touchpads is the touchpad on/off button. If you press the small button above the touchpad you can disable it … perfect for people using an external mouse. Although the touchpad is quite nice I would have liked to see the same style of touchpad that HP started using on the tx1000z and HDX notebooks … perhaps on next year’s notebooks?

HP also includes a Media Center remote that fits inside the notebook’s ExpressCard slot. The remote is perfect for controlling movies, music, photo slide shows, and presentations.


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The dv2500t also features dedicated touch-sensitive media buttons above the keyboard and beneath the speakers. The media buttons make watching DVDs or listening to music files as easy as using a DVD or CD player. These media buttons have blue LED backlights that are always on.


The touch-sensitive media buttons with blue LED backlights. (view large image)

Input and Output Ports

There is a reasonable selection of ports on the dv2500t including an HDMI out port for connecting the notebook to your HDTV and an expansion port for connection to HP’s xb3000 expansion base/docking station. The complete list of ports includes:

  • ExpressCard/54 slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
  • two USB 2.0
  • HDMI out
  • IEEE 1394 Firewire
  • expansion port 3
  • TV out (S-video)
  • Integrated Consumer IR (remote control receiver)
  • 5-in-1 digital media card reader
  • microphone in
  • RJ-11 (modem)
  • RJ-45 (LAN/Ethernet)
  • VGA out

Let’s take a quick tour around the port offerings of the dv2500t:


Front side: LED status lights, wireless on/off switch, IR receiver, microphone port and dual headphone ports. (view large image)


Back side: Nothing here but hinges and a heat vent. (view large image)


Bottom view: Here you can see access to memory slots, several heat vents, and the battery. (view large image)


Left side: Lock slot, S-video out, VGA out, expansion port 3, Ethernet, HDMI, Firewire, ExpressCard slot and 5-in-1 card reader. (view large image)


Right side: Optical drive, two USB ports, modem and DC power jack. (view large image)

Although it’s somewhat sad to see there are only two USB ports on the dv2500t you do get an HDMI port and docking station expansion port which are two ports you don’t often find on 14.1" notebooks. If you configure the dv2500t with integrated Intel graphics you will get a third USB port instead of the HDMI port.

Audio

The Altec Lansing stereo speakers located above the keyboard are quite impressive. While the built-in speakers didn’t produce as much range as notebooks that are also equipped with a subwoofer, the speakers did have impressive clarity and loudness with excellent highs and midtones. The dv2500t also features dual headphone jacks located on the front side so that you and a partner can listen to movies or music on a plane. Although it’s nice to have the headphone jacks located at the front it is a less than ideal location for people who like to plug in external speakers.

Heat and Noise

The dv2500t runs extremely quiet but not particularly cool. The fan remained on most of the time when the notebook was plugged in and turned on frequently while the notebook was on battery power. Although there was some minimal warmth coming from the hard drive (left palm rest) the most significant heat came from the memory slots in the middle on the notebook on the underside of the dv2500t. The heat coming from the RAM was enough to make the notebook uncomfortable on the lap after about two hours. If heat is an issue that concerns you then I would recommend using an external notebook cooler/fan with this notebook.

Battery

The dv2500t with the standard 6-cell battery performed reasonably well in terms of battery life. With the screen brightness set to about half, wireless on, and Vista power settings set to maximize battery life, the dv2500t powered down in just above 3 hours (3 hours and 2 minutes). Using the same settings the 12-cell battery provided 5 hours and 41 minutes of battery life. Clearly the standard battery will provide enough power for casual use and the 12-cell is a must-have for extended travel.

One other item of note regarding the battery is that both the 6-cell and 12-cell batteries fit snug inside the notebook and firmly lock into place. In recent months we’ve seen dozens of notebooks with loose batteries from other companies. We’re glad to see that HP still cares about the "fit and finish" on their notebooks.

 

Conclusion

The HP Pavilion dv2500t is an impressive notebook for 2007, despite the fact that the exterior hasn’t changed at all since the dv2000t. The combination of performance, stylish design, extremely durable construction/finish, and a wide array of media controls makes the dv2500t "the notebook to beat" among 14.1" systems. After close comparison to Dell’s new Inspiron 1420 the only thing Dell really offers over this HP notebook is two extra USB ports. As previously mentioned, given how much system memory Windows Vista hijacks it’s nice to know that HP offers 64-bit Vista to allow you to use as much RAM as possible.

Bottom line, although the design hasn’t changed in the last year the the HP dv2500t delivers modern day performance and plenty of multimedia extras with style and an affordable price tag. Overall the dv2500t is one of the best notebooks available for everyday consumers.

Pros

  • Fast Core 2 Duo processors
  • Solid dedicated graphics option
  • Still one of the best designs on the market
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Great screen
  • Responsive media buttons and nice remote

Cons

  • Glossy Imprint finish is a magnet for fingerprints
  • Only 2 USB ports with dedicated graphics option
  • Bottom of notebook near the memory slots gets a little too warm


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