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HP Pavilion dv7-1000ea 17in Entertainment Notebook - HP Pavillion dv7-1000ea
This attractive design is matched by truly excellent build quality. Indeed, it was difficult to find any sign that cost-cutting had been employed anywhere in this machine's construction, which given the far from extortionate price is very encouraging.
Further evidence of this quality can be found in the keyboard. As HP has proved with the 2133 Mini Note, it produces some of the best notebook keyboards and it has done nothing to sully that reputation here. Thanks to their smooth silver finish, keys do feel a little slippery, but they're shaped so well that it's not really an issue. Layout is exemplary, with a very large Enter, right Shift and Backspace keys. And, unlike a few manufacturers, it has found room for a full numeric keypad, something that ought to be a staple of desktop replacements like this.
While the experience of key feedback can be somewhat personal, I found it to be pretty ideal, if somewhat on the light side. Springy response with plenty of travel makes for a pleasant typing experience, and an assured click never leaves you in any doubt if you've hit a key. If one were being particularly picky, it would be good to see HP taking some inspiration from recent Samsung notebooks like the Q310, which offer a secondary Fn key on the right and have brightness and volume controls conveniently located on the cursor keys, but this is a small matter and the dedicated media controls more than make up for this.
Getting onto the touchpad itself, HP is making a clever play for the female market by giving its pad dual functionality as a mirror since it's incredibly reflective. Consequently, not only can you use it to adjust your makeup, but your fingers will glide across it effortlessly provided you don't put too much weight or pressure on it. It's also well proportioned, though it shares the rest of the machine's propensity for fingerprints.
Underneath it the buttons are well built and nicely integrated. Another nice touch is a button above the touchpad that deactivates the touchpad, which is handy if you're using an external mouse and don't want accidentally to hit the touchpad when typing.
Another area where the company has gone to town is when it comes to ports: the Pavilion dv7-1000ea has pretty much every base covered. On the left, you'll find a lock slot, VGA out, an HP docking port, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.2 for connecting larger screens, FireWire and two USB 2.0 ports, one of which doubles as e-SATA for the fastest external hard drive access you can get. Furthermore there's a memory card reader handling the usual formats (SD/SDHC, Memory Stick(Pro), MMC and xD card) residing below the 54mm ExpressCard slot.
The ExpressCard slot also houses the included remote. No longer the rarity they once were, remotes are nevertheless not a given inclusion even on entertainment notebooks and its a useful addition even if it's not the most ergonomic remote control you'll ever use.
On the right are a further two USB ports, modem and power jacks, and a Blu-ray drive. As is typical this only reads Blu-ray media, but can burn any writeable DVD format.