The notebook world is pretty much dominated by Intel Pentium M and Centrino branding at the moment, but that’s not to say that there isn’t an alternative. Just like in the desktop world, you can go with AMD rather than Intel inside your notebook, but you will be slightly more limited in your choice. Whereas the Pentium M is a chip that can turn its hand to performance applications, it’s also very battery friendly, while running cool enough to be slipped into the slimmest of chassis. The mobile Athlon 64 tends to find itself in desktop replacement machines, rather than ultra-portables; and although the recently announced AMD Turion could give the Pentium M a run for its money, it remains to be seen how well received it will be.
So, hp’s decision to equip its Pavilion zv5464EA with an Athlon 64 chip makes sense, since this is a machine designed to be an affordable, mobile entertainment centre rather than a weapon for the road warrior.
The chip of choice is an Athlon 64 3400+ which will be more than powerful enough to make short work of anything you’re likely to throw at it. The CPU is backed up by 512MB of PC2700 RAM and a 60GB hard disk. The nVidia GeForce 4 440 Go graphics chipset is probably the weakest link in the hardware chain, so although this is a machine aimed at entertainment, the latest 3D games won’t be part of that brief. But this isn’t a machine that’s going to be bought on the strength of its core components – no, the Pavilion zv5464EA is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
With dimensions of 362 x 284 x 45.6mm (WxDxH) and a weight of 3.65kg, this isn’t the type of notebook you’d want to carry around with you all day. That said, despite its size and weight, the zv5464EA is still a pretty good looking machine. Finished in silver and black with a rounded, almost organic look to it, this is an original and stylish looking notebook. The silver lid has a centrally mounted hp logo, which for a reason that I can’t put my finger on, looks really good.
Opening up the lid reveals a 15.4in widescreen display. The screen is finished with hp’s BrightView coating, which is similar to Sony’s X-Black or Rock’s X-Glass coating. The result is a screen with increased contrast and brightness, along with vivid and vibrant colours – this is ideal for watching video content. Of course the down side of this screen coating is an increase in reflectivity and whether you think that the brighter, more vivid picture out weighs this will be a personal thing. The screen runs a 1,280 x 800 resolution, which isn’t particularly high for a 15.4in panel, but should be fine for the target market. It’s also worth remembering that hp has tried to hit a pretty low price point with this machine, so the screen resolution really isn’t too much of a disappointment.
Below the screen you’ll find the power button and three shortcut buttons – one for your web browser, one for the DVD player, while the final button opens up you’re My Pictures folder. Nestling just above the main keyboard is a button for toggling the WiFi antenna on and off.