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When it comes to well designed notebooks it's usually Apple that gets all of the attention. However, manufacturers of Windows based machines have been making great strides in recent years and when I see machines such as HP's Pavilion dv2560ea I can't help think that it's a little unfair that Apple gets all the glory. The comparisons will be made however, as the Pavilion dv2560ea is in the same size, weight and price bracket as Apple's Macbook, and Samsung's Q70.
The dv2560ea is the top-of-range model from HP's consumer range and as such is billed as an entertainment notebook, rather than a business notebook. This accounts for the glossy finish on the lid, the screen and throughout. It's also why you get a subtle pattern effect on the lid, on the inside and even on the default desktop wallpaper. You also get blue backlit shortcut buttons above the keyboard that take you straight into HP's QuickPlay application. Finally, in case you were in any doubt, the words 'HP Pavilion Entertainment PC' are written on the palm rest of the notebook.
As I started to use the dv2560ea I found myself immediately comfortable with it. It's a compact notebook with dimensions that are just right. Some desktop replacements are so large they can be more intimidating than a regular desktop, while some notebooks are just too small to be used comfortably. The HP is just about perfectly sized, though the 2.43Kg weight makes it slightly heavier than Apple's Macbook and Samsung's Q70. However, it more than makes up for that extra weight with its features. The HP is based on the new Intel Santa Rosa platform, which potentially offers an array of benefits. In reality though, most notebooks don't have most of these, and in practice, it means a new CPU with the latest power saving features, and a new chipset to put it in. There's no Turbo Memory, no Pre-N Wi-Fi (just regular A/B/G) and no Gigabit Ethernet, the latter of which is offered by the MacBook. Ho hum.
At least the display is rather nice. It's The resolution is a standard 1,280 x 800, but the screen is 14in, larger than average. It has a subtle but effective glossy coating that does a great job at boosting the impact of colours and contrast. It's inevitably suffers from high reflectivity, so much so that I wondered what the strange pattern I could see on the screen was before I realised it was actually my T-Shirt. However, this was in the brightly lit office environment, so would fare better in a home.