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HP Pavilion dv2560ea - HP Pavilion dv2560ea
In performance terms we were pretty happy with the Pavilion, though the overall score in PC Mark was lower than both the Samsung Q70 and the Dell Latitude D630. This is primarily down to the relatively low horsepower of the integrated Intel graphics chip. That said, the new Santa Rosa improved X3100 graphics of the 965 chipset is going to be absolutely fine for most things, especially as Intel has improved its video performance, but you are still going to get more grunt from the nVidia 8600 chip in the Samsung Q70. Therefore if graphics work, or the occasional game is a priority that will be the better option. In the areas other than graphics though it keeps up.
While the connectivity is good and the styling pleasing to the eye, what I like most about the HP was the keyboard. The frame has just the right level of firmness and the keys have a pleasing amount of travel. the Ctrl button is at the far left, not the Fn key, which means you can hit it accurately without looking down. The Backspace and Enter keys are the correct size and the arrow keys and Page Up/Down are well placed too. The trackpad has a scroll area on the right which is fine but I found the mouse buttons to be a bit on the spongy side.
What's unusual for a consumer notebook though is that there's a thumbpad reader on the right hand side. The technology was first introduced on business notebooks but it seems it has now trickled down to regular folk. It's not just a gimmick, it's useful too. Once you're enrolled two fingers, (one for spare, in case you lose one) you can use it to log onto Windows without having to type your password and in fact onto any web site that needs a username and password. The first time you do so, VeriSoft software pops up and asks you to put in your username and password for that site, and once done, you just need to swipe to login. It's quite neat and saves you having to remember multiple passwords, enabling you to make them more complicated and therefore more secure.
Internally, the Pavilion dv2560ea is powered by a Santa Rosa style, Core 2 Duo T7300, running at 2.0GHz, with 4MB of Level 2 cache and running on a 800MHz front-side bus. There's 2GBs of RAM to go along with this, which is what Vista is happy with, though there isn't room to add more. The 5,4000 rpm spindle speed of the hard disk is par for the course, but the 160GB capacity is quite generous.