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HP Pavilion dv5-1011ea 15.4in Blu-ray Notebook review

Andy Vandervell

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Summary

Our Score:

8

With most people's wallets feeling the pinch of late, spending money on expensive gadgets is something of a luxury. So, if you are going spend some money, it's all the more important to spend it wisely. Of course, people's perceptions of value always depend on their needs - many, for instance, would probably see spending more than £500 on a laptop somewhat frivolous. Yet, looking at the HP Pavilion dv5-1011ea, its features and its sumptuous design, the £730 asking price still looks like excellent value provided you want and need what it offers.

A multimedia all-rounder, the dv5 marks our first look at HP's new notebook design and we're already impressed. Some classically HP-esque elements are still present, like the subtly curved glossy black lid and the silver imprint design, though here it's a rather more straightforward criss-cross pattern as opposed to the elaborate swirls of previous models, like the dv6750ea and dv2699 Special Edition. This is joined by a delightfully backlit HP logo nestled in the corner, an effect that manages to be eye-catching but not too garish or flashy.

It is inside, however, where the most marked changes have taken place. Everything is just lighter and more airy, with a metallic silver keyboard and silver come chrome coloured surround replacing the black and metallic grey of previous machines. Above the keyboard sit the usual set of touch sensitive controls, this time set behind a frosted glass-like effect that looks very nice indeed.

Then there's the screen. Here HP has chosen to stretch a sheet of protective glass over the bezel and screen right to the edges, effectively creating a seamlessly flat display area with the integrated webcam set behind it. It's an incredibly effective visual device that neatly relegates the typically ugly bezel to the periphery and it's something we can easily see other companies using.

Below the keyboard is a nicely proportioned touchpad that's sunk slightly into the chassis. It's finished in chrome coloured smooth plastic and if it doesn't quite provide the same tactile contrast as a textured surface might, it works well nonetheless. Indeed, everything about the dv5's design simply "works well". There's a cohesion and simplicity evident that's always the hallmark of good design. Pleasing lines frame the connections and optical drive on each side and no element seems without purpose, either visually or practically.

Build quality is pretty solid, too. There was no evidence of creaking panels or unwanted flex and though glossy finishes predictably pick up fingerprints fairly easily, a cleaning cloth is provided and only real carelessness should result in any lasting damage.

ilovethemonkeyhead

September 11, 2008, 2:31 pm

i would be interested to know how this laptop (and graphics card) will perform against devil may cry 4 - my new favourite game :D





i've used this before, and i thought the keyboard was horribly slippery and the touch pad offered a lot of resistance, making it a little tough to use. however the price is very tempting, when compared to the acer equivalent

TheMonkeyHead

September 11, 2008, 2:42 pm

I love you too x

gdawg304

September 11, 2008, 4:51 pm

I've checked out their website for the dv5-1000 line....all 1280x800





Are HP allergic to the idea of offering things like WXGA+ or higher resolutions with WLED backlit screens? I know it's just a personal thing but 1280 x 800 is just a lil bit too chunky on a 15.4" screen....

Andy Vandervell

September 11, 2008, 5:29 pm

I know what you mean, though unfortunately the mainstream argument against can easily surmised by anyone who has complained they can't read the text.





Mainly, though, it's a cost issue and if you're like HP and sell off-the-shelf then opting for something that adds a significant cost is tricky thing to do, especially if it prices them out of the market.





Moreover, I'd argue that though such things are undoubtedly desirable, they're not necessarily demanded for in large enough quantities to make it viable.





FYI, mind, we've got the Dell Studio 15 in at the moment and of course it does offer such options. It's on the continuing advantages it has.

Fraxos

September 11, 2008, 6:13 pm

The really frustrating bit is that unlike the US, we, in the UK, have no option to customise HP laptops. In the US you can customise the dv5t with WSXGA+.

gdawg304

September 12, 2008, 4:40 am

@Andy - re the Studio 15 - this has an option for a 1440 x 900 WLED screen, but the 'premium' XPS M1530 doesn't have this option - though it does in the US and has for some months. This has been on Dell's Ideastorm for some time, Dell won't comment on if/when it'll be an option - so it's bizarre that they're offering the option on the cheaper range laptop! The M1530 was looking like my number 1 choice till I found out the UK isn't being offered the better LED screen - call me picky, but if I got one, I'd always be looking at it and feeling short-changed!





You're right though - for "Joe Average" these sorts of things don't matter. But for tech-snobs and geeks - it's a big issue!

Glenn 1

October 5, 2008, 4:52 am

Andy, the official HP site says that the weight of the dv5-1011ea is 2.65kgs. Is that correct (as you mention that it is 2.95kgs)? The other thing is have HP discontinued this notebook already not even two months after its launch (Amazon, Play.com and dabs say that this is the case). That would be sad as it looks a great laptop...

Andy Vandervell

October 5, 2008, 2:29 pm

Are you sure? It's still on HP's website....http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/uk/en/...





As for the weigh, HP only quotes a "starting weight" that's without certain components. It is 2.95, I weighed it. :)

ilovethemonkeyhead

October 10, 2008, 2:50 am

just a point, do the laptop graphics use gddr2 or the faster gddr3 memory?

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