HP Pavilion dv2800t Review (Artist Edition)

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (145,156)

by Kevin O’Brien

The HP Pavilion dv2800t Artist Edition series notebook is a notebook "designed by young people and chosen by young people" for its unique style. This notebook has all the creature comforts as the standard dv2700t, with the only addition being a custom paint job. For notebook enthusiasts who want to stick out from the crowd, this is a sure bet to get noticed at school or your local StarBucks.

Our pre-production review model had the following configuration, which has a different processor than what is available for purchase:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7500 (2.2GHz, 4MB L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB)
  • 14.1" WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
  • 2GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • NVIDIA 128MB 8400M GS Video Card
  • HP Imprint (Artist Edition) Finish + Webcam + Microphone
  • Integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection and Bluetooth
  • 250GB 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: 5lb 7.4oz
  • 65W AC adapter


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Build and Design

The design of the Artist Edition dv2800t is very unique, and unlike anything I have seen before. It starts with custom graphics embedded into the imprint finish, then has matching plastic trim around the notebook that blends in with the design, and even goes as far as a custom painted keyboard and touchpad that also match the design. The paint and colored plastic has the same feel as the durable imprint finish found on other HP notebooks, so you know it will stand up against day to day abuse. All of this gives you a notebook that has the feel of a mass produced notebook with a very custom design that few notebooks could stack up against.


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Build quality is excellent, having a durable feeling chassis that has no creaks or squeaks found in its plastic. Flex is kept at a minimum, with the only noticeable amount found in the palmrest if you press very firmly with your fingertips. The screen cover and hinges feel rugged enough to handle day to day abuse, and with the durable imprint finish the surface barely shows any scratches or scuff marks found on other glossy notebooks.


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Display

The 14.1" WXGA glossy screen isn’t the best screen I have seen, but it does perform well enough for a notebook of this size and price. Colors and brightness were very good for mild gaming or movie watching. Viewing angles were limited, meaning you will probably want to angle the screen in a certain way for best color, or you will be staring at a screen that looks washed out or having inverted color. Horizontal viewing angles were very good for side to side viewing, but vertical viewing angles were average at best, with only a 10-15 degree sweet spot before color degradation.


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Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the dv2800t is very comfortable to type on, with minimal flex and very responsive keys. Key spacing and key size is excellent for a 14" notebook, leaving little to be desired when typing for extended periods of time. Going along with the custom design, the keys on the Artist Edition dv2800t are painted dark brown to match the custom design of the rest of the notebook. This leaves a semi-gloss finish on the keys, which feels somewhat different from the run of the mill plastic keyboard. The best way to describe it would be like typing on a keyboard with a slightly worn surface.


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The touchpad is gold on this custom painted model, having the same imprint finish found on the rest of the notebook. The surface is a very smooth and glossy, letting your finger glide across it with ease. One thing that always amazes me with the glossy HP touchpad surface is my fingers never bind or stick to the surface, almost like it was waxed.


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The touchpad buttons provide good feedback, as well as give you a nice throw that you don’t find in many touchpad buttons. Instead of giving you a shallow "click" they move down 3-4mm with a nice solid "thunk."

The dv2800t also includes the touch-sensitive media buttons common to HP Pavilion notebooks located above the keyboard.


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Gaming and Performance

You probably won’t be playing Crysis on the HP Artist Edition dv2800t, but you could play some less tasking games like Halflife 2 or Portal with tweaked settings. One of the games I try to play on notebooks these days is Portal, since it takes about an hour to beat, heats up a notebook quite well, and has enough fast action that you get to stress the keyboard and mouse trying to keep up with various sequences. This notebook with the NVIDIA 8400M GS handled the game very well set at the screens native WXGA resolution, and most detail settings at low. This gave me acceptable framerates in the 25-35 range, which any way you cut it is better than being stuck with solitaire.

System benchmarks performed quite well.

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.

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
HP Pavilion dv2800t (Core 2 Duo T7500 @2.2GHz) 37.980s
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

 

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
HP Pavilion dv2800t (2.2GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8400M GS) 1,663 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS) 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
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

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HP Pavilion dv2800t (2.2GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8400M GS) 3,916 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS) 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
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks


HDTune results:


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Audio and Speakers

The Altec Lansing speakers found at the top of the dv2800t are above average for notebook speakers, and a perfect match for watching movies or listening to music when on the road. High and midrange audio is very good, but lowend bass is lacking.

Headphone audio quality is great, and to top it off this notebook offers 2 headphone jacks for users who might find themselves in a situation where they might want to share a movie experience with someone next to them without the hassle of a jack splitter.

Heat and Noise

Thermal performance of the dv2800t is very good, but a bit on the warm side. When gaming or doing other stressful activities, I like to see notebooks that keep most of the heat towards the rear and bottom of the notebook. Under heavy activity this notebook gets pretty warm on the left side of the palmrest, above the location of the hard drive. Overall the system managed its heat output very well, with fan noise that was easy on the ears even at high speed. When the notebook was doing less stressful activities, fan noise was barely noticeable as it was either off or working extremely slow.


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Ports and Features

Port selection on the dv2800t, and almost all HP notebooks is excellent. Multimedia users will love the HDMI or VGA port, for easy hookup to your HDTV, and the S-Video port for older TVs. Users with tons of devices at their home or office will enjoy the external docking connector for easy cable management.

Front: IR Remote Receiver, Microphone, and two Headphone jacks.


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Rear: No ports here, just the hinges and heat vent.


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Left: S-Video, VGA, Docking connector, LAN, HDMI, Firewire, 5-in-1 Memory Card Reader, and Expresscard/54.


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Right: Optical Drive, two USB ports, Modem, and AC Power.


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Conclusion

The HP Pavilion dv2800t Artist Edition notebook offers a very unique design paired with excellent system performance. While the design might not be for everyone, you have to admit that the finished product is probably one of the best custom products on the market right now. The fit and finish is identical to the mass produced dv2700t, so you know the paint will not rub off or wear down like other custom products over time. I hope that HP takes this product concept up a notch, offering more designs, or letting users pick their own design for the ultimate personalized notebook.

Pros

  • Great custom artwork that will last forever without wearing off
  • Great build quality
  • Quiet fan, even when gaming

Cons

  • Left side of palmrest gets warm from hard drive below it
  • Painted keyboard has a really slippery texture


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