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HP Pavilion dv3-2050ea - 13.3in Laptop - HP Pavilion dv3-2050ea
Now we've dealt with the exterior fripperies it's time to delve a little deeper and while the differences between this and the dv3-2055ea are subtle, they do exist. First among these is the processor, which is a dual-core Intel Pentium T4200. Despite it not having the Core 2 Duo moniker it's a very similar CPU to the T6400 that powers the dv3-2055ea, the only difference being it has 1MB L2 Cache instead of 2MB. This means it shares the same 2.0GHz clock speed and 800MHz front-side bus.
Pleasingly, though, you still get 4GB of RAM and while the 32-bit install of Windows Vista can only address 3GB of this, future upgrades could remedy that. Unsurprisingly the hard drive is smaller, but 320GB is still more than enough for most needs, matching the Samsung Q320, which is now nearly £90 cheaper.
This model also retains Bluetooth connectivity, but one vital change is the lack of Draft-N Wi-Fi, replaced with an 802.11b/g module from Broadcom. This might not affect regular consumers, but anyone who has a Draft-N Wi-Fi router will have cause for pause given the Samsung offers it for less outlay.
In every other respect, however, the dv3-2050ea is the exact same machine. This means you also benefit from an nVidia G105M graphics card with 512MB dedicated memory. Again this is the same card as found in the Samsung Q320, but it only has 256MB of memory, so the HP does gain a little performance.
This isn't enough to make it a real gaming machine, but does mean a playable 41.7fps in Trackmania Nations using the medium detail setting at 1,366 x 768. Even with four samples of anti-aliasing a decent 31.6fps was achieved. You shouldn't expect this kind of performance in the latest titles, not without significant compromise, but the likes of World of Warcraft, Spore and The Sims should chug along quite happily.
HP isn't as prolific as some where pre-installed software is concerned, which is no bad thing. Most notable is HP's MediaSmart suite, a multimedia package dealing with DVD, music, photos and video. This is a slightly tweaked version of the same package found in the company's TouchSmart PCs, the IQ500 and IQ810. It's nice, but for a notebook is largely superfluous. Likewise, HP's Total Care Advisor, while useful for a novice, only replicates native Windows functions, so could be uninstalled without any harm.
Other notable inclusions include a full version of Microsoft Works 9, a trial version of Microsoft Office 2007 Home & Student Edition and a trial version of Norton Internet Security.