HP Pavilion dv2700t Review

by Jerry Jackson Reads (108,586)

by Jerry Jackson

The HP Pavilion dv2700t replaces the dv2500t as HP’s newest 14.1" consumer notebook offering cutting edge design and performance in a mobile package. With Intel Core 2 Duo processors, available LightScribe optical drive, available nVidia dedicated graphics, and a stylish yet tough design, can the dv2700t help HP keep its place as one of the leading notebook manufacturers? Let’s take a closer look.

The HP Pavilion dv2700t (starting at $799.99 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 newer T9300 2.50GHz Core 2 Duo Penryn). There is only one 14.1" screen offering, a 1280×800 WXGA glossy display. Observant readers will notice this review seems somewhat similar to my review of the HP Pavilion dv2500t simply because this notebook is a "refresh" of the last year’s dv2500t.

Our review unit of the dv2700t has the following specifications:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5450 (1.66GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB)
  • 14.1" WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
  • 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
  • HP Imprint (Radiance) Finish + Webcam + Microphone
  • Integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection and Bluetooth
  • 120GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
  • 6-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 dv2700t is visually identical to its predecessor the dv2500t … which was almost identical to 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."


Unless you have a keen eye this sticker
is the only indication that the dv2700t
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HP’s glossy "Imprint Finish" on the lid and palm rests remains one of the key design features of the dv2700t. 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 dv2700t looked as good as new. Few stylish notebooks have glossy finishes that are as durable as this.


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The dv2700t 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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Performance and Benchmarks

The dv2700t 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 in our review unit packs a powerful punch. The available 2.50GHz T9300 processor and nVidia 8400M GS dedicated graphics card provide more than enough power for games and streaming media over the web. While the 3DMark06 benchmarks in our review unit are lower than what you’ll get from a notebook with dedicated graphics, performance is perfectly acceptable for consumers who don’t play the latest video games.

With the basics out of the way, let’s jump into the performance benchamrks.

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi. (Lower scores mean better performance.)

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
HP Pavilion dv2700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 49.793s
HP Pavilion dv6700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.480s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
Portable One SXS37 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 41.908s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s
Samsung Q35 (Core 2 Duo T5600 @ 1.83GHz) 46.274s

 

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance:

(Higher scores mean better performance.)

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
HP Pavilion dv2700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Intel X3100) 563 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 1,556 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 545 3DMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 504 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 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 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance:

(Higher scores mean better performance.)

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HP Pavilion dv2700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Intel X3100) 3,562 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 3,386 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 3,283 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


HDTune results:


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Screen

The 14.1" WXGA glossy screen on the dv2700t 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 dv2700t 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 dv2700t 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 generation notebooks?


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HP 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.

The dv2700t 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.

Input and Output Ports

There is a reasonable selection of ports on the dv2700t including 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)
  • Three USB 2.0
  • 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 dv2700t:

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


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Rear view: Nothing here but hinges and a heat vent.


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Left view: Lock slot, S-video out, VGA out, expansion port 3, Ethernet, USB port, Firewire, ExpressCard slot and 5-in-1 card reader.


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Right view: Optical drive, two USB ports, modem and DC power jack.


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Although it’s good to see that our version of the dv2700t includes three USB ports it’s important to know that some versions of this notebook come with only two USB ports. If you purchase a configuration of the dv2700t with dedicated graphics the single USB port on the left side of the notebook is replaced with an HDMI port for connecting your notebook to an HDTV. If you configure the dv2700t 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 dv2700t 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.


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Heat and Noise

The dv2700t 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 dv2700t. 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.

Below are images with the temperatures listed in degrees Fahrenheit:


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Battery

The dv2700t 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 "balanced" battery life, the dv2700t powered down in just above 3 hours (3 hours and 7 minutes). These results are almost identical to the battery life results from the HP dv2500t.

One other item of note regarding the battery is that both the 6-cell and optional 12-cell batteries fit snug inside the notebook and firmly lock into place. In the last year 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 dv2700t is an impressive notebook for 2008, despite the fact that the exterior hasn’t changed at all since the old dv2000t. The combination of performance, stylish design, extremely durable construction/finish, and a wide array of media controls makes the dv2700t one of the best consumer 14.1" systems.

Bottom line, although the design hasn’t changed much in the last few years the the HP dv2700t delivers modern day performance and plenty of multimedia extras with style and an affordable price tag. Overall the dv2700t (like the dv2000t and dv2500t before it) is a great notebook for everyday consumers.

Pros

  • Fast Core 2 Duo processors
  • Available with solid dedicated graphics option
  • Still one of the best designs on the market (see below)
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Responsive media buttons and nice remote

Cons

  • Too much bloatware
  • We’ve seen better LCDs on other notebooks
  • The design looks great but it’s getting old
  • Glossy Imprint finish is a magnet for fingerprints
  • Only two USB ports with dedicated graphics option


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